The Power of Intention

The Power of Intention: Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel - Rubin Museum of Art, New York, US, 2019

The Power of Intention: Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel
Curated by Elena Pakhoutova
Rubin Museum of Art, New York, US
1 March ~ 14 October 2019

The Power of Intention: Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel – Rubin Museum of Art, New York, US, 2019

Exhibited works:
Spiral Incense Mantra – A Supplication, 2019, Installation
A Supplication, 2019, Drawing
Incense Mantra, 2019, Video

We may not think of intentions as sources of power, but our intentions define the quality of any action. We can use our intentions to empower us to create positive change for ourselves and others. Inspired by Tibetan prayer wheels, The Power of Intention: Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel brings together select examples of traditional and contemporary art to illuminate the relationship between our intentions, commitments, and actions. Prayer wheels are ritual objects containing thousands, even millions of written prayers and mantras.

The clockwise rotation of the wheels—set in motion by the power of a hand or the elements—is believed to release the positive energy of the prayers into the world.

Taking the Tibetan prayer wheel as a metaphor for the power to create positive change, the exhibition highlights key ideas related to prayer wheels and their processes of creation, activation, and meaning. International artists Monika Bravo, Alexandra Dementieva, Youdhisthir Maharjan, Charwei Tsai, and Scenocosme’s Grégory Lasserre & Anaïs met den Ancxt take the Tibetan prayer wheel on a conceptual spin, and their works manifest in visible and tangible forms the power of intention, commitment, repetition, accumulation, and belief.

As part of her work in The Power of Intention: Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel, Charwei Tsai wrote the mantras of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) on spiral incense custom-made in Taiwan. In accordance with the artist’s wishes for respectful dispersal of the incense, pieces of the incense will be provided to Museum visitors who signed up to receive them following the closure of the exhibition.

Now that the exhibition has closed, those who signed up to receive a piece of the incense will soon be notified with further details about pickup.


Empower your own intentions by turning The Wheel of Intentions, an interactive installation in the Museum lobby created by Potion and Ben Rubin, based on a concept by the Rubin Museum. Activate your intentions and reinforce the intentions of others with each turn of the wheel as they are released into the world and see how they travel up the spiral staircase and take visual form within the Power of Intention exhibition.

The Power of Intention: Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel is supported by Lois and Bob Baylis, Barbara Bowman, the Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation, the Ministry of Culture (Taiwan) and Taipei Cultural Center in New York, and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.