At a news conference today, Asian Art Museum Director Jay Xu presented the results of a two-year effort to introduce “a new vision and new brand promise, reinventing ourselves to engage a broader audience.”
The launch of the new visual image is an announcement to the community of the Asian’s commitment to a broader artistic vision and a celebration of being back on a sound financial footing, following last year’s financial difficulties.
“The Asian Art Museum is a portal to worlds of unbound imagination, creativity and beauty. We explore these themes in a global context and invite all to discover their connections to Asian art and culture,” said Jay Xu
“Our new brand promises to awaken the past and inspire the next. It means we’ll unlock the past for visitors and bring it to life by sparking connections. We’ll also be a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking.”
“The point of emphasizing these connections,” said Xu, “is to deliver stimulating, sometimes unexpected art experiences that entice visitors to discover more, and to view art from different perspectives. making the museum more relevant to contemporary life.”
“More than half of the world lives in Asia,” said Xu. “Here in San Francisco, one-third of the population identify themselves as Asian. Opening our minds and hearts to the arts and cultures of this part of the world is an important step in better understanding the people, politics and influences that drive this vast, dynamic region of diverse cultures.”
The project started in 2007 with a goal to define the museum’s strategic direction. The international brand consultancy Wolff Olins, known for their work on the Olympic logo, worked with the museum communicate the Asian’s bold new vision of Asian art as the cornerstone of global connections.
The graphic, upside down A mark, accompanied by the word “Asian,” is the mathematical symbol of “all,” reflecting the Asian’s desire to open the museum to a wider community and to emphasize the universal nature of Asian cultures. Museum Chief Engagement Officer Dori Sera Bailey, in charge of rebranding, said,
“Our logo says we are approaching the museum from a new perspective, offering fresh viewpoints to a collection spanning 6,000 years. Our identity is bold and tells the world we have something to say. It also says we’re ‘Asian for all’ — an upside-down ‘A’ is the mathematical symbol signifying ‘for all.’”
The rebranding campaign, paid for by donors and not drawn from the museum’s general operating budget, cost approximately $400,000. Efforts began with extensive local, national and international surveys of museum members, visitors, volunteers, museum professionals and arts organizations.
Xiu emphasized that in addition to collecting and displaying the works from the past, the museum intends to have a larger role in supporting Asian contemporary art. The slogan is: “Awaken the past, inspire the next.”
The museum is already putting the new artistic vision into practice with the current exhibit of startlingly modern, 15th century Korean Buncheong ceramics paired with the work of contemporary Korean artists.
Information: (415) 581-3500 or www.asianart.org.