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Buddhadharma : Summer 2014
SUMMER 2 0 1 4 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 65 around and around a table in a small room that resembles a cell. He leaves red footprints on the floor. Exhaustion finally topples him. Weingeist is senior advisor to the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection, the source of most of the nonvideo work in Anonymous. The Rubins are the founders of the Rubin Museum of Art, a nonprofit cultural institution that has become a nerve center of Manhattan intellectual and spiritual savvy through its programs and exhibitions (which are mainly but not exclusively focused on traditional Himalayan Buddhist art). After getting the museum up and running a decade ago, the Rubins began privately collect- ing contemporary art from Tibet and from artists of the Tibetan diaspora. The painters, installa- tion artists, and sculptors in the private collection prefer to use their names, and most can claim established Western art identities. Who’s Buddhist, who’s not, and who’s no longer sure? Every artist in Anonymous answers the question differently. It’s painful to endure the video of a young Tibetan man in a Chinese- restaurant kitchen slicing scripture pages into “noodles” and stir-frying them in a wok with vegetables, then eating his combo for lunch. Is this the only nutrition he gets from his country’s ancient practices? Or is he consuming cynicism du jour? Tulku Jamyang, a world-traveling reincar- nate lama, has devised an art-making method that enlists both his monastic training and his intention to use emptiness (shunyata) as a tool for transformation. He stretches white rice paper over bristol board painted in red scripture text. With the intense focus of a skilled meditator, he pierces the rice paper with the burning tips of lighted incense. The “empty” holes in the paper do the work of drawing. With this method he constructs the head of Buddha and a sequence of his own self-portraits, bringing form semi- miraculously out of white void. He also has his own triptych of three self-portraits inked with the language of prayer. A video, Matchsticks, is a haunting reminder of the feeling qualities of the Buddhist path. In Self, date unspecified Anonymous Video