Remember the cameras? Here’s the result!

September 29, 2011

We’re quite excited, so this post is one big group hug. As you may remember, our June Fusion Friday’s unofficial entertainment included a video shoot as part of our participation in the LA County Art Commission’s ENGAGE program. It’s amazing how long it can take to get a 2-minute video just right, but now we’re proud to announce…


This video shows off what makes Pacific Asia Museum awesome– the art, the education, and the events. The ENGAGE program has really helped us keep you all up-to-date on our ever-growing exhibition and program schedule through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Our followers have grown at an astonishing rate, and we hope you’ve enjoyed what we’ve shared with you. So, tell us what you think!

Thanks so much to the LA County Arts Commission and our wonderful actors from OPM Comedy for helping to make this happen. Pacific Asia Museum wouldn’t be what it is today without the support of our community partners! ~CM


The Monks are Here!

September 8, 2011

Yesterday we welcomed the Gaden Jangtse monks to our Focus Gallery, where they’re now in progress of creating a sand mandala. They began their stay here with a beautiful opening ceremony and a gallery talk giving visitors an overview of their process.

The sand mandala is an ancient art form that is unique to Tibetan Buddhism. The artwork is made by placing fine sand, which is ground and dyed by hand, into an intricate design of the world in its divine form. It is intended to serve as a map for meditation by which the ordinary human mind is transformed into the enlightened mind. Visitors will be welcome to observe the artwork as its created in the Focus Gallery.

Upon completion of the mandala, the monks will hold a Dissolution Ceremony on Sunday as the mandala is blessed a final time and the grains of sand are swept into a pile, erasing the once-beautiful work of art as a reminder of our own impermanence. Some of the sand is given to those who are present, as a small blessing for their home or gardens. The remainder is taken to the ocean where it is poured into the moving water, which according to Tibetan Buddhist belief blesses all the beings living there, carrying prayers and blessings throughout the world.

The monks are also busy on a butter sculpture in the courtyard. Traditionally made with yak butter and colored dye, the sacred offerings are often seen on altars or family shrines. The floral form sculpture would normally be left outside as it’s worked on, but we’ll be putting it in the fridge overnight to keep the critters away. Added bonus– we might avoid it melting in this heat!

The monks will be with us through Sunday, when they’ll perform their Dissolution Ceremony and hold a performance of traditional chants and dance. The full schedule is available on our website, but feel free to stop by anytime to see the beautiful artwork! ~CM

A Poetic “40 Years”

September 2, 2011
Poet Kathabela and PAM Curator of Education Amelia

Poet Kathabela and PAM Curator of Education Amelia

Two years ago, Pacific Asia Museum took a highly unusual approach with the addition of its audio tour. Although the technology is innovative – listeners use their own cell phones to listen in- that was not what made the tour so unique. It was the content.

Inspired by art and architecture throughout the museum, the Poetry Tour at Pacific Asia Museum uses the art of the spoken word to explore the visual arts, and to link one viewer to another. Rather than providing facts about an object, the tour provides another person’s vision as a means of interpretation and inspiration for the listener. The tour’s original poetry was written by members of the Pasadena-based “Poets on Site” performance group which has partnered with the museum in the past to create live poetry and music events based on special exhibitions.

In celebration of 40 Years of Building the Pacific Asia Museum Collection, “Poets on Site” are once again sharing their work inspired by objects in the exhibition, including “Persimmon and Pine Trees by a Stream,” 416# (see below for how to hear these poems). You’ll also hear impressions of objects we’ve discussed on the blog before, including “Eagle in a Snowstorm,” (415#) “Mount Fuji in Clear Weather,” (418#) and “Landscape After Snowfall” (419#). Each reading is accompanied by Rick Wilson playing his original music on a variety of traditional Asian instruments– listen until the end to hear more about them. The full list of objects and corresponding poem codes are available within the gallery.

Press play to hear poetry inspired by the Goblins and Ghosts scroll.

Many of these contributions are in haiku or tanka form. Tanka is a Japanese form similar to (but older than) haiku, which follows a five-line, 31-syllable pattern of 5/7/5/7/7. Tanka poetry has been adapted to the English language, sometimes using the 31-syllable pattern, other times using a more flexible short/long/short/long/long pattern of the five lines.

To hear the recorded tour at anytime, call (626) 628-9690 and enter the number of the recording you want to hear about, followed by the pound sign. The original award-winning Poetry Tour can also be heard, downloaded, or read in transcript form on our website here, but for the newest additions, you’ll want to get out your phone and give it a try! ~CM