Monks at the Rubin opening of The Dragon\'s GiftLast month “The Dragon’s Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan” opened at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York. It’s the first time the museum is presenting an exhibition organized by another institution—in this case the Honolulu Academy of Arts—and Assistant Curator John Johnston reports that is a huge hit. Last week Johnston met with Rubin curators and educators and found out that the show is “setting records for visitor numbers and the crowds are increasing week by week.” The museum’s Sunday gallery tours normally attract around 20 visitors. During “The Dragon’s Gift” the tours have been attracting between 70 and 90 people. “The exhibition is considered one of the hottest museum tickets in New York,” reports Johnston. 

The September opening saw people lined up around the block, and attracted some star power, with people such as actress Ellen Burstyn (“Requiem for a Dream,” below right) and Knopf head Sonny Mehta and his author wife Gita Mehta in attendance (they’re pictured after the break). Prime Minister Lyonchen Jigmi Y. Thinley of Bhutan spoke of the exhibition’s significance for Bhutan and the West.

Academy Director Stephen Little and Heloisa Oliveira greet the Prime Minister.Sonny and Gita MehtaSonny and Gita Mehta with a monkEllen Burstyn and Rubin producer Tim McHenryAcademy Director of Development Karen Sumner and President of the Board of Trustees Lynne JohnsonGulab WatumullTsewang NidupLynne Johnson and exhibition assistant curator John JohnstonThe Prime Minister speakingThe Academy teammonksDonald Rubin