6 Asian Museums in New York City
The United States’ relationship with Asia has been complex, marked by moments of support and enlightenment as well as question and tragedy. The city is home to museums dedicated to fostering a better understanding of this relationship, both past and present. Often focusing on a particular region or country, these institutions highlight what makes an area, its history and people unique. Want to experience Asian culture, but don’t have the time or budget to actually travel to Asia? Visit these six Asian Museums in New York City.
Asia Society & Museum, 725 Park Avenue
In 1956, John D. Rockefeller III founded Asia Society to promote a deeper understanding of Asia and the United States. With global modernization, US relations with the Eastern continent have undergone substantial changes impacting business, economy, politics, religion, and environment. The Museum’s ongoing series of programs and exhibitions delves into many of these issues through a dynamic offering of visual art, film, music, literature, and dance.
Japan Society, 333 E 47th St
Founded in 1907, Japan Society is dedicated to cultivating an understanding between the United States and Japan. In design and layout, the building expresses Japan’s reverence for simplicity and beauty underscored through elements such as the indoor gardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls, and attention to architectural detail. Gallery exhibitions and performances highlight the country’s prolific classical and contemporary contributions to visual art, music, dance, and theatre.
Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17 St
The Himalayas in India is one of the most culturally, historically, and geographically rich regions of the world. Opened in 2004, the Rubin Museum of Art houses over 3,800 cultural artifacts from the Himalayas dating from 1,500 years ago to today. With a focus on Tibetan art, the unprecedented collection includes gilded Buddha statues, intricate tapestries, illuminated manuscripts, and ritual masks and objects. Check out K2 Friday Nights (free admission from 6 to 10 p.m.) when the Rubin turns into party central with guest DJs, cocktails, guided tours, and movies.
China Institute, 100 Washington St
Established in 1926, the China Institute is the longest-running non-profit organization in the United States to focus on the East Asian nation. Programs concentrate on China’s complex history ranging from ancient times to the present. Gallery exhibitions feature cultural traditions of the past while engaging on contemporary themes, exploring topics ranging from Chinese landscape art, ritual burial objects, and Buddhist art. Every last Thursday of the month, the China Institute hosts Qin & Tonic ($10 for non-members) with refreshments, live music, and gallery tours.
The Korea Society, 350 Madison Ave, 24th Floor
The United States relationship with Korea has undergone varying degrees of support over the years. Established as a non-profit in 1957, The Korea Society seeks to promote greater awareness, understanding, and cooperation between the the two countries. Carrying out its mission, The Korea Society hosts engaging lectures, exhibitions, and performances directed toward examining topics ranging from art, literature, music (K-pop!), and cuisine (kimchi, anyone?) to politics and identity.
Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, 338 Lighthouse Ave
Looking for a Zen-packed cultural experience? Head to the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art tucked away on Lighthouse Hill in Staten Island. Inspired by a Tibetan mountain monastery, this peaceful oasis boasts one of the most extensive collections of artifacts from the Himalayan region. Founder Jacques Marchais is esteemed for her significant contribution to the study and understanding of Tibetan art. In addition to art exhibitions, the museum hosts weekly Tai Chi and meditation classes.
Besides Asian museums in New York, there’s also the incredible Asian Art Collection at The Met.