Wednesday, July 8, 2015

‘Collecting Paradise’ at the Rubin: A curious case of divergence

By Ken Johnson
“Seated Vajrapani” in “Collecting Paradise: Buddhist Art of Kashmir and Its Legacies” at the Rubin Museum. Credit Emon Hassan for The New York Times
NEW YORK---When art exhibitions travel from one museum to another, as they often do, their main themes usually don’t change very much. “Collecting Paradise: Buddhist Art of Kashmir and Its Legacies,” a show at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan, is a curious case of divergence from that custom, and it’s one that hinges on some currently momentous issues for museums and their holdings. The show highlighted a crucial difference between those two eras of collecting. Himalayans in the earlier time valued Kashmiri objects mainly for religious reasons. Western collectors, however, were more interested in secular values: aesthetic ones, and those of the capitalist marketplace. [link]