Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

The Undiscovered Bali 

Wednesday, Mar 16 2011
Beautiful items from Bali? That’s expected in a major exhibit such as "Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance." What isn’t are the layers that announce unpleasant truths or cause visitors to squirm a bit. The museum is calling this “the first in-depth examination in the United States of Balinese artistic traditions.” Those traditions are steeped in centuries of influence from Hindu and Buddhist practices, but also from Dutch colonialism. European influence can be seen in the elaborate furniture that became a valued part of Bali’s royal arts. On the other hand, Dutch rule divided the country along harsh economic lines, which the museum acknowledges in a wall text that explains how the “tourist image” of early-20th-century Bali differed markedly from the reality of widespread poverty and health challenges. Tourists have always seen Bali as paradise on Earth, but the Balinese also emphasize rituals that celebrate the end of life. This exhibit features a video of an elaborate cremation ceremony, where the bones of bodies are washed in the open and reassembled in a sarcophagus. It’s not for the faint of heart. All this is balanced by other displays that emphasize the kind of sublime beauty that Bali is known for — textiles, instruments, masks, and puppets. The stories these objects tell never get old.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: March 15. Continues through Sept. 11, 2011

About The Author

Jonathan Curiel

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"