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If you ever find yourself footloose in the Chelsea neighbourhood of New York City, consider going down to the little Rubin Museum of Art. Prepare to be greeted by an astonishing cache of Himalayan art across time and geographical boundaries, ranging from a delicate copper Bodhisattva from twelfth century Bihar/Bengal to a Green Tara adorning a ravishing seventeenth-century Tibetan thangka. The museum boasts of a wealth of art—from Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Christian, Sikh and Jain traditions—housed over the museum’s four floors of permanent and special exhibitions. If it gets too much, retire to the Serai, the shop and café downstairs, for a cuppa.
You don’t need a museum admission ticket to dine at Serai or hang out at the shop browsing copies of gorgeous Rubin Museum publications. Like all museums and browsing havens worth their name, the Rubin is better if you take it slow. If you have a few days in hand, keep in mind the art and education projects the Museum’s friendly curatorial and educational staff run all year round, and remember that Gallery admission is free every Friday evening.
I went to the Rubin in February, when New York was a picture under thousands of thousands of swirling, dancing flakes of snow. Looking out of a Serai window at the city, I suddenly saw it fall away until beyond the falling snow were only the massive Himalayan mountains: travels within travels.
Where: The Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street.
Timings: 11.30am to 10.30pm. www.rmanyc.org
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