July 26, 2009

Mandalas, Jung and the Cosmos

Mandala Rubin Museum of Art Martin Brauen blogIt never gets dull at the Rubin Museum of Art, in New York City. Home to a one of—if not the—most comprehensive collections of Himalayan art, the Rubin never disappoints.

This August the museum, housed in what was once Barney's downtown fashion emporium, will begin a three-part "Cosmology series," leading with an exhibit on the history and meaning of the mandala. "The Mandala: The Perfect Circle," opens on August 14th and runs through January 11, 2010. According to Martin Brauer, the museum's chief curator,

The mandala is one of Buddhism’s singular conceptual and artistic achievements. Sanskrit for any circular or disklike object, the word only assumed its current association with the cosmos and its role as an aid to meditation with the advent of later Buddhism called Mahayana Buddhism.”

The exhibit draws from a number of museums from around the world. As artdaily.org reports,

Visitors to Mandala: The Perfect Circle will find mandalas conceived as concentric circles, circles within squares, squares within circles, lotus blossoms, six-pronged stars, or inverted, crossed triangles. A deity, sometimes with a partner, is usually situated in the middle of the central disk, surrounded by four, six, eight, ten, or twelve assembly deities set in an additional circle. As such, the mandala’s very construct graphically mirrors the Buddhist notion of the cosmos and of the human being. In addition to paintings, reliquaries, and amulets, the exhibition includes tapestries, sculptures, and utensils used in sacred ceremonies and a time-lapse film of a mandala formed in sand.

On October 7, 2009, "The Red Book of C. G. Jung: Creation of a New Cosmology," opens and will run through January 25, 2010. It will display for the first time Jung's "red leatherbound notebook," containing Jung's principal theories of archetypes, collective unconscious, and the process of individuation.

"Visions of the Cosmos: From Milky Ocean to Black Hole," opening on December 11 of this year, is the third and final exhibit. According to artdaily.org, the exhibit will "examine the ways that humans interpret and visually represent the creation and structure of the universe, including contemporary views, and humankind’s place within it."

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Mark Pringle's picture

unfathomable mind, now beacon, now sea.

-Samuel Beckett

Tricycle's picture

[...] about its current mandala exhibit (”The Mandala: The Perfect Circle” is the first of a series of three), even threatening to camp out at the Chelsea museum for the rest of the summer and into [...]

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Barbara Cary's picture

As an art therapist and student of Jungian psychology, i am very interested in this exhibit. i won't be able to attend, but perhaps my granddaughter, who lives in Brooklyn, will be able to enjoy it. She, too, is an artist, trying to make a living there. Happiness to all, Barbara Cary