Rubin Museum of Art – West Village, Manhattan

Devoted to Art of the Himalaya

Among the many museums to be found in New York City, only one is comprised largely of works that come from earth’s mightiest mountain range.  That would be the Rubin Museum found at 150 West 17th Street, and those mountains of course are the Himalaya’s.  It is a cultural institution that takes as its mission to develop an appreciation for the artistic output of the Himalayan region where so many of the world’s major cultures and religions intersect.

The area has a rich history that has developed both from the indigenous people that live among the mountains as well as benefiting from the many travelers passing through.  The museum is committed to developing a following not only among scholars and connoisseurs of culture who have interest in the region, but also among the general public and members of the local community.  The museums runs outreach programs through local schools and youth groups.

The museum houses an extensive collection of art from the Himalayan region.  There are a variety of painting, sculptures, artifacts and textiles that date back up to two thousand years.  The bulk of the items are from the 2nd Century and to the 20th Century.  Guiding the museum’s Exhibitions, Collections, and Research of this vast and storied region is Director Jan Van Alphen.

The museum features a rotating series of exhibitions and programs designed to inform the public of the significance of the region to world culture.  The legacy of Himalayan art is detailed through the museum’s work.

No Prior Experience Required

The exhibits and shows are informative in nature.  There is recognition that few people know much about the history and importance of the region.  Texts supply rich detail of the significance of each item on display, and there is much information about the historic era each item is found in.  Both the casual viewer and serious scholar can enjoy perusing the wares on display along with the texts that accompany them.

At the museum, one may read books both from the Himalayan region and about the area.  Computer terminals are available that allow one to search through the museum collections.  These are well used both by scholars and interested members of the public. The museum also houses a large collection of photographs that are currently on loan from the Alkazi Foundation and are part of a retrospective of the work of Homai Vyarawalla, and will only be on view through January 14th 2013.

The Café at the Rubin Museum is something of a hot spot among New Yorkers looking for a good place to eat.  It features Himalayan cuisine, and there is even a happy hour on Wednesday evenings from 5-7PM. The Museum is free on Friday nights from 6-10PM.

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