The Asian Art Museum presents Proximities 3: Import/Export, the third and final show in an intimate trilogy of exhibitions exploring the culturally and geographically vast idea of Asia through the diverse perspectives of Bay Area artists. Guest curated by Glen Helfand, each Proximities exhibition features artworks that question whether objects and ideas can convey an accurate sense of Asia. The series’ artworks also reflect the artists’ personal proximities to Asia and Asian history. Previous exhibitions in the series examined themes of real and imagined landscapes, and family and community. In Proximities 3 artists examine the roles of trade and commerce.

On view Dec. 20, 2013, through Feb. 23, 2014, Proximities 3: Import/Export features projects that trace cycles of exchange, from raw materials to commodities to ideas. The exhibition includes new and recent works by Rebeca Bollinger, Amanda Curreri, Byron Peters, Jeffrey Augustine Songco, Leslie Shows and Imin Yeh relating to trade, mass production and the marketing of national identity, all aspects that generate global impressions of Asia.

The exhibition’s look at manufacturing starts with Shows’ use of yellow sulfur, one of the most important elements used as an industrial raw material, and one that is refined and utilized in ports in the Bay Area and Asia. Additionally, Yeh was inspired by a recent residency in India where she observed the complex manufacturing process of shopping bags. In her piece, Yeh makes shopping bags by hand, pointing to the skill and labor required to craft objects that are often taken for granted or undervalued—such as the shopping bag that sells for 10 cents in San Francisco. Bollinger’s handmade porcelain objects resemble trinkets her father brought back from business trips in Japan.

Proximities 2: Knowing Me, Knowing You is currently on view through Dec. 8, 2013, and features artworks by Kota Ezawa, Mik Gaspay, Michael Jang, Pawel Kruk, Barry McGee, Anne McGuire and Charlene Tan. The artists’ projects reveal connections, conceptions, and interpretations of Asia through themes of interpersonal relationships, relocation and dislocation.

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