The word "gorgeous" means something different to everyone. For some, it describes that hottie walking by. To others, it's a pastel sunset over Ocean Beach. Understanding what gorgeous means is like trying to define great art: you just know it when you see it. And that’s the whole point of the Asian Art Museum’s latest exhibition, "Gorgeous." 

“This isn’t about what the museum thinks,” says Allison Harding, who co-curated the exhibit. “This is about what you think.” 

In an unprecedented partnership with SFMOMA, the works in "Gorgeous" were drawn from the collections of both museums. They will be displayed together in an exhibit that spans dozens of cultures and a period of over 2,000 years. The show opens Friday, June 20, and is worth multiple visits – for a quiet reflection on the nature of beautiful art and for the exciting kickoff event, Grit and Glamour: The Gorgeous Opening Party.  

Following the theme of the exhibit, everyone at the opening party can define gorgeous for themselves. So wear whatever makes you feel great. TopCoat Nail Studio will be on hand to glam up your digits with designs inspired by the artwork, and DJs Dr. Sleep, Robot Hustle (Honey Soundsystem), Natalie Nuxx, and davO (Double Duchess) will keep the party moving. Dancers from the International Haus of Nu Benetton will be in the museum too, werkin’, turning, and vogueing in gritty, glamorous performances upstairs and downstairs.

And if you're not quite ready to call it quits by 11 p.m., The Stud is hosting a "Gorgeous" after party just down the street with more art, drinks, and drag performances for only $10.

As for the exhibit itself, the 72 artworks will be displayed in an arrangement that minimizes their historical and cultural contexts. This allows for a fresh, unbiased look. A classic Picasso might rest next to an elaborately decorated Qu’ran from the 16th Century. Marcel Duchamp and Marilyn Minter could occupy the same territory as a 1,000 year old Indian sculpture created by an artist with considerably less name recognition. Which artworks stand the test of time? Which ones create something incredibly beautiful, or challenge us in unexpected ways? 

You'll just have to decide for yourselves which pieces are truly gorgeous. 

Images courtesy of Asian Art Museum. Artworks represented: Buddha and Rothko, Asian Art Museum on Instagram; Dan Flavin and final photo, Asian Art Museum on Instagram; Dancers photo of International Haus of Nu Benetton. Nail photo by Ashley Batz, nails by TopCoat Nail Studio

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