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Entertainment & Arts

USC Pacific Asia Museum will reopen Friday after year-long closure

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The USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena.
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

The USC Pacific Asia Museum will unwrap its new look just in time for the holidays.

The Pasadena institution, which has been closed since July 2016 while its 1924 building underwent a seismic retrofit, will reopen Friday with “a refreshed 21st century look,” the museum said.

The renovation strengthened the foundation of the building and added gallery space for special exhibitions. The museum also added a gift shop and visitor center.

The grand reopening will mark the debut of the exhibition “Winds From Fusang: Mexico and China in the Twentieth Century,” the museum’s offering for the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA program. The show, which runs through June 10, uses artworks, video interviews and research records to explore the influence of Mexican art and artists on the development of contemporary muralism in China.

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“We’re a public museum, so we’re committed to bringing the best of art and culture from Asia to our audiences,” museum Director Christina Yu Yu said. “And after more than a year of hiatus, we’re finally here to present the best of our collection and reopen with this great exhibition.”

She said “Winds From Fusang” is the first time a museum exhibition addresses “artistic context between Mexico and China in the 20th century.”

“Many believe the Western influence since the ‘opening of China’ in the late 1980s is the motivating force of Chinese contemporary art,” exhibition co-curator Shengtian Zheng said in a statement. “Very few acknowledge other influences occurring prior to the Cultural Revolution, especially during the mid-20th century when China was isolated from the outside world.”

Also on view will be a reinstallation of selections from the museum’s 17,000-object permanent collection, spanning more than 5,000 years. That includes a few newly acquired pieces, such as a 1956 Korean oil painting by Park Soo-Keun and a pair of 13th century Song Dynasty Chinese ceramic vases.

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The new Pacific Asia Museum will offer “a very different experience as far as visitor flow,” Yu Yu said.

Admission to the museum will be free Friday through Dec. 17.

deborah.vankin@latimes.com

Follow me on Twitter: @debvankin

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