The Gallery has also curated and hosted exhibitions about the Mesopotamian art collection of the Louvre, the paintings of Chang Dai-chien, and photographs of orientalism and colonialism in India. Contemporary artists exhibited have included Hai Bo and Ai Weiwei.
The image is made by the complex technique called repouss, in which a copper sheet is cold-hammered alternately from front and back to achieve the desired form. The image is constructed of more than twenty separately made parts. It was then covered with mercury gilding, and during worship it would have received applications of turmeric and vermilion.
Inside the gallery, with more than a little significance for some, was Reaching for the Moon, a suspended site-specific sculpture by the artist Xu Bing. With forms of interlocking monkeys pulling upward, the work seemed to represent the old notion of “getting a monkey off one’s back”—a 1930s-era phrase for attempting to kick heroin addiction. In the midst of that, protesters threw orange and blue pill bottles, labeled as Vicodin and OxyContin, into the fountain below. While the bottles floated over glistening coins, the group ran a call-and-response session about Sackler family history—chanting “shame on Sackler” and “addiction equals profits.”
The Shahnama was on display in early 2011 in an exhibition curated by Islamic curator Massumeh Farhad, titled "Shahnama: 1000 Years of the Persian Book of Kings." Photography was the focus of a fall 2011 exhibition focusing on a collection of photographs of Empress Dowager Cixi, taken by a diplomat's son, Xunling. The photographs were acquired by the Smithsonian after Xunling's sister died in 1944 and a dealer sold the collection of 36 photographic plates. The Sackler exhibited only six objects in its December, 2011 exhibition "Ancient Iranian Ceramics." The exhibit showcased pieces that are some 3,000 years old.
As the national museums of Asian art, the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery preserve, exhibit, and interpret Asian art in ways that deepen our understanding of Asia, America, and the world.
This head of the Buddha, once framed by a halo and joined to a complete figure, would have been worshipped in a monastic shrine. The facial features and wavy hair show the Greek and Roman influences that arose through trade contacts with ancient Gandhara, an area now divided between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Sackler Gallery opened to the public in 1987, with Dr. Arthur M. Sackler as its primary donor. His immense collection of Asian art included famous Chinese jades and ancient bronzes, necessitating a new Smithsonian museum dedicated to works from Asian nations more than 60 years after the Freer Gallery opened in 1923, whose founder was a railroad-car manufacturer named Charles Lang Freer. The Freer now contains more than 26,000 objects across 6,000 years of history.
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Freer|Sackler: Home. (1970). Retrieved on June 7, 2019, from https://www.freersackler.si.edu/.
Visiting the Smithsonian's Freer & Sackler Galleries in DC. (1970). Retrieved on June 7, 2019, from https://washington.org/dc-guide-to/freer-sackler-galleries.
Ana Finel Honigman. (1970). Nan Goldin's P.A.I.N. Group Stages Pill. Retrieved on June 7, 2019, from http://www.artnews.com/2018/04/26/nan-goldins-p-n-group-stages-pill-purging-protest-sackler-gallery-washington-d-c/.
Smithsonian.com. (1970). Arthur M. Sackler Gallery | Smithsonian.com Museum Tours .... Retrieved on June 7, 2019, from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/tour/museums/arthur-m-sackler-gallery/.
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