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Lions Roar : November 2008
75 SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2008 Where the Deities Live ONE AFTERNOON—it was about thirty years ago now—New Yorkers Shelley and Donald Rubin were walking up Madison Avenue and passed by one of the many fine art shops that call it home. Their attention was drawn to a thangka, a tradi- tional Tibetan painting, in the window. It portrayed White Tara, the female buddha of compassion. At the time they knew nothing about Himalayan art, but it stopped them in their tracks. “Our response was immediate and intuitive,” says Donald Rubin. “When you fall in love with someone, you don’t ask for their resumé and the history of their fam- ily. It’s the same thing with art. All you need to do is to feel it, to connect with it.” They bought the thangka and hung it in their bedroom. Gradually, they say, it started commu- nicating with them. Inspired by this budding love affair, the Rubins began to learn about Himalayan art and collect it. “We let the art speak to us, and we paid attention to it. We built our collection by following our hearts,” Don Rubin says. Gelek Rinpoche, a leading teacher of Tibetan Buddhism Official opening of the Rubin Museum featuring prayer flags designed by contemporary artists Opposite: Durga, thirteenth-century Nepalese statue, gilt copper alloy At New York’s Rubin Museum the spirit of the art is alive and cutting-edge. It’s both the world’s leading museum of Himalayan art and a hotspot of contemporary culture and thought. ELISABETH COLEMAN reports on this unique creative collision and the fascinating story behind it. (ITEMNO.65433)COLLECTIONOFTHERUBINMUSEUMOFART(ACC.#C2005.16.11)PHOTOBYKATHYKONKLES NOV 74-83.indd 75 NOV 74-83.indd 75 9/2/08 3:40:46 PM 9/2/08 3:40:46 PM