Editors' pick

Freer Gallery of Art - Smithsonian Institution

Freer Gallery of Art - Smithsonian Institution photo
(Detail from James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room/Freer Gallery of Art)
Through 1/3/16

Ancient Chinese Jades and Bronzes

More than 100 items from the museum's collection are displayed, including pieces from the Shang and early Western Zhou dynasties as well as the Liangzhu culture.
Through 1/3/16

Arts of the Indian Subcontinent and the Himalayas

Works from the museum's collection of South Asian and Himalayan art is highlighted.
Through 1/3/16

Bold and Beautiful: Rinpa in Japanese Art

To celebrate the Rinpa aesthetic, the exhibition features 37 paintings, ceramics, woodblock-printed books and lacquers by Ogata Korin (1658-1716) and later artists inspired by the design movement.
Through 1/3/16

Chinese Ceramics: 13th-14th Century

The exhibition features 12 items from the museum's collection that highlight ceramic production during the Yuan dynasty.
Through 1/3/16

Enigmas: The Art of Bada Shanren (1626-1705)

Featured in this exhibition are examples of Shanren's works, with a selection of paintings and calligraphy dating from the 1660s through his peak professional years in the 1680s and 1690s.
Through 1/3/16

Freer and Whistler: Points of Contact

More than a dozen of James McNeill Whistler's paintings from the museum's collection are on display.
Through 1/3/16

The Nile and Ancient Egypt

The exhibit explores how Egyptian art was inspired by the river.
Through 1/3/16

The Peacock Room Comes to America

The room is re-created to appear as it did in 1908.
Through 6/5/16

Perspectives: Lara Baladi

The Egyptian-Lebanese photographer used a digital loom to create "Oum el Dounia (The Mother of the World)," a collage of her images that anchors this exhibit.

Editorial Review

The Buzz: Railroad-car manufacturer and art collector Charles Lang Freer donated his collections of Asian art to the United States along with the funds to build a museum. The result is a building next door to the Smithsonian Castle that houses -- along with its neighbor, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery -- 30,000 pieces of art from the Far and Near East as well as a collection of American art.

The Collections: The museum contains intricate Japanese screens, bronze Buddhas, colorful cloisonne pieces and Chinese paintings, but the true star of the permanent collection is the Peacock Room. Originally designed by Thomas Jeckyll, an English interior architect, the Peacock Room was once the dining room of a wealthy British ship owner. The room features leather wall hangings of peacocks in deep blue and gold (painted by James McNeill Whistler), Chinese blue-and-white porcelain bowls from the Qing dynasty and wooden shutters depicting four voluptuously plumed peacocks.

Programs: Together with the Freer, the Sackler hosts an ongoing series of public programs. Concerts, films (from classics to anime) and special lectures are held most weekends in the Meyer Auditorium. The museum also organizes ImaginAsia, programs for children ages 6 to 12.

Extras: Both museums offer gift shops with Asian art, jewelry, posters, T-shirts and items for children. Neither has a restaurant.

(Updated July 10, 2007)