SEAspotlight Talk: Special Segment | The Rubells: On Collecting

In this highly anticipated talk, gain invaluable insights from the collecting journey and practice of renowned collectors Don and Mera Rubell. The Rubell Family Collection, first established in 1964 and now formally renamed as The Rubell Museum, is one of the most internationally acclaimed private collections of contemporary art. It features 7,200 works by over 1,000 artists, and represents a new kind of institution serving as an advocate for a diverse mix of contemporary artists and a resource for both the public and art world to engage in dialogue with them.

About the Speakers:

Mera and Don Rubell are pioneers who discover and champion young artists, undiscovered neighborhoods and new ideas.

Mera and Don first began engaging with artists, galleries, and museums in 1964 while living in New York. They moved to Miami in 1992 and, with their son Jason and daughter Jennifer, began developing hotels and an art foundation and museum to house and publicly exhibit their expanding art collection. Combining their instinct for emerging neighborhoods with aesthetic acuity and hands-on business know-how, they formed Rubell Hotels and have subsequently transformed and enlivened neighborhoods on the East Coast. They helped spearhead the transformation of South Beach in the 1990’s and their first art museum opened in 1993, did the same for Miami’s new cultural epicenter, the Wynwood neighborhood. In December of 2019 they opened a new, greatly expanded Rubell Museum designed by Annabelle Selldorf. The Rubells were also instrumental in bringing the Art Basel art fair to Miami Beach.

The Rubells’ early interactions with and support of artists has grown into a life defining passion and they are all intimately involved with all aspects of their highly influential, 100,000 sq ft contemporary art museum. This includes creating exhibitions, working directly with artists, engaging with the public, and collaborating with museums worldwide.

Their art collection, one of the world’s largest with other 7,400 artworks, is constantly growing and features such well-known artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker and Purvis Young. In addition to displaying internationally established artists, the Rubells actively support and introduce emerging artists working at the forefront of contemporary art.

Each year the Rubell Museum presents thematic exhibitions drawn from the collection with accompanying catalogs. These exhibitions often travel to museums around the world. Recent exhibitions have been presented at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

The museum also maintains an internship program, an ongoing lecture series and an extensive artwork loan program to facilitate exhibitions at museums around the world. The Rubells’ ongoing partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools enables thousands of schoolchildren to visit and engage with the foundation every year. In addition, the foundation has a public research library containing over 40,000 volumes.

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