|The spiral staircase at the Rubin Museum|
The museum provides a welcome relief from the ordinary business of New York. The galleries direct attention away from the grind of the anxious 9-to-5 city and toward the presence of the moment. The whole museum experience, with the sweeping spiral staircase as its core, functions like a guided meditation. The rooms, including the cafe, appear darker and mellower than in the museums uptown, but the objects are always sufficiently illuminated. Focused seeing and directed attention matter here.
This summer at the Rubin, the attention is on sounds - the sounds made by sound artists, the sounds of Buddhist monasteries, the ambient sounds of the world, and the sound of your own breathing. The immersive interactive exhibit, The World is Sound, is designed to raise awareness that all the senses play into consciousness and meditation practices. We often look but do not see, and we hear but do not listen.
The staircase is listening. Le Corps Sonore (Sound Body), an original site-specific installation created by Éliane Radigue, Laetitia Sonami, and Bob Bielecki, consists of droning sounds triggered by walking up and down the stairs. With this work, visitors take into consideration the relationship of their bodies with the ambient sounds. In the serene OM room, with sound and digital design by Terence Caulkins of Arup, visitors listen to recordings that previous museum visitors made of the OM sound, a frequently used mantra signifying the vibration of the universe.
|Cafe Serai at the Rubin Museum|
The Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th St.
The World is Sound
Through January 8, 2018
Also of note:
Henri Cartier-Bresson: India in Full Frame
Through September 4, 2017
Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from June 26, 2017.