A First-Time Survey of Asian Art Gets a Second Chance to Dazzle


This article is part of our latest Fine Arts & Exhibits special report, which focuses on how art endures and inspires, even in the darkest of times.

When Michelle Yun and Boon Hui Tan, the curatorial team behind the first-ever Asia Society Triennial, began assembling their exhibition five years ago, they imagined a city-spanning arts event that would give the Whitney Biennial and the New Museum’s Triennial a run for their money.

“We wanted it to be part of the city,” Mr. Tan said. The exhibition as they envisioned it could not be confined to the walls of the Asia Society. “It had to be bigger.”

What they did not envision was a pandemic that would throw their plans into upheaval — while also making the show’s mission even more imperative. After being postponed from its June opening because of Covid-19, the reimagined triennial will open next week at venues across New York City.

Part one of the triennial will run from Oct. 27 through Feb. 7, 2021, with much of the programming at the Asia Society Museum on the Upper East Side. Other venues include the Park Avenue Malls at 70th Street, Times Square and the New-York Historical Society on the Upper West Side.

If pandemic conditions permit, the second phase, from March 16 through June 27, 2021, will include performances with live audiences at venues such as David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center.


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