Rubin Museum of Art

  • Hours
  • Today: 11am-6pm

  • The museum is closed on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year's Day.

  • The Cafe and the Shop are open during the museum hours.

find us on the map


Become a member today and explore the diverse cultures, art, and traditions of Himalayan Asia.
Join Now.

Special Offer
Bring a Friend for Free

Brainwave 2011

Brainwave 2011

Photos by Michael J. Palma

Buddhism might not exist were it not for the "conception" dream of Queen Maya, the Buddha's mother. In her dream a white elephant comes to her while she is sleeping and penetrates her right side with his trunk. It is from this same side that the Buddha is born, setting in motion a chain of fantastic events that would eventually lead to his enlightenment. The museum's fourth annual exploration of the human mind will focus on the relationship between dreams and prophecy. Why do we dream? What function does this ancillary brain activity serve? Do dreams anticipate the future? Brainwave will endeavor to answer these questions in a number of formats, including on-stage conversations between mind scientists and people from other walks of life, the museum's first "dream-over" for adults at the museum, and a series of workshops linked to the U.S. theatrical premiere of the award-winning documentary The Edge of Dreaming.



Featured Guests & Programs

A sleep-over for grown-ups


Henry Rollins + David Eagleman
The Assassin of My Dreams


Jacques Torres + David Linden
The Compass of Pleasure


Amy Tan + Deirdre Barrett
Creativity in the Dreaming Brain


Debra Winger + Robert Stickgold
Do Dreams Come True?



Meredith Monk + John Antrobus
Secrets of a Dream Diary

Nathan Englander + Amir Raz
Bedtime Hypnotism

Nicholas Humphrey + David Freedberg
Soul Dust: The Problem of Consciousness

Meir Shalev + Serinity Young
Who Dreamed the First Dream?

Siri Hustvedt + Jaak Panksepp
Hallucination and Dreaming

David Salle + Iain McGilchrist
Which Side of the Brain Controls You?

Scott Turow + Michael Gazzaniga
The Murderous Mind

Graham Joyce + Kelly Bulkeley
Are Dreams Pure Fantasy?

Roman Paska + Rodolfo Llinas
A Dream on a String

Frank McGuinness + Ernest Hartmann
Irish Dreams

Sharon Salzberg + Lawrence Barsalou
The Buddhist Dreamer

Lama Lhanang + Jayne Gackenbach
Tibetan Dream Yoga

John Patrick Shanley + Polly Young-Eisendrath
Do You Doubt Your Own Dreams?

Download the Brainwave 2011 brochure

The Edge of Dreaming

This film tells the true story of a woman who foretells the death of her beloved horse in her dreams and later has a similar dream about her own death.



Brainwave 2011 is made possible by generous support from MetLife Foundation.


The media sponsor of Brainwave 2011 is The New York Times Community Affairs.