Media only: Brenda Kean Tabor: 202.633.0523
Barbara Kram: 202.633.0520
Public only: 202.633.1000
Media Preview: Tuesday, September 14 at 9 a.m. R.S.V.P. 202.633.0519

This fall, the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery will open a series of exhibitions showcasing works from outstanding museums of Asian art throughout the United States. The series, entitled “Asia in America,” begins with selections of Chinese art from the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). Founded in 1883, the IMA is among the largest general art museums in the United States and is currently undergoing a $220-million expansion. “We are pleased to provide this important museum in America’s heartland with the opportunity to present their collections and curatorial vision on the National Mall,” says Freer and Sackler Galleries’ director, Julian Raby. The IMA has a long history of collecting Asian art. Among the IMA’s earlier Asian acquisitions were several works given by Charles Lang Freer, founder of the Freer Gallery of Art. Through the years, the IMA and the Freer Gallery have often acquired similar items. The complementary character of these two collections was the basis for many of the exhibition’s selections, which include some of the finest Chinese art ever made. The exhibition is designed to engage both beginning and more experienced viewers. A gift from Charles Lang Freer to the IMA flanks the doorway to the first room, which features related objects from both institutions. These include seven ceramic treasures from the IMA—spanning more than 1,000 years of history—that are juxtaposed with similar items from the Freer and neighboring Sackler Gallery, revealing how different apparently “similar” things can be.

In addition, 40 bronze, ceramic, cloisonné, jade and wood items from the IMA’s rich collection, spanning over 4,000 years from the Neolithic period to the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), allow visitors to appreciate the effects of aesthetic, chronological and geographic variations, as well as the impact of cultural continuity and tradition on design.

Among the outstanding objects on view are:

  • A Qing dynasty purple sandlewood brush pot with inlaid scenes of country pursuits
  • A Qing dynasty vase with a nine peach design created by using overglaze enamels
  • Two Northern Song dynasty (960 – 1127) vases, one each from the IMA and the Freer
  • A Tang dynasty (618 – 907) painted earthenware figure of a noble lady
  • A Six Dynasties period (220 – 589) ewer with twin chicken-head spouts and a dragon handle

“Views of Chinese Art from the Indianapolis Museum of Art” was organized by the IMA. Support for the exhibition is provided by The Blakemore Foundation.

The Freer and Sackler galleries together form the national museum of Asian art. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Christmas Day. Admission is free. This summer from June 24–July 29, the galleries remain open on Thursday evenings until 8 p.m. for “Art Night on the Mall.” The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information, the public may call (202) 633-1000 or TTY (202) 357-1729, or visit the special, exhibition-related section of the galleries’ Web site at