The thunderous sound of taiko drummers and a lively Chinese lion dancer summoned donors to the Ringling Museum’s gleaming new Asian Art Center Wednesday evening for a celebration dinner and sneak peek at the jade-green tiled building and its collection of contemporary and ancient Asian art. (It officially opens tonight with a Members’ Preview.)
A remarkable engineering feat (each custom-designed glazed terra cotta tile that clads the exterior took 28 days to forge), the three-story, 20,000-square-foot addition stands on the museum’s south wing facing Sarasota Bay.
On hand at the donors’ dinner were principal architect Rodolfo Machado of the Boston-based firm Machado Silvetti, as well as Ken Okaniwa, Consul General of Japan in Miami, and Fan Zhang, the Helga Wall-Apelt Associate Curator of Asian Art, who chose the artwork that fills the museum walls. The collection will focus on three aspects of the museum’s holdings: objects from China, Japan, Korea, India and other regions in South and Southeast Asia; works that reflect the cultural exchanges that occurred between West and East in the age of the Silk Road trade; and 20th and 21st-century Asian art.