Home > Events > Asia After Dark > Past Event: Come Rock at Peacock Shock


Thursday, September 3, 6:30-10:30 PM
Freer Gallery of Art
Maps and directions

Indulge your senses in Asia and join us for an evening of art, dance, and creative fun in the Freer Gallery of Art. Dress in your favorite peacock colors and prepare to be "shocked" by the beauty of Freer's crown jewel, Whistler's Peacock Room, named a "masterpiece of American art" by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn a bit of Freer history. Take part in our text-message scavenger hunt hosted by The Pink Line Project. Sip a specialty drink, The Golden Peacock, and sample delicious food from Bangkok Joe's and Mie N Yu in Georgetown and Asia Nine in Chinatown. Saunter into the Freer courtyard and watch new wave dance by Boogie Bots, contestants from MTV's America's Best Dance Crew, and dance the night away to DJs Yellow Fever as they spin fusion beats. Short films from the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival will also play continuously in the Meyer Auditorium. And look out for our founder Charles Lang Freer—you might just get to have your photo taken with him. Art, Drink, and Be Happy!

From left: DJs Yellow Fever (photo by Sam Vasfi); Boogie Bots, contestants from MTV's America's Best Dance Crew; Freer Gallery founder Charles Lang Freer at his villa on Capri

Suggested Attire: Peacock colors or your favorite peacock accessories

Cash bar is available for wine, beer, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the evening. You must be at least 21 years old with a valid ID to attend this event.

Featured Exhibition

The Peacock Room
The Peacock Room was once the dining room in the London home of Frederick R. Leyland, a shipping magnate from Liverpool, England. Originally designed by the interior architect Thomas Jeckyll to display Leyland's extensive collection of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain, the room was radically redecorated in 1876 and 1877 by the American-born artist James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), whose painting The Princess from the Land of Porcelain hung over the mantel. Although he was at first merely asked for advice about what color to paint the shutters and doors, Whistler took over and eventually transformed the entire room into a "harmony in blue and gold," adorning its shutters with gorgeous golden peacocks and painting every inch of the ceiling and leather-covered walls with a pattern of peacock feathers. Leyland was shocked by the unauthorized redecoration and refused to pay the full amount that Whistler demanded for his efforts. In response to the contentious lawsuit that ensued, Whistler painted two peacocks squabbling over a bag of coins at the far end of the room--and he never saw his masterpiece again.

American collector Charles Lang Freer (1854–1919) purchased the room in 1904 and had it reassembled in his mansion in Detroit, Michigan. Later, in 1923, the Peacock Room was moved to the Freer Gallery of Art, where it remains on permanent display.
More about the Peacock Room


6:15 PM:

  • Ticketing begins at the main entrance of the Freer Gallery of Art, National Mall side
6:30-10:30 PM:
  • Pink Line Project: text-messaging scavenger hunt
  • DJs Yellow Fever
  • Art activities: Make your own "peacock shock" art
  • Asian Pacific American short films
  • Photo-op with cardboard cut-out of founder Charles Lang Freer
  • Meet Leyland's butler (actor Jonathan Watkins) as he tells the intriguing story of Leyland, artist James McNeill Whistler, and the Peacock Room
8:00 & 9:00 PM:
  • Boogie Bots dance performance

Asia After Dark in the NEWS
More in the news.

Past events
Asia After DarkRead more about past events.

Asia After Dark Event Host

Beverage and Food-Tasting Sponsors

Raffle Sponsors

dc apa film fest logo

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Copyright © 2011 Smithsonian Institution
Contact webmaster | Freer and Sackler Galleries Home