Carrying forth a mission to celebrate and promote Asian art in New York City, Asia Week New York is a collaboration of top-tier Asian art specialists, major auction houses, and world-renowned museums and Asian cultural institutions in the metropolitan New York area. The Asia Week New York Association concentrates its efforts on presenting one non-stop, event-filled week in March of every year, drawing collectors and curators from every corner of the United States and an international clientele from across the globe. The annual event fulfills the broader aim of affirming the importance of Asian art in the citywide—and nationwide—cultural scene.
From March 13–21, 2009, a group of 16 galleries, then dubbed the “Asian Art Dealers of the Upper East Side,” collaborated to present an inaugural open house on March 14, 2009. This open house format and the week-long gallery exhibitions that follow would become the model for subsequent editions of Asia Week New York.
In 2010, the re-designated “Asian Art Dealers New York” group grew to include 31 leading international Asian art specialists who held simultaneous independent exhibitions throughout Manhattan from March 19–27. The week launched with a cocktail reception at the Rubin Museum of Art, followed by Open House Weekend, where lines of visitors crowded galleries across the map. Major auction houses, museums and cultural institutions also took part in the week’s programming, complementing the cultural offerings of dealer participants.
By 2011, the Asian Art Dealers New York Association was officially renamed the Asia Week New York Association and incorporated in the state of New York. Opening with a memorable reception at Asia Society, Asia Week New York 2011 saw more than thirty dealer exhibitions, auctions and special events presented by an ever-growing group of preeminent international Asian art dealers, major auction houses and world-renowned museums and cultural institutions. With thousands of ancient through contemporary Asian works of art on view, sales exceeded $250 million. Mid-week, VIP guests and participants were invited to a private reception, special lecture and exhibition tour at Japan Society, which helped raise awareness of Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund.
The 2012 edition of Asia Week New York took place March 16–24, with a non-stop calendar of exhibitions, auctions, opening parties, educational programs and special events. Festivities kicked off with an opening reception at the Morgan Library & Museum on the evening of March 16th, where the Morgan presented an exhibition of rarely seen Chinese objects from its collection. At week’s close, successful sales were reported across the board, totaling close to $200 million.
In its fifth year, Asia Week New York 2013 saw the largest number of galleries participating since its inception, with a record-setting 43 dealers opening their doors. The week launched with a reception at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where a retrospective of the modernist Japanese art collective Gutai was on view. The 2013 edition achieved $175 million in sales.
From 2014 to 2019, a steady roster of 45 to 50 dealers continued to present museum-quality exhibitions across midtown and the Upper East Side. Each year, the annual reception was held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which opened all of its magnificent Asian art galleries for the occasion and offered guests curator-led tours of the major exhibitions. 2019 was a landmark for Asia Week New York, as it marked the organization’s 10th anniversary, an occasion celebrated with the presentation of awards to ten individuals who had played a pivotal role in the development of the field of Asian art in New York.
The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Asia Week in 2020-2021. While exhibitions and sales were temporarily interrupted, AWNY seized the opportunity to develop robust and multi-faceted online activities that dramatically expanded our geographic and calendar reach. In Summer 2020, AWNY assembled and hosted our first online exhibition and inaugurated a continuing series of zoom webinars about an array of Asian art topics. A weekly newsletter, which now has nearly 5,000 subscribers, and an active social media program in English and Chinese, has allowed Asia Week New York to expand to become a year-round vital international resource and platform for Asian Art in the US.