In the middle of July, one of New York City’s loveliest niche art museums is throwing a party, celebrating the spirit of community that has supported them since their opening in 2004. Based on the private collection of Donald and Shelley Rubin, the gallery is dedicated the preservation and visibility of art from the Himalayas, India, Tibet, and the surrounding regions. Formerly a Barneys department store in Chelsea, the 70,000-square-foot museum has over 1,000 items in its permanent collections and regularly hosts exhibits from artists from those countries.
Since they’re opening, they’ve continued to blossom, adding performance spaces, a café, and a large education center, spreading knowledge about Himalayan and Indian artistic traditions and serving audiences of all levels of need.
The Rubin’s block party, an annual gala since 2014, is an all-ages highlight of Chelsea in the summer. Visitors will be invited to join in themed art projects, with professional artists on hand to teach and inspire. Himalayan snacks will introduce people to the rich food from the region. Educational panels will be held, for those inspired to lifelong learning. And the entire museum will be open, free of charge, for tours.
This year, the block party is centered around the multimedia exhibition “The World is Sound,” featuring the art of more than 20 artists exploring the way sound shapes our human experience. At the center of the exhibition will be Le Corps Sonore (Sound Body), a site-specific installation that uses the museum’s graceful spiral staircase as a stage, with carefully-placed speakers allowing tuned ambient sound to “follow” visitors up and down the stairs.
The exhibition and the party will also feature Tibetan Buddhist ritual music, recorded for the purpose at several monasteries in Nepal and India. Visitors are invited to add their own voices to the chore in the Rubin Museum’s OM Lab.
The Rubin Block Party will take place on July 16th, from 1-4 pm. During that time, admission to all of the events and the museum is free, and families with young children are especially encouraged to attend.