Art? Ritual? Devotional image? Sand mandalas made by Tibetan Buddhist monks are all three plus much in-between. In February I spent five days watching them make a mandalaat the Mattie Kelly Arts Center of Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida. My report is in yesterday's WSJ and, here below, are photos I took throughout the process. The … Continue reading the making – and unmaking – of a sand mandala
Slap a piece of wood around a painting, and you've created a border -- a signal that the viewer is leaving one kind of space and moving into another. Carve and gild that border and you're declaring that what is inside is special, very special. And sometimes the frame itself can grow so exuberant, so … Continue reading Frames rule
Whether or not the ancient Khmer had a word for it, they certainly knew how to express the power of transitions and threshholds in stone. Sure wish "liminality" had some of that oomph.
A worthwhile collection of Tibetan art in Newark -- that in itself to most will seem like the ultimate oxymoron. As one friend wrote to me, "I thought Newark was a cultural wasteland." Wrong. At least not within the wall of the Newark Museum where a very dynamic curator has reinstalled the Tibetan galleries, striking … Continue reading TIBETAN WORKS IN NEWARK
A steel cross-beam survives the devastation of 9/11, becoming a symbol of hope for many.. and yet another reason to fight over the role of religion in the public square. It is a piece of steel that happens to echo a shape that has, over the last 2000 years, become the principal symbol of Christianity: … Continue reading A 9/11 BUDDHA
Museums just love sand mandalas -- and every time I see Tibetan monks streaming brightly colored sand into intricate patterns surrounded by people like me snapping photographs I wonder: what are they doing here? Part of me feels strongly that, if a public museum is going to host a Tibetan Buddhist ritual, then it should … Continue reading SACRED RITUALS — SECULAR SPACE