Do This: Friday Night Himalayan Art

If you’re looking for a way to inject some culture into your Friday nights (or even just a respite from the heat), check out the Rubin Museum of Art. The museum, which, according to its website, “has the largest Western collection of religious art from cultures of the Himalayan mountain range,” is free every Friday night from 6:00 – 10:00 pm.


Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha
Remember That You Will Die: Death Across Cultures
image from Rubin Museum website

My visiting cousin and I checked out the museum this past Friday, and I was suitably impressed. The museum, tucked away on 17th between 6th and 7th, is deceptively large; an interior staircase spirals up six floors, and each floor features a different exhibit.

The first exhibit we saw was called Gateway to Himalayan Art, and it provided a helpful primer for the rest of the museum. It introduces the visitor to the traditional iconography of Himalayan art, and knowing the difference between, for example, a bodhisattva and a wrathful deity makes the rest of the museum much more accessible for a novice to the culture.

The museum is fascinating because it doesn’t just present traditional or ancient artifacts; it also contains exhibits of modern Himalayan art. It was particularly interesting to see that some of these artists still choose to use the traditional medium of crushed pigment on cloth.

Check the exhibitions list to see what is currently on view. I am planning to return in October to see an exhibit called Embodying the Holy: Icons in Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism, which sounds very interesting to me.

Also, if you’re looking to spend a little more cash on your Friday night, the Rubin Museum is hosting an acoustic singer/singwriter series through the end of the year on certain Friday nights. The next such performance is Joan Osborne on August 20.

Read More:
Art Review: Mulling Mortality, in the East and in the West [NYT]
Rubin Museum [Facebook]

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