Miami's Finest Private Art Collections

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By: Patricia Azze

Explore the Private Art Collection of Miami’s Most Influential Art Collectors

Miami’s art scene is definitively on the international radar. Between Art Basel, the surrounding Miami Art events in December, and our world-class museums, the city hosts art aficionados year-round. Those in the know, are aware that Miami’s private art collections, usually the collections with a family as benefactors, are amongst the finest in the world.

Lucky for you, these private art collections are largely open to be experienced by the public. Some of these private art collections have been here long before Art Basel became what it is today. Many credit these collections and the families behind them with positioning Miami as an art destination before the world took notice with the launch of Art Basel in 2002. Martin Margulies launched his collection more than 35 years ago. The Rubell family started collecting in the 1960s. Today, you can visit these collections, other major private institutions of note, and a crop of new ones as well when visiting Miami.

Hanging Teeth at Margulies Collection
Hanging Teeth at Margulies Collection

The Margulies Collection

The Margulies Collection at The Warehouse is a non-profit institution that resides in a 50,000-square-foot converted warehouse in the Wynwood Art District. Famed Miami art collector Martin Z. Margulies has gathered photography, videos, installations and sculptures from the 20th and 21st century. The Margulies Collection features works from its permanent collection, including a full room installation by Ernesto Neto, and pieces by notably contemporary names including Jon Chamberlain, Willem de Kooning, Olafur Eliasson and many more.

This collection is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with an admission fee of $10.

The Rubell Museum
The Rubell Museum

The Rubell Museum

The Rubell Museum espouses art education with one of the world’s largest, private contemporary art collections. The cornerstone of an international enterprise, the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation champions established and emerging artists alike. The collection contains more than 7,200 works from more than 1,000 artists that have been championed by the Rubell family as newly emerging and often overlooked. The collection is accessible to the public in its new home in the Allapattah neighborhood in Miami, less than a mile from its original Wynwood home.

The museum is open every Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with a general admission fee of $15 for adults and $10 for students.

Craig Robins Collection

Nestled in a corporate office in the Design District, the Craig Robins Collection at Dacra showcases the exuberant spirit of contemporary art and design. Real estate mogul Craig Robins perpetually seeks to integrate art and community by providing public access to his collection of over 200 artists’ works. The pieces revolve several times annually, drawing mainly from German, Mexican, Chinese and American artists. But some works by Richard Tuttle and John Baldessari reside permanently amidst this disarming and often humorous medley.

The Craig Robins Collection is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., by appointment.

The de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space by James Harris
The de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space by James Harris

The de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space

Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz beckon enthusiasts to The de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, a free private art collection housed in a stunning, sunny building designed by John Marquette. The Cuban-born couple, married since 1962, even exercises the same benevolence at home, where many view their private collection by appointment.

A journey through the Design District space commences with the amorphous, fluorescent forms of Aaron Curry and progresses to the second story where Kathryn Andrews’ giant birthday candles leave you feeling dwarfed as if in a dream. On the top level, Jim Hodges’ delicate floral installations lie feet away from the largest ping-pong table you’ll ever see, making this one surreal playpen.

The de la Cruz Collection at the Contemporary Art Space is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Garden Statues at ICA Miami
Garden Statues at ICA Miami

The Braman Family's ICA Miami

Norman and Irma Braman took a different approach to their local involvement in the visual arts. Instead of opening their private collection, they opened an entire museum in Miami’s trendy Design District.

The Bramans donated the land, construction and cost associated with design for the private Institute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA MIAMI). Admission to the museum is free - and always will be. The mission of the ICA Miami is to provide a platform for local, emerging and under-recognized artists that can be enjoyed by everyone. ICA is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The Scholls Family

The Scholls, Dennis and Debra, met at the University of Miami. A local love story, the couple has left their mark on the local art scene in a myriad of ways. Debra Scholl restored more than 20 Art Deco buildings in Miami Beach throughout her real estate career, a feat of historic preservation, and more recently the couple gifted a mega-donation of more than 300 pieces of art to the Perez Art Museum Miami’s permanent collection. Every year during Art Basel, the Scholl’s open the doors to their home to a new curator to select pieces from their collection to reimagine how they are displayed in their home and invite a group of aficionados in to see the apartment’s new display.

Dennis Scholl is currently the President and CEO of Oolite Arts, formerly ArtCenter/South Florida, an organization dedicated to creating a thriving arts ecosystem in Miami through an artist residency program and studio space for contemporary and visual artists. A new space in Little Haiti is on the horizon for Oolite Arts’ future, but for now you can find them at 924 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.

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