For years , the Asian Art Museum was one of San Francisco's best-kept secrets. It was the largest museum devoted to Asian art in the Western world, but its collection was housed in a wing of another museum where only a small fraction of the collection could be displayed. In 1997, it moved into a landmark 1916 building designed by George W. Kelham. The task of retaining the building's historic qualities while invigorating it with bold new elements was given to Milanese architect Gae Aulenti, who had previously transformed a beaux arts train station into the Muse, D'Orsay. The result is a blend of Beaux Arts traditionalism and sleek European modernism. This new addition to the Art Spaces series studies the history and design of one of America's most unique museums.
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Thomas Christensen has written or translated more than a dozen books.
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