Mon and Thu, 11am-5pm; Wed, 11am-7pm; Fri, 11am-10pm; Sat-Sun, 11am-6pm; Tue, closed
A, C, E at 14th St.; 1 at 18th St.
$10, $7 seniors, students, neighbors and artists, free for children under 12
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
The Buddha works in mysterious ways. At the behest of energetic Jewish couple Shelley and Donald Rubin, the Enlightened One has symbolically claimed the former Barneys emporium in Chelsea, once the downtown center of hothouse fashion, and transformed Mammon into a temple of Himalayan art. The Rubin opened in October 2004 and houses about 2000 works in 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, with a central six-story spiral staircase. Though he admires scholarship, Donald Rubin does not want his museum to become forbiddingly academic. He emphasizes the living quality of Buddhist art, its ability, he says, to stimulate an "emotional rush" in viewers. The floor-wide exhibitions around the staircase are therefore organized by theme rather than by particular time or place. Rubin himself, who lost much of his family in the Holocaust and continues to be troubled by the eruptive violence in the human heart, takes a special interest in the demonic strains of Buddhist art: the nightmarish imagery represents a Buddhist's determination to confront internal demon's—and tame them.The Staircase
The six-story spiral staircase, originally designed by Andree Putman for the Barneys that previously inhabited the building, now suggests cycles, transcendence, and the rippling forms of Buddhist art.
Free guided tours are offered daily at 3 p.m. with additional tours on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Free standard and family audio guides are also available.
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