NEW YORK, March 14, 2016 — Asia Society is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2016 with special exhibitions and signature events across the Society’s global network that kick off this week in New York. The anniversary year celebrations opened on March 15 with a special dinner and gala reception in New York, celebrating the legacy of collecting and exhibiting Asian art that John D. Rockefeller 3rd (1906–1978) and Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller (1909–1992) set in motion for Asia Society. On March 21, at Asia Society Hong Kong Center, Sheeran and Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, will lead a conversation with Asia Society Trustees about the Rockefeller legacy in terms of global philanthropy.
Asia Society was founded on June 28, 1956, by John D. Rockefeller 3rd in New York to build understanding between the peoples of Asia and the United States. The Society has since grown from a small New York institution to a global organization with 12 centers across Asia, the U.S. and Europe, and unparalleled networks in the field of Asian arts, policy and education.
“Six decades ago, John D. Rockefeller 3rd had the vision to create an institution that would build bridges between the U.S. and Asia, at a time when Asia was poorly understood,” said Asia Society President and CEO Josette Sheeran. “He saw the potential of Asia when few did — and today that vision has proved prescient. Today, Asia is rising in every way — in influence, in standards of living, and in the global imagination — and this year we will honor Rockefeller’s vision, and his great legacy.”
Asia Society Museum will honor the Rockefeller legacy in the arts with the New York exhibition “In and Out of Context,” which juxtaposes historical and contemporary works to trigger more informed and distinctive ways of thinking about the artworks, their creators, and how they are displayed. Works of traditional art from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art, bequeathed to Asia Society in 1979 after Rockefeller’s death, are displayed next to contemporary works from the Asia Society Museum Collection. “In and Out of Context” runs through January 8, 2017.
Also on display at Asia Society New York is the installation “60 on 60: Asia Society Celebrates Six Decades in Photographs,” which presents some of the highlights of the organization’s history in snapshot form. From Rockefeller’s early stewardship of the institution to its global expansion, from its impactful policy and education work to its inspiring exhibitions and performances, these photographs capture the essence of what has transpired at Asia Society in New York and its other centers around the world.
Asia Society is also marking the anniversary with a short documentary film about the organization’s history, narrated by NBC News anchor and Asia Society Trustee Emeritus Tom Brokaw. A collection of articles from Asia Society leaders, past presidents, and global thinkers reflecting on Asia’s role in the world today and its future will be published as a magazine — in print and online. Commemorative exhibitions and events are also being planned across Asia Society’s global network.
“60 is an important number in many Asian cultures,” Sheeran said. “It signifies that one has completed a full cycle of life. So for this institution more than most, this is an occasion to celebrate.”
Asia Society is the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context. Across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, the Society provides insight, generates ideas, and promotes collaboration to address present challenges and create a shared future. A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, Asia Society is headquartered in New York with state-of-the-art cultural centers in Hong Kong and Houston, and offices in Los Angeles, Manila, Mumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, and Zurich.