Enough with the overachieving young people valiantly striving to change the world! Oh, don’t worry ~ I’ll be back next week with the Unreasonable Institute finalists. But it’s Saturday, so I decided to move from the ridiculously motivated to the sublime. Namely … the Rubin Museum of Art www.rmanyc.org
This precious jewel of a museum is so beautiful, calming, and exquisite, it would well be worth a visit even if it weren’t for its breathtaking collection of Himalayan art. Founded by the irrepressible Donald Rubin, son of a labor organizer and founder of MultiPlan, a major PPO health plan, and his lovely & talented wife Shelley, the Rubin Museum came into being as much of Donald’s projects do – on a total whim. Rubin (a proud graduate of Oglethorpe University, www.oglethorpe.edu) started collecting Himalayan art in the late 1980s, not out of a political or intellectual inclination, but simply because he loved the stuff. “I bought one buddha, and good things started happening to me, so I bought some more, and more good things happened to me, and I never stopped.”
By 2000, he and Shelley had amassed one of the world’s largest collections of Himalayan art – and had long since run out of places to put it. They were discussing the possibility of starting a small museum when Donald drove by the vacated Barneys store at 17th & 7th Avenue in Chelsea. “That would make a good museum,” he thought. So he convinced Shelley to have a look, she immediately started making design plans in her head, and they were off to the races — albeit a slow, deliberate race: the thoughtful, elegant renovations took four years.
Today, the Rubin Museum of Art is a showcase for the art of Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia, Bhutan & the other Himalayan countries, as well as inspired exhibits of photography.
It’s cerebral. It’s sensual. And it’s sensational – with fascinating series like “Brainwave,” pairing thinkers like Laurie Anderson and Rinpoche with scientists in lively discussions of timely cosmic issues. On Friday nights throughout 2010, RMA also hosts “Harlem in the Himalayas,” Acoustic Jazz Nights in the moody cabaret, in collaboration with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. And let’s not overlook the Museum’s kick-ass gift shop with some of the loveliest stuff you can imagine (thanks to Shelley’s great taste), and a delicious on-site restaurant.
Today my $100 is going to support beauty (unfortunately, not my own), so it will always be there to be seen. The next time you’re in New York (or if you’re always there), don’t miss out on the loveliness that infuses every part of the Rubin Museum.
Just walk in and say, “Ooooommm.”