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About the Rubell Collection and Rubell Museum:

The Rubells created their collection by looking at art, talking with artists, and trusting their instincts. They started collecting 54 years ago when Don was in medical school and Mera was teaching at Head Start, and continue to follow the same practice today, now with their son Jason. They acquired their first work after a studio visit and were only able to do so by paying on a modest weekly installment plan.

 

Art became the Rubells’ passion and, since that first acquisition in 1965 they’ve built one of the most significant and far-ranging collections of contemporary art in the world, now encompassing 7,200 works by more than 1,000 artists—and still growing. The collection is further distinguished by the diversity and geographic distribution of artists represented within it, and the depth of its holdings of seminal artists. In 1993, their passion became their mission with the opening of the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Art Foundation in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, which pioneered a new model for sharing private collections with the public and spurred the development of the neighborhood as one of the leading art and design districts in the U.S.

 

On Dec 4, 2019, Rubell Museum is expanding its commitment to serving as a public resource with the opening of a new 100,000 square-foot campus of which 80% will be publicly accessible. Housed in a former industrial building transformed by Selldorf Architects, the new museum features 53,000-square-feet of galleries, with 65% dedicated to long-term installations and 35% to special exhibitions, all drawn from the collection. The new museum is located in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami, less than a mile from its current home and a short walk from the Santa Clara Metrorail stop.

 

Since the beginning, the Rubells have focused on finding artists early in their careers and those who have been overlooked. They were among the first to acquire work by renowned contemporary artists, supporting them at a critical moment in their careers, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cecily Brown, Keith Haring, Rashid Johnson, Hayv Kahraman, Jeff Koons, William Kentridge, Yoshitomo Nara, Cindy Sherman, and Mickalene Thomas, among others. They collect by visiting studios, art spaces, fairs, galleries, biennials, and museums, and by talking with artists, curators, and gallerists. If the work grabs them, they dig deeper—conducting intensive research and having extensive conversations before they welcome it into their collection. The result is a wonderfully expansive and deep collection that reveals both resonances and dissonances.

 

The collection provides an unprecedented roaming range which has enabled the Rubells to create 48 exhibitions drawn entirely from the paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, and installations it holds. These have included such groundbreaking exhibitions as 30 Americans, Keith Haring: Against All Odds, and NO MAN’S LAND, which have toured to museums internationally and been accompanied by major publications. The Rubells’ nimble approach to collecting and agility in organizing exhibitions has provided many emerging and under-recognized artists with their first major museum presentations and introduced them to international audiences. This has included such artists as Nina Chanel Abney, Lucy Dodd, Thomas Houseago, Zhu Jinshi, and Oscar Murillo. The first exhibition in the new museum will feature a wide-ranging selection of work from the collection, filling all 36 of its galleries.

 

In anticipation of the opening of its new building, the Rubell Family Collection has formally been renamed the Rubell Museum to emphasize its public mission and welcome audiences to see its contemporary art. Since opening the Rubell Family Collection in Wynwood 26 years ago, the Rubells have added many public programs, including a partnership with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which engages thousands of students every year. The museum also hosts curatorial training internships and artist residencies. In addition to Mera, Don, and Jason Rubell, the museum leadership includes Juan Roselione-Valadez, who is the director of the museum and has been part of the team for 21 years.

 

The Rubell Museum represents a new kind of institution serving as an advocate for a diverse mix of contemporary artists and resource for both the public and art world to engage in a dialogue with them. Since the Rubells moved to Miami 29 years ago, many museums and public collections have opened and the city has developed a vital arts ecology. They see their new museum as providing a context for art and exhibitions that are available to the public in South Florida and beyond. The new facility will also enable the Rubell Museum to show a unique sweep of contemporary art that cannot be found anywhere else, ranging from seminal works by artists the Rubells first met over 50 years ago and works by artists they just met last week.

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