by Camila Viegas-Lee
The Fall season brings the best cultural events of the year and two exhibitions about Buddhism are a must. The Japan Society shows The Sound of One Hand: Paintings and Caligraphy by Zen Master Hakuin until January 9th. And The Rubin Museum of Art shows the Alice S. Kandell Tibetan Shrine and Embodying the Holy: Icons in Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism through 2012.
Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1768) is widely acknowledged as the leading Zen master of the last five centuries and this is the first exhibition in the West devoted to him. According to the curators Audrey Yoshiko Seo and Professor Stephen Addiss, Hakuin was also the most significant Zen artist of his time. “He not only expressed the mind and heart of Zen for monks and lay followers – it was he who first asked "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" – but also reached out to the entire population with his painting and calligraphy. You will be able to see 78 of his scrolls gathered from collections in the United States and Japan.
The Alice S. Kandell Tibetan Shrine Room has been tucked away in a New York City apartment for decades until last year when it debut at the Sackler in Washington, DC, to rave reviews. The Shrine Room will found a home at the Rubin Museum of Art as part of the Gateway to Himalayan Art exhibition. More than 150 sacred objects are packed into the room and allow the visitor a rare glimpse of how these works would be found in a private Tibetan shrine.
The Rubin Museum of Art examines intriguing correspondences and differences between Eastern Orthodox icons and Tibetan Buddhist thangkas (paintings on cloth) in Embodying the Holy: Icons in Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism. The exhibition establishes parallels between the Western and Eastern sacred traditions in function, subject matter, composition, and storytelling strategies, pairing some 63 icons from The Museum of Russian Icons, Clinton, Massachusetts, and private collections, with 26 from the Rubin Museum of Art and other collections.
The Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues). Tuesday through Friday 11am to 6pm; Saturday and Sunday 11am to 5pm. Closed Mondays and major holidays.
The Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues). Monday 11am to 5pm; Tuesday closed; Wednesday 11am to 7pm; Thursday 11 am to 5pm; Friday 11am to 10pm; Saturday and Sunday 11am to 6 pm. The museum is closed on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year's Day.