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Becoming Another

The Power of Masks

March 13, 2015–February 9, 2016

Becoming Another illuminates the common threads and distinct differences in mask traditions from Northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Mongolia, Siberia, Japan, and the North-West Coast tribes of North America. Featuring masks used in shamanistic practices, communal rituals, and theatrical performances, this exhibition speaks to the human impulse to transform one’s identity.

Curated by Jan Van Alphen

Support of this exhibition is provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. Additional support has been provided through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and through the 2015 Exhibitions Fund.

Support for the accompanying publication has been provided by Bruce Miller and Jane Casey.


“Roughly half of the objects in this agreeably multicultural exhibition are religious articles; the rest are theatrical props…The curator, Jan Van Alphen, takes a welcome step past the Rubin’s usual Asian bailiwick with splendid masks from Canada’s northwest coast, each of which allowed its wearer to embody ancestral spirits.”
– The New Yorker

“Especially for anyone with an Asia trip on the horizon, the exhibit Becoming Another: The Power of Masks is a great introduction to elegant and mysterious cultural objects that don’t often get unveiled in the states.”
– Forbes Life

“What’s behind the mask? Well, at this exhibit featuring traditional masks from regions like Siberia, Japan, northern India and North America’s Pacific Northwest, the mask itself matters. Each specimen differs greatly from the next, depending on what culture it hails from.”
– TimeOut New York

“A spellbinding exhibition featuring 100 masks made over the course of 500 years, stemming from Mongolia to Japan to Siberia to the Northwest Coast of America, to name a few locales… Despite the differences—and there are many—the exhibition as a whole displays a resounding human urge to dress up, to escape and to transform, if only for a brief period.”
– The Huffington Post

Exhibition Resources

    Special Resources

      Gallery Activity Designed for Ages 4+
      February 2015
      Available in the Shop

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