The Rubell Museum – A Contemporary Art Lover's Paradise

View art by Kehinde Wiley

The Blue Room installation at The Rubell Museum

Experience The Blue Room

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room - Let's Survive Forever, 2017

Step inside Kusama's Infinity Room

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By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

Think of this as an art journey – one that few have experienced before. Longtime Miami residents Don and Mera Rubell continue to up the art ante in Miami, sharing the prized contemporary art collection they’ve collected over the last 50 years at the sparkling new Rubell Museum. Formerly known as the Rubell Family Collection, the museum occupies a sprawling new space in the Allapattah neighborhood, close to its original home of 25 years in the art haven of Wynwood. The museum made its grand debut during Art Basel 2019, which seems fitting since the couple played a key role in attracting the famous art fair to Miami.

Rubell Museum
Visit The Rubell Museum in its new location

What does this mean for you? More space and much more art! For the Rubells, who’ve amassed more than 7,200 pieces by more than 1,000 artists, expanding to a new location was all about giving more to the community. “This new museum allows us to share much more of the artwork we've collected over the last five decades and present up to four exhibitions simultaneously,” says Don Rubell.

As you walk across the refinished concrete floors you’ll see huge windows allowing natural light to flood the space, which consists of six former industrial buildings that are now connected and reimagined. Guests can peruse 40 galleries filled with 300 works by 100 artists. Yes, we said 40 galleries! The experience in each gallery is different, with a nice balance of intimate and expansive galleries fitted with works of art from key artists, moments and movements.

Keith Haring
View work from the early days of Keith Haring's career

The couple started collecting early in Manhattan’s East Village, scooping up pioneering works from the likes of Keith Haring, Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince and Jeff Koons. You’ll see works from the early stages of their careers, such as “New Hoover Convertible,” a vacuum cleaner in Plexiglas by Koons; “Film Still #21,” one of the most recognized black-and-white photographs from Sherman; and Prince’s famous “Cowboy” series.

The works of those artists live in harmony with works by younger, buzzed-about artists like Allison Zuckerman, Jonathan Lyndon Chase and several Miami locals. “We acquire and exhibit paintings, sculptures, photographs and videos by Miami-based artists,” says Mera Rubell. “The first artwork you encounter at our museum is a sculpture by Mark Handforth.”

Infinity Room
Immerse yourself in Yayoi Kusama's Let's Survive Forever Infinity Room

For those obsessed with upping their social media game, expect two immersive works by Yayoi Kusama, including an infinity-mirrored room perfect for snapping Instagram-worthy pictures. Five galleries are dedicated to New York appropriation artists of the early 1980s, including works by Peter Halley, Jenny Holzer, Louise Lawler, David Salle and Christopher Wool. You’ll also find new paintings by Ghanaian painter Amoako Boafo, who is the Rubells’ current annual artist-in-residence and the first artist working at the new museum.

Don’t get too attached to any one piece, though. The family plans to rotate artworks from the collection throughout the year so there's always something new on view.

There are plenty of spaces meant for lingering, from a lush garden courtyard filled with hundreds of native plants to the new restaurant, LEKU, which will transport diners to Spain’s enchanting Côte Basque region. For the Rubells, the museum is a family affair. “We're most proud of the fact that we have shared this journey with each other, our children, our grandchildren and the thousands of visitors we welcome annually,” says Mera Rubell.

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