Freer | Sackler Newsletter

Wu School

Red: Ming Dynasty/Mark Rothko
September 3, 2016–February 20, 2017

Created more than five centuries apart, an imperial Chinese porcelain dish and a painting by Mark Rothko (1903–1970)—unexpectedly juxtaposed—reveal the immensity of the color red. The richly layered tonalities of the Chinese ceramic and the American painting were achieved in dramatically different ways, but they uncannily echo each other. In both works, the unstable, subtly shifting hues touch our imagination, reminding us that color transcends time and place.    


Turquoise Mountain

Notes from the Desert: Photographs by Gauri Gill
September 17, 2016–February 12, 2017

Since the late 1990s, Gauri Gill (born 1970) has been photographing marginalized communities in western Rajasthan, India. Featuring nearly sixty of her prints, this exhibition showcases Gill’s work in the remote desert region and draws on her extensive archive. Portraits, photographs, and letters offer glimpses of the girls and women of Rajasthan, as well as of Gill’s complex relationships with her subjects. 

Wind and Waves

The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
opens October 15

Almost seventy sumptuous manuscripts are featured in The Art of the Qur’an, the first major presentation of Qur’ans in the United States. Celebrated for their superb calligraphy and lavish illumination, these manuscripts play a significant role in the history of the arts of the book in the Islamic world.

Koç Holding is the exhibition’s principal sponsor, with generous support provided by Turkish Airlines, Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute, Hagop Kevorkian Fund, El-Hibri Foundation, and Capital One. 


Teen Takeover

Performing Indonesia: Islamic Intersections

Our third festival of Indonesian music, dance, and theater celebrates manifestations of Islamic culture in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.  

Performing Indonesia is presented in partnership with the Embassy of Indonesia and George Washington University. The festival has received support from Rumah Budaya Indonesia and federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and additional funding from the American-Indonesian Cultural & Educational Foundation.

 Wind and Waves

Meet the Artist: Gauri Gill
Saturday, September 17, 2–4 pm
Sackler sublevel 1

Celebrate the opening of Notes from the Desert during this special afternoon, when you can meet Gill, a New Delhi-based artist, and Carol Huh, associate curator of contemporary Asian art. Drop by to view the stunning exhibition and ask questions about the photographs, which depict intimate stories about women and rural life in the northwest Indian desert state of Rajasthan.


 Wind and Waves

family workshops
Afghan Fighter Kites
Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18, 11 am–1 pm and 2–4 pm
Sackler sublevel 2, ImaginAsia classroom

Visit Turquoise Mountain with teaching artist Mukhtar Ziarmal and learn about kite fighting, a popular activity for kids in Afghanistan. Then, return to the classroom to collaborate with family and friends on constructing and decorating your own kite. For children ages 6–12 and adults. Registration required.


Museum News


We are excited to reopen the Freer on October 7, 2017, following a renovation to allow us to better present our art and serve our visitors.  The Sackler remains open and as dynamic as ever, with events held both in the museum and at venues throughout the DC area. Check out to learn more and plan your trip.

Image credits (top to bottom): Dish with copper-red glaze; China, Jiangxi province, Jingdezhen, Ming dynasty, Xuande (1426–35) mark and period; porcelain with copper-red glaze; on the base, a six-character cobalt-oxide (blue) reign mark in a double circle under colorless glaze; Purchase—Freer Endowment and Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries, F2015.2. Raami, from the series Balika Mela; Gauri Gill (b. 1970, India); 2003–10; inkjet print; Purchase—funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries, S2013.7. Qur’an; Attributed to calligrapher Abd Allah al-Sayrafi; probably Iraq, Il-Khanid period, first half of 14th century; ink, color, and gold on paper; Istanbul Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, TIEM 487. Fashion design by Helen Dewi Kirana Darmawan; photo by Putri. Untitled, from Jannat (1984–2007); Gauri Gill (b. 1970, India); 1999–2007; gelatin silver and inkjet print; Purchase—Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries, S2014.15.10. ImaginAsia activity; photo by F|S staff photographer. Freer Gallery of Art; photo by F|S staff photographer.

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Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
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