Rubin Museum of Art

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  • Photograph by Marlene Rounds

  • Alchy mask

  • Durga

  • Ghantapa Padmavajra, and Kukkuripa as Three of Eight Great Adepts (detail)

  • Mandala of Chart, Yantra Diagram

  • The Red Yogini Mandala

  • Shiva Pavrati

  • Wooden Bhairava

  • Photograph by Marlene Rounds

  • Photograph by Marlene Rounds

  • Photograph by Marlene Rounds

  • K2 Lounge; Photograph by Diane-Bondareff

  • K2 Lounge; Photograph by Michael Toolan

  • K2 Lounge; Photograph by Michael Toolan

Photograph by Marlene Rounds

1 The Rubin is devoted exclusively to art from the Himalayan region, but before it opened in October 2004, the building was home to a Barneys. "Our caf has replaced the handbags and accessories department," says assistant curator Becky Bloom.

2 Even ascetic Nepalese kick it like dude-bros now and again. On the third floor, look for fierce masks of Shiva Bhairava in gilt copper and wood. During the Indra Jatra harvest fest, home-brewed beer is poured from a spout in Shiva's mouth.

3 An episode of Sex and the City was also shot here—remember when Carrie descended a spiral staircase to her fancy book soiree? You'll climb those same steps en route to the theater.

4 Every Friday at 6pm, the caf morphs into the K2 Lounge. Happy hour is on hold pending their liquor-license renewal, but you still get to tour the galleries—free!—from 6-10pm and take in a live music performance at 7pm and a film at 9:30pm.

5 When the goddess Durga was threatened by the demon Mahisha, who tried to claim her as his lady friend, she uttered, "You can have me when you beat me," then proceeded to chop off his head and stab him in the heart. "She saved the universe," says Bloom. "Men worship her." Check out two statues of her on the third and fourth floors.

6 Gift-shop manager Sherab Norpa travels abroad once a year to stock the store with Tibetan singing bowls (starting at $48.99), cotton tote bags printed with Indian spice advertisements ($15) and other groovy goods.

7 Himalayan art serves a dual purpose: It's ritualistic as well as aesthetic. Tikka powder still lingers in the cracks of bronzes, and areas have been worn through on many paintings and textiles, marking spots where they were rubbed for blessings in domestic shrines and temples. "It's a constant reminder that everything here was created to be used," says Bloom.

8 The caf's addictive Himalayan vegetable momos ($9.50) are adapted from a recipe that's been in RMA guide Tashi Choden's Tibetan family for three generations.—Sharon Steel

GO THERE NOW!
Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17th St at Seventh Ave (212-620-5000, rmanyc.org). $2--$10, children under 12 free.

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