Since its opening in 2011, the International Art Museum of America has become a can’t-miss item on any art lover’s itinerary. A relatively new member of San Francisco’s vivacious museum scene, the non-profit facility features a well-rounded array of pieces from around the globe.
Like all of the city’s museums, the IAMA has evolved since its beginning. Initially, the facility was set to feature only the work of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. Viewed by many as the genuine incarnation of Buddha, the Sichuan-born artist has won countless fans in the United States. He has been awarded prizes for peace promotion and leadership, as well as the 2002 U.S. Presidential Gold Award.
The Organization of American States, as well as the Royal Academy of Arts of the United Kingdom, have both recognized his varied works, and this recognition permeates the atmosphere surrounding his output at IAMA. On display are sculptures, paintings, tiles, prints and more. H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III created several different painting styles, a feat rarely matched in the art world. He also pioneered Yun sculptures, whose mysterious beauty can be seen inside IAMA. Anyone interested in the artistic results of a modern-day enlightenment figure will not be disappointed at IAMA.
Those interested in oil paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries will also find much to absorb at the museum. With multiple movements merging in these formative years, the paintings these centuries produced are a convergence of style and substance. In particular, the works of Maurice de Vlaminck, Evariste Carpentier, and Frits Thaulow demonstrate the wide range of both during these times. From the structured images of Neoclassicism to the emotionally vivid products of Romanticism, these paintings complement the less-familiar objects that illuminate IAMA’s galleries.
Also viewable are an equally wide variety of ink paintings by Chinese artists. Among the oldest styles of artistic creation in the world, these collections feature calligraphy, seals, framing, matting and even notes from the artists themselves. While some visitors might be skilled in calligraphy themselves, there’s still much to learn from the collections at IAMA. For instance, calligraphy has graced many different types of “canvases,” from screens and fans to utensils and monuments, all of which – and more – can be viewed at IAMA.
The International Art Museum of America is located at 1025 Market Street in San Francisco. They can be reached at (415) 376-6344, or online at iamasf.org. They are open Tuesdays through Sundays from 11:00 – 5:00.
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