June 08, 2010
Jeff Watt over at Jeff's Travels points us to Yoni Zilber's Tibetan-themed tattoos. It's one way to view Tibetan art, and another is to visit the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art in the nation's capital ("In the Realm of the Buddha," through July 18). I've often talked to Jeff about the role of art in Buddhism and he has often complained that stripped of its connection to practice, religious objects are rendered pretty meaningless. He may agree, then, with Lee Lawrence, whose review in the Wall Street Journal alerts us to the challenges of presenting religious objects in contemporary museum settings:
In an age where religious rituals double as tourist attractions—whether Holy Week in Spain or Durga Puja in India—drawing strict lines between what is secular, cultural, aesthetic and religious risks doing damage to the appreciation and understanding of many forms of art.
The context in which Tibetan practitioners regard their art can't possibly be reproduced in the museum, but in this exhibit Lawrence sees an opportunity to begin discussing the unique challenge the display of religious objects presents. (You can read the review here.)
I've put in a call to Jeff (he won't hesitate to offer an opinion) but discovered over at Jeff's Travels that he is in Paris, being wined and dined by a world-renowned map dealer and expert, enjoying the perfect weather and—blogging. Still more art to look at: Jeff has been looking at at a collection of 18th century Moghul miniature paintings of architectural sights in New Delhi. Nice life.