The Rubin is transforming. Read important updates from our Executive Director.

Grain of Emptiness

Buddhism-Inspired Contemporary Art

November 5, 2010–April 11, 2011

Grain of Emptiness features five contemporary artists — Sanford Biggers, Theaster Gates, Atta Kim, Wolfgang Laib, and Charmion von Wiegand — all inspired by the Buddhist notions of emptiness and impermanence and Buddhist ritual practice. These artists are from disparate backgrounds and explore a range of artistic mediums, but all have inherited the practice of incorporating Eastern religious beliefs into their works. The exhibition’s paintings, photographs, videos, and installations will be complemented by performance art.
Curated by Martin Brauen

Exhibition Support

Grain of Emptiness: Buddhism-Inspired Contemporary Art is supported, in part, by the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation. Additional funding was provided by Dedalus Foundation, Inc., E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and the Clinton Hill / Allen Tran Foundation.

Exhibition Programming

Filling the Milkstone
Visitors are welcome to watch at 11:30 a.m. each day as trained museum staff fill Wolfgang Laib’s Milkstone, a process the New York Times has called “austere yet sensuous.” Laib’s Milkstones are slightly hollowed white marble slabs that, when filled with milk, appear to have solid, pure white surfaces.

Talk About Nothing
Laurie Anderson, Mike Nichols, Oliver Sacks, Fiona Shaw, Ken Burns, Sandra Bernhard, Bill Viola, Ponlop Rinpoche, Peter Sellars, Michael Cunningham, Nico Muhly, and Robert Wilson were some of the 42 personalities that came to the museum to talk about…nothing.

Related Performance Art
Artists Sanford Biggers and Theaster Gates, whose work appears in Grain of Emptiness, gave evocative and experminetal performances in January 2011.

Special Resources