Donald Rubin on Buying Art

Question: What are your favorite Asian countries to visit for art?

Rubin:    I’ve been to all the countries at least once.  I don’t buy a lot in Asia.  There was only one funny exception, which I’d like to tell a story about.  I was in Bhutan three or four years ago and I was being driven around in Paro by the former head of the museum in Paro and who’s a high Lama, [Manuk Tuko], and my wife wanted to stop at a store because she was looking for fabrics and textiles to buy for our shop at the museum.   And this man had three or four Bhutanese paintings and I looked at them and I said, “This one here is 19th century, isn’t it illegal to bring this painting out of Bhutan?”  He said, “Yes, but nobody’s going to open your luggage, don’t worry about it.”  And I don’t want to get in a fight with him, what would be the use of it, right?  And we bought the painting, and on the last day we were there, I’d made an offering of the painting to this very high lama and former director of the museum to present it to the museum as thank you for everything that you have done and he accepted it.  So, everybody in Bhutan that comes to visit and we just had a huge 3 ½-month Bhutan show in New York, everybody in Bhutan, you know, the Prince and the Queen and elderly people who know about that story because I think it’s the first time that a westerner bought something, didn’t take it out and donated it.  So, we were very proud of it.

Question: Is there contemporary art emerging from Tibet?

Rubin:    There is a very rich group of artists, not rich in the sense of money, but rich in the sense of good art that are painting.  And the museum, I think, will have a show in a couple of years, but that art is owned by my wife and myself.  But I was last this past weekend I was in Atlanta at a small school I went to 52 years ago called Oglethorpe, which has done show after show on Himalayan art, even before Tibetan art, even before I knew that existed and we’ve done a lot of shows there, and they have 43 contemporary Tibetan paintings.  And we were there for the weekend, I just came back yesterday afternoon, and it’s a spectacular show.  It’s a spectacular show.

Donald Rubin on the secrets of uncovering the best pieces.

Straight millennials are becoming less accepting of LGBTQ people

The surprising results come from a new GLAAD survey.

Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • The survey found that 18- to 34-year-old non-LGBTQ Americans reported feeling less comfortable around LGBTQ people in a variety of hypothetical situations.
  • The attitudes of older non-LGBTQ Americans have remained basically constant over the past few years.
  • Overall, about 80 percent of Americans support equal rights for LGBTQ people.
Keep reading Show less

Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
Keep reading Show less

New research sheds light on a possible cause of autism: processed foods

The more we learn about the microbiome, the more the pieces are fitting together.

Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study from the University of Central Florida makes the case for the emerging connection of autism and the human microbiome.
  • High levels of Propionic Acid (PPA), used in processed foods to extend shelf life, reduces neuronal development in fetal brains.
  • While more research is needed, this is another step in fully understanding the consequences of poor nutrition.
Keep reading Show less