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by two cruisers
May 4, 2005
Anna Rice Cooke began this treasure trove with a few pieces of imported works from China displayed in her home. When the collection outgrew the house, she built the present lovely, low thick-walled structure with a wide lanai and many interior courtyards. A new two-story building completes the complex with more galleries and a theater. An art-and-crafts motif was used as ventilation grates. These patterns repeat in other areas.
The 32 separate galleries represent many aspects of Eastern and Western art, from prehistoric to present day. Surprisingly, the otherwise excellent Arts of Hawaii gallery was primarily paintings from Captain Cook’s arrival to contemporary. The Bishop Museum had a far more extensive collection of native art. The European and American collections here were standout. The Asian collections were organized in a way so that an untrained eye could make distinctions between the various cultures represented.
The Pavilion Café, open from 11:30am to 2pm, offers an elegant lunch menu and a setting overlooking a falling water sculpture. It’s a good idea to stop there early to get a reservation. Lunch for two was just under $25. The Academy shop offers stationary, art glass, prints, books, children’s gift items, a great selection of postcards, and other items related to the exhibits. Admission is $7/adult; seniors, students, and military personnel are discounted; and children under 12 are free. Metered parking on the street is sometimes available for a short visit. The Methodist Church underground parking garage allows parking all day for $5 every day except Sunday.
From journal Oahu – New Finds and Old Favorites
by smmmarti guide
August 23, 2003
The museum gallery plan hints at the broad exposure visitors encounter. The museum, listed on both National and State Registers, is arranged around six striking courtyards, each leading to an exhibit hall, taking advantage of Hawaii‘s work-of-art climate and foliage.
The first marvel is the Asian courtyard, with exotic Japanese, Indonesian, Pan Pacific and Chinese art collections. Most memorable are the substantial donations by James Michener, including some notable interpretations from Japanese theater. Another stunning exhibit was a completely intact samurai warrior outfit made from bronze, leather, brocade and other haute materials, signifying the elite status of these men.
Photos are not allowed inside the museum, but fortuitously, a traditional Japanese wedding rehearsal was taking place in the Asian courtyard, where I had turned a lens on the proceedings. Suddenly, a friendly but alert security guard took an interest in me. Once assured I was breaking no covenants, my chaperone acted as impromptu docent and explained that the Academy is a favored venue for private functions. And why not? Surrounded by glorious works of art and landscapes, guests are encouraged to freely peruse the collections during off-hour events.
Knowing this, I imagined stepping outside with a cocktail and encountering, van Gogh, Picasso, Monet and Gauguin. In the Western exhibit hall, ancient busts and Renaissance wonders share exhibit space with Mary Cassatt, Whistler and Georgia O’Keefe, whose startling rendition of the `Iao Valley resolutely resembles her famous flowers.
What better ice-breaker for guests than to browse the Hawaiiana collection, complete with the famous original portrait of
King Kamehameha by Louis Choris? The Oceania exhibit exposes artifacts and art by Pacific Island Cultures, including tapa cloth and feather capes. Not overlooked, the Native American cultures from North to South contribute Raven Rattles from British Columbia, an Ecuadorian female figure from 300 B.C., Kachina Dolls and Mexican masks, all representing the various cultures of the great migration.
The hallmark of the Academy is the the Doris Duke Foundation association and Shangri-La tours. Since November, 2002, the public has been invited to tour the magnificent retreat of the famous heiress, which houses 3,500 pieces of Islamic art. This press release reveals details of the in-demand excursions and present a excellent glimpse into the out-of-this world property.
Although tickets are difficult to snag for Shangri-La, you’ll need no engraved invitation to enjoy the collections and sultry ambiance at the Academy. So when in Honolulu, why not take a break from the sun and step into its light?
From journal Hawaii's Cultural Capital - Honolulu