Facade of the RMA Building
Andree Putman's Steel and Marble Staircase of the RMA Building, a metaphor for traversing the levels of meaning in Himalayan culture
Earlier this afternoon, I visited the Rubin Museum of Art (RMA), home to a comprehensive collection of art from the Himalayas and surrounding regions. The museum is located in the heart of Chelsea, at 150 West 17th Street (Tel 2126205000). Their art collection consists of paintings, sculptures, and textiles. Although works of art range in date over two millennia, most reflect major periods and schools of Himalayan art from the 12th century onward. Current exhibitions include Color and Light (South Asian embroidery) and Patron and Painter (Tibetan paintings). I enjoyed viewing The Last Nomads, a collection of gelatin photographic prints by A Yin of Mongolian nomads.
About the RMA Building (from the RMA website):
The 70,000-square-foot museum occupies what was formerly a portion of the Barneys department store in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. It was acquired in 1998 and renovated extensively from 2000-2004. The renovation and new design elements were the results of a collaboration headed by the architectural firm of Beyer Blinder Belle and including Atelier Imrey Culbert (associate museum designers) and Milton Glaser Incorporated.
Many of the most important details within the building have been retained from its previous life, most notably Andree Putman's steel-and-marble staircase that spirals dramatically through the seven-story gallery tower. In addition to spacious yet intimate galleries for featured exhibitions, the museum includes space for contemporary and historical photography, an art-making studio, a state-of-the-art theater for multimedia events and performances, a cafe, and a gift shop.