Past Exhibitions at the Rubin Museum of Art
October 16, 2013 - February 10, 2014
Allegory and Illusion: Early Portrait Photography from South Asia presents approximately 120 photographs and a selection of albums, glass plate negatives, cabinet cards, cartes-de-visites, and postcards illustrating the rich tradition of portrait photography in India, Burma, Sri Lanka, and Nepal from the mid-19th century to early 20th century. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi.
April 26, 2013 - September 16, 2013
Naga describes a group of culturally and linguistically linked, but distinct tribes living on the border between India and Burma. Because the Naga had the reputation for being fearsome headhunters, they were somewhat isolated and evolved a distinctive material culture. They produce decorative ornaments, expressive wood carvings, and vividly colored textiles. The exhibition, from the Weltmuseum Wien in Vienna, includes examples from one of the largest and most important collections in the world.
March 15, 2013 - February 10, 2014
The texts and images on the back of Tibetan art objects reveal clues to their meaning, function, and historical context. For the first time ever both sides of a select group of scroll paintings (thangkas), sculptures, and initiation cards are explored in detail. Chosen for the beauty, exceptional content, and complexity of their backs, these works of art dating from the 13th to the 19th century illuminate the many uses of the other side in Tibetan culture.
February 8, 2013 - July 8, 2013
This exhibition features photographs of sacred landscapes in northwestern China by New York-based artist Lisa Ross. In and around the Taklamakan Desert, Ross photographs Muslim shrines, or mazars, often adorned with recycled flags and fabrics. Ross’s remarkable images are largely without the presence of the human figure, allowing the viewer to inhabit a space that is unmediated and complex.
November 16, 2012 - April 29, 2013
Radical Terrain is the final exhibition of a three-part series Modernist Art from India, that examines art from post-independence India. Radical Terrain highlights the diverse explorations of landscape in Indian art after independence, showing how landscape was a means for artists to come to terms with the vastness of India as a new nation. Also featured will be new work by international contemporary artists currently working in landscape, to be introduced during the exhibition.
October 12, 2012 - March 25, 2013
The fourth in a series of exhibitions curated by the renowned Tibetan scholar David Jackson, The Place of Provenance: Regional Styles in Tibetan Painting explores the four distinctive provincial artistic styles of Tibet as well as those of Bhutan, Mongolia, and Qing-dynasty China. Jackson debunks the common Western belief that a single style dominated the majority of these provinces in recent centuries.
July 6, 2012 - January 14, 2013
Homai Vyarawalla (1913-2012) was India’s first female photojournalist. This exhibition, the first on Vyarawalla outside of India, will present her photography from the late 1930s to 1970, and narrate her extraordinary life with a biographical film and ephemera from her career.
May 4, 2012 - October 16, 2012
Approaching Abstraction is the second exhibition of a three-part series, titled Modernist Art from India, that examines art from post-independence and post-Partition India. Building on the explorations between abstraction and figuration begun in The Body Unbound, the exhibition distinguishes abstraction in modernist Indian art from abstraction in Euro-American modernism and shows the independent trajectory of abstraction in post-Independence India.
April 6, 2012 - September 3, 2012
Gold, silver and other precious materials were often used to adorn objects of religious devotion, especially the sacred books of the living traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity, and Islam. It is believed that precious materials enhanced the sacred message and the efficacy of the book. This exhibition focuses on physical aspects of sacred books and draws attention to their significance as religious objects.
March 2, 2012 - February 11, 2013
A group of 104 sculptures on long-term loan to the Rubin Museum of Art will be exhibited together for the first time in the United States. A selection of the works was previously exhibited at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, in the United Kingdom, in 1999. The collection is known as the Nyingjei Lam Collection, which means "path of compassion."
December 9, 2011 - June 11, 2012
Comic book storylines have drawn on Tibet's cultural and religious traditions for more than sixty years, mixing reality with myths and long-held stereotypes. Featuring more than fifty comic books from around the world, Hero, Villain, Yeti sheds light on global perceptions of Tibet as reflected in and informed by these diverse narratives.
October 21, 2011 - March 5, 2012
In early Tibetan painted portraits, founding masters of important Buddhist schools were often represented as holy personages, their earthly form visually transformed into the serene countenance of a buddha. Mirror of the Buddha presents exquisite examples of these portraits, painted primarily in the eastern India-inspired Sharri style.
July 22, 2011 - November 13, 2011
Hannes Schmid's large, color photographs and aerial-angled movie capture the claustrophobic crowds, myriad colors, and energy of the Maha Kumbh Mela festival, the greatest of Hindu pilgrimages and the largest recorded gathering of human beings on earth.
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May 13, 2011 - September 19, 2011
This exhibition presents the religious art of the Naxi—one of China's fifty-five ethnic minority nationalities—the majority of which was acquired in the early to mid-twentieth century by Quentin Roosevelt, grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, and botanist-explorer Joseph Rock.
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April 8, 2011 - August 22, 2011
For centuries Tibetans have used carpets for decorative and functional purposes, drawing upon geometric patterns, auspicious symbols, and natural and mythical imagery for their design. This exhibition will showcase the stylistic variety and uses of Tibetan carpets alongside fine art and everyday objects that echo their imagery and illuminate their utility.
March 11, 2011 - January 7, 2013
Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection showcases some of the finest works of art from the museum's collection while highlighting the stylistic diversity and relationships between different strands of Himalayan and neighboring cultural and artistic traditions.
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January 28, 2011 - July 4, 2011
Body Language: The Yogis of India and Nepal presents Thomas Kelly's striking photographs of sadhus, extraordinary-looking wandering ascetics who renounce worldly life and devote their lives entirely to religious practice and the quest for spiritual enlightenment.
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September 3, 2010 - May 23, 2011
This exhibition traces the development, patronage, and distinctive features of Tibet's Beri painting style, one of the country's most influential artistic styles for four centuries. The style represents a shift in artistic inspiration from India to Nepal with the fall of key Indian monasteries in 1203.
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August 6, 2010 - January 10, 2011
The Rubin Museum presents the first exhibition of late 19th and early 20th century photographs by John Claude White, a British government officer who was stationed throughout the Himalayas during the British Raj. White traveled extensively during his residence in Sikkim, documenting his journeys with an enormous camera. The resulting collection of large format prints represents the mountains he loved and the people whom White considered companions and friends.
June 11, 2010 - October 18, 2010
Tradition Transformed: Tibetan Artists Respond marks the first exhibition of contemporary Tibetan art in a New York City museum. The nine Tibetan artists featured each explore contemporary issues--personal, political, and cultural--by integrating the centuries-old traditional imagery, techniques, and materials found in Tibetan Buddhist art with modern influences and media.
March 19, 2010 - August 9, 2010
Remember That You Will Die: Death Across Cultures explores the concepts of death and the afterlife in the European and Himalayan traditions from about the fourteenth century to the present. Societies rooted in these cultures have developed complex notions of death, often with startling visual counterparts.
February 26, 2010 - July 26, 2010
Tibetans know Mount Everest as Chomolungma, "Mother Goddess of the Earth," the place where the land touches the heavens. In her shadow lies the rugged expanse of the Rongbuk Valley where photographer Tom Wool spent four weeks capturing images in 2001. His sensitive photographs of religious and village life provide a glimpse into this remote land.
February 12, 2010 - September 6, 2010
The transitional states between death and either the attainment of spiritual enlightenment or the return to the cycle of rebirth are explored in Bardo: The Tibetan Art of the Afterlife. For centuries, Tantric Buddhism has used tools that aid in the preparation for hallucinatory visions that appear in the afterlife. Only by recognizing these visions as illusory can buddhahood be attained.
December 11, 2009 - May 10, 2010
Visions of the Cosmos juxtaposes Eastern and Western conceptions of the universe through approximately 70 works, including sculptures, paintings, illuminated manuscripts, rare books and prints from American and European collections, and photographs of the galaxies taken largely by the Hubble Space Telescope. Visions of the Cosmos marks the first opportunity for visitors to compare European works with the museum's Himalayan art collection.
October 7, 2009 - February 15, 2010
The Red Book of C.G. Jung marks the first public presentation of what may be considered psychology’s most influential unpublished work. Jung’s fascination with mandalas—Tibetan Buddhist representations of the cosmos used to help reach enlightenment—is evident in these books where mandala structures figure prominently in many sketches and paintings.
September 18, 2009 - February 15, 2010
Victorious Ones presents an array of paintings and sculptures depicting the Jinas, the founding teachers of Jainism, and the spaces they sanctify throughout the universe. Central to this Indian ascetic faith, dating from between the 6th and 5th century BCE, is an ethic of nonviolence and respect for all living beings. Images of the Jinas embody these ideals of perfection and serve as objects of devotion through which the Jinas can be accessed.
August 14, 2009 - January 11, 2010
The mandala, one of Himalayan Buddhism's most ubiquitous symbols, is created as an artistic aid for meditation. Depicting a realm that is both complex and sacred, the mandala is a visualization tool meant to advance practitioners toward a state of enlightenment. Mandala: The Perfect Circle explores the various manifestations of these objects, their symbolism, how they fulfill their intended function, and their correlation to our physical reality.
June 12, 2009 - November 9, 2009
This exhibition unites objects from Dr. David Nalin's collection and the multiple institutions to which he has donated. Over the last four decades, Dr. Nalin's art collection has grown in scale and scope, spanning South Asia and surrounding regions such as Tibet, Nepal and China.
March 13, 2009 - July 13, 2009
Portraiture is one of the most powerful and significant expressions of figurative art, and in the Himalayas the subjects of religious portraits are exclusively religious teachers, or gurus. By preserving the physical appearance of a guru, an icon is produced that can charismatically substitute for the teacher in his physical absence. As such these portraits often embody the teachings of the guru and the traits of the enlightened mind.
March 13, 2009 - September 21, 2009
Residing in the low Himalayan hills of northeastern India and Myanmar (Burma), the Nagas are a people faced with both tradition and transition. This very diverse community is divided into a number of tribes and sub-tribes and speaks as many as 30 different languages.
February 6, 2009 - August 17, 2009
A painting tradition established in the traveling courts of the great Tibetan Karmapas, most of what we know of the Encampment Style belongs to its eighteenth-century revival by the great scholar-painter Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne (1700-1774). A combination of Indo-Nepali and Chinese artistic elements, the Encampment style was fostered under the tutelage and support of Situ, who acted as both artist and patron.
December 12, 2008 - May 11, 2009
South Asia has long been famed for the beauty and diversity of its decoratively stitched cloth. Embroidery served—and to a large extent still serves—multiple functions in daily and religious life, serving as components of clothing, domestic and religious ornamentation, animal covers, and articles of daily use. The exhibition shows the extraordinary diversity apparent in the wide range of colors, patterns, and imagery of the region's textiles.
October 31, 2008 - March 2, 2009
The Wuzhu Muqin are the last remaining nomadic tribe in China, and have become Mongolian photographer A Yin's source of inspiration. Yin has become his people's advocate, exposing to the rest of the world the ancient lifestyle they maintain in the face of rapid modernization. Comprised of images captured over ten years, this exhibition offers a striking visual account of daily life in the Inner Mongolian highlands: from the labors of migration to the intimacies of kinship.
Friday September 19, 2008 @ 10:00 AM
The Dragon's Gift comprises 87 works of art in the New York presentation, including intricate paintings and images created using applique and embroidery framed in brocade, called thangkas; gilt bronze and wooden sculptures; and ritual objects ranging in date from the 8th to the 20th century, with especially strong examples from the 17th through the 19th century.
May 9, 2008 - August 18, 2008
In this exhibition, thirty paintings lay out the concept of "paradise" in Tibetan Buddhism, understood through different approaches and teachings, the most radical of which confronts us with the realization that paradise is all around us if we are able to perceive it. Poetry and writings by Buddhist masters, including texts that guide the passage from death to rebirth, are provided to accompany the visual communications of these ideas in paintings, textiles, and sculpture.
May 2, 2008 - November 10, 2008
This exhibition explores the three unique types of Himalayan painting in which color is used to invoke mood and emotion. Red is for alarm, power, and resolve. Black is for caution, fear, and protection. Gold is for wonder, wealth, and opulence.
April 4, 2008 - August 18, 2008
This exhibition focuses on the high level of skill, sophistication, and creativity of Tibetan artists as they embraced Chinese ideas and combined them with distinctly Tibetan innovations in paintings of arhats—figures recognized as fully realized preservers and transmitters of Buddhist wisdom.
March 14, 2008 - October 13, 2008
“The realization that not only my camera but also the modern world was making ever-increasing intrusions into even the most remote areas of Nepal compelled me to document a time and way of life slipping inexorably into the past.” —Kevin Bubriski, 1993.
February 2, 2008 - February 7, 2011
This exhibition features the finest examples of Nepalese art from the RMA collection, highlighting the variety of forms and subjects, techniques and media that emerged from the creative matrix of the Kathmandu Valley.
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October 5, 2007 - April 14, 2008
Bon: The Magic Word is the first exhibition of art to illuminate the Bon, a religious and cultural group living in the Himalayas and Central Asia—a group almost unknown in the Western world.
September 14, 2007 - February 11, 2008
Celebrating the opening of RMA in 2004, more than 120 modern versions of traditional Tibetan prayer flags were created by contemporary artists from around the world. Prayer flags, dar cho in Tibetan, are a means of spreading good fortune to all beings and have been a part of Himalayan culture for thousands of years, dating back to the pre-Buddhist Bon tradition.
August 17, 2007 - March 17, 2008
This exhibition presents the largest objects from the RMA collection in a dazzling display of brightly colored paintings and explores the reasons for creating the even larger thangkas.
May 10, 2007 - October 16, 2007
The sacred mountain Wutaishan (Mount Wutai), located in Shanxi Province, China, is believed to be the earthly abode of the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, Manjushri, and for a thousand years it has been a focus of transnational pilgrimage for the Chinese, Tibetans, Mongols, and Manchus alike. This multi-culturalism, endemic of Himalayan art, is reflected in the objects in this exhibition coming from Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia, and China, including paintings, sculptures, masks, book covers and features a six-foot wide woodblock print, a panoramic view of Mount Wutai filled with temples and miraculous visions.