Rubin Museum of Art

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Past Programs

"Doing some of the most original and inspired programs on the arts and consciousness in New York City." —Lisa Paul Streitfeld, Huffington Post

Since the Rubin Museum opened its doors in October 2004, we've hosted nearly 5,500 live programs, from concerts by artists Debbie Harry, Rosanne Cash, Joan Osborne, Steve Martin, and Elvis Costello to talks with Paul Simon, Lou Reed, Alice Walker, Sarah Silverman, David Byrne, Martin Scorsese, and Moby. Such a heady, energy-laden programming schedule has become a hallmark of the museum in its short existence. Below you will find a record of our past programs including links to videos clips and podcasts.    - Tim McHenry, Producer



The Buddha said that everything is illusion. What did he mean by that? The sixth edition of Brainwave enlisted the aid of neuroscientists to help us understand how the perception of our world is shaped by the surprising adaptability of our brains.

Season of Cambodia

Season of Cambodia is a "living arts festival" celebrating Cambodian lunar New Year with sacred music, Cambodian pop, and Peter Sellars' Persephone.



Digital DharmaDigital Dharma

Digital Dharma is E. Gene Smith’s epic 50-year journey to find, preserve and digitize more than 20,000 volumes of ancient Tibetan text after the devastation of the Cultural Revolution.

Wheel of LifeKarma-Con: Comic Artists Spin the Wheel of Life

In conjunction with the exhibition, Hero, Villain, Yeti: Tibet in Comics, eight contemporary artists have been invited to reinterpret segments of the Wheel of Life based on their own spiritual and artistic experiences in a three-part series: Karma-Con.

Alive InsideAlive Inside

Alive Inside follows Dan Cohen, a social worker who decides on a whim to bring iPods to a nursing home. What Dan Cohen discovers by accident, and scientists have been studying for years, is that a person suffering from memory loss can seem to "awaken" when given music they have an emotional attachment to.

Brainwave 2012Brainwave 2012: Memory

The Rubin Museum's fifth annual Brainwave series looks at the role that memory has played in the past, and the debatable role it plays in our contemporary cut-and-paste culture.



Anne Waldman: Poetry in Performance

Legendary poet Anne Waldman presented a selection of poems, including those from her new book, The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment, a thousand-page epic montage which takes on the issues of war and patriarchy, published by Coffee House Press.

OutOut in the Himalayas

Out in the Himalayas explored issues faced by gay, lesbian and transgender people in the South Asian region and diaspora. The 2011 presentations focussed on the Indian community as the Rubin Museum premiered the first of three exhibitions on Modernist Indian art. Presented in association with OUTmedia.

In the Shadow of Buddha

The NY Premiere of In the Shadow of Buddha, a compelling and exquisitely shot film by Heather Kessinger, takes us to the seldom seen world of Tibetan Buddhist nuns and refugees in Ladakh, a region in northernmost India.

The Road That Teaches

A conversation series exploring questions such as: What is sacred in this largely secular age? What is it in a pilgrimage that lends it abiding power to transform? The series featured Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo and Gloria Steinem (pictured).

Naxi Conference

A conference where anthropologists, linguists, and preservationists discussed questions about the current situation of the Naxi. Related exhibition: Quentin Roosevelt's China: Ancestral Realms of the Naxi (May 13-September 19, 2011) 

My Reincarnation

Filmed around the world, My Reincarnation is  an insider's look at the passing of spiritual knowledge from a Tibetan Master to his Western-born son.

Brainwave 2011

The Rubin Museum's fourth annual Brainwave series examines the nature of this mysterious phenomenon of dreaming. Why do we dream? What function does this ancillary brain activity serve? Can dreams anticipate the future?


Talk about Nothing

To complement the exhibition Grain of Emptiness, the museum invited people from many walks of life to explore the facets of nothingness.

Icon Conference

Marking the opening of the exhibition Embodying the Holy, this conference brought together some of the world's premier scholars of Christian and Buddhist iconography.

Tibetan Book of the Dead Club

A series of seven sessions exploring one of the seminal guides to the afterlife from seven different vantage points.

Brainwave 2010

The third annual Brainwave series drew inspiration from the exhibition Visions of the Cosmos and brought neuroscientists, astrophysicists, and artists together to discuss our brains and our universe.



Red Book Programs

In the spirit of the popular exhibition The Red Book of C. G. Jung the museum hosted a series of events related to the life and work of Carl Jung, including the Red Book Dialogues series.