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Happiness by Misha Lyuve

Sep 24, 2013

“All people wish to be happy; only a few understand that real happiness cannot be obtained with restlessness that is created by constant searching”

I-Ching, The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth, Hua-Ching Ni
Hex 27, Providing Nourishment

Rooted and Unbendable Ai Weiwei by Misha Lyuve

Aug 19, 2012


Every society has constraints that offer opportunity for vision, freedom and courage. “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” by Alison Klayman is a documentary about a man who appreciates the possibilities and challenges of this opportunity in China. Ai Weiwei is an artist who turned his vision and success into an effective and audacious tool for challenging the Chinese government to promote freedom and individual rights.

In one of my interactions with the government, I was stopped by police in the U.S. for speeding and I was so scared that my back went numb. Ai Weiwei has been arrested, followed and harassed by the Chinese government for years. I am fascinated by people who by virtue of their values and beliefs overcome their fears and give up conveniences of their lives to forward causes they are committed to. Being a master communicator, Ai Weiwei is doing it with a particular grace that created a following for him in China and abroad – and it is that following that makes it so much harder for Chinese government to shut him up.

Here are a few things to know about Ai Weiwei (check out Who inspires: Ai Weiwei and Ai Weiwei: The Evolution of a Dissident)

- Ai Weiwei was one of the designers of the Bird’s Nest, the Beijing Olympics stadium. He later publicly denounced the project and his participation in it because the government turned the Olympics games into a massive propaganda for the ruling party.

- During the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province poorly built schools collapsed killing a large number of students. As Chinese government refused to acknowledge issues with the school construction or release the number of children who died during the earthquake, Ai Weiwei and his volunteers identified 5,335 names and pictures of those kids who died. His supporters recorded their names and Ai Weiwei dedicated an exhibition in Munich “So sorry” to this event while Chinese government shut down his blog and threatened him and his family.

- In 2010 Ai Weiwei had 100,000,000 handmade porcelain sunflower seeds created for his exhibition in Tate Modern contrasting the mass-production reality of China, centuries of Chinese porcelain art tradition and a sunflower as an accepted symbol of Chinese propaganda art.

In “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” will tell you a story of one man’s life and leave you with the questions about yours.

The Man Behind Rubin Museum of Art by Misha Lyuve

Oct 4, 2011

Dedicated to the 7th birthday of Rubin Museum of Art    

Rubin Museum of Art, New York

Rubin Museum of Art, New York

 

This story is about a man who took Barney’s NY, a swanky department store in central Manhattan (on W17th st and 7th Ave), and converted it into an art sanctuary, the Rubin Museum.
 
Donald Rubin was no lover of art and no rich man when he and his wife Shelley saw a painting of White Tara (female Buddha) in an art gallery on Madison Avenue. In fact, at that time Donald could hardly point to Himalayas on a map and knew almost nothing about Buddhism. But as I learned in my interview with Donald, in order to appreciate art, the less you know the better – as it is not a function of intellect, but of heart, like falling in love. That first purchase became the beginning of a life-long love affair and a very passionate one, I would say.       

White Tara

White Tara, Donald and Shelley Rubin, private collection

 

Three decades later, now a successful entrepreneur, Donald and his wife Shelley accumulated a substantial collection of Himalayan art. Probably most of us can somehow relate to the idea of starting a business – but a museum? In Donald’s words, it’s no different: it requires the same vision, taking a chance, confidence, money and – I would add – a burning desire to share, in other words, generosity. After all not many buildings got as lucky as the old Barney’s store; most of them followed a predictable fate of being converted to condominiums.       

As I was sitting in front of Donald, I saw a gentle humble storyteller. And as we discussed his endeavors – whether it is his passion for Cuban art or sponsoring  the creation of a guide on how to build an earthquake resistant house or his effort on improving the living conditions of Indian road-builders in Bhutan – I was moved and grateful that people like this exist.       

Two things I learned from Donald Rubin:       

About art: Art is the soul of mankind. A soul doesn’t require a resume. There is nothing to know about art, but only to feel and experience it.       

About life: Don’t be afraid of falling. Fell down? – wash your hands and feet, punch your cheeks and keep going.      

Donald and Shelley Rubin in Tibet, 2002

Donald and Shelley Rubin in Tibet, 2002

Roerich: between Russia and Tibet to a hidden treasure in New York city by Misha Lyuve

Feb 3, 2011

Roerich Museum, New York city

Some place on the 107th st in New York city there is a small cottage that feels more like a cozy living space than a traditional museum. It is dedicated to the work of Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947), a famous Russian painter, philosopher, writer, traveler, and public figure, who left behind over 7000 painting and 30 literary works among other contributions.   

Madonna Oriflamma with Banner of Peace. 1932

While extensively traveling in Russia, Roerich observed how ancient monuments, churches and other historic objects were much neglected and saw a need to have cultural treasures protected in an organized way. It took him many years and continents, but in 1935 this idea was realized in Roerich pact, a treaty among pan-American countries that used a flag (Banner of Peace) to mark the protected historic monuments, especially during the war times. The treaty is still in force.  

Roerich and his family have done very extensive expeditions through India, Bhutan, Tibet, China and Mongolia. And I am looking back 100 years ago, when there were no planes, paved roads, fleece or gortex – but nothing could stop these people to follow their calling to visit far lands to explore them, to learn from them and share them with others. I guess I should stop complaining about the inconveninces of modern travel.  

The works of Roerich are dreamy and rich from saints to glorious mountain views to churches to nature and full of meaning and story and spirit – see for yourself: http://www.roerich.org/wwp.html