Miami Countdown 2. Visit the Rubell Family Collection Gallery


2. Visit the lovely Rubell Family Collection art gallery.

For our last afternoon in Miami, we braved the freeways to get back downtown and visit the Rubell Family Collection in Wynwood. This was recommended by Cindy, a friend whose taste in art, music, and solo travelling is unparalleled, so we had to check out this collection. The day had turned blindingly hot and almost muggy (not that we were complaining), so it was nice to spend a couple of hours in the massive concrete rooms  that house the Rubells’ eclectic collection.


All of the photos in this post were taken at the Rubell Family Collection gallery, and while I won’t give details on the artists here, you can read all about them. Most of these pieces, unless otherwise noted, are part of the “To Have and to Hold” exhibition, which is showing from December 3 until May 30, 2015. It celebrates the Rubells’ long history of appreciating art, with works spanning from the 1970s to the present. A pretty formidable collection!

Untitled (Chandelier), 2004. Jason Rhoades (separate exhibition).


The Rubells’ personal story is pretty interesting, and you can read more about it on their site. Established in 1964 by Donald and Mera Rubell in New York City, the private collection of contemporary art is expansive and wonderful and extremely varied:

The collection is constantly expanding and features such well-known artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol. In addition to displaying internationally established artists, the RFC actively acquires, exhibits and champions emerging artists working at the forefront of contemporary art. (RFC, About.)

Detail of 16ft Long Lace, 2014. Mark Flood (solo exhibition).


It’s a great thing to support people who make this kind of collection publicly available. And the art itself was awesome. As always in a gallery, there are going to be pieces you don’t really get. And contemporary art tends to be like that for a lot of people – naturally, the more risks you take in art, the greater the chances of alienating some (or most, or all) of your potential viewers. But that’s the beauty of it, really – that freedom to take chances and have them derided or questioned or celebrated.

Gate: The Hemorrhoidal Precipice, 2014. Aaron Curry (solo exhibition).


But there are also those pieces that speak to you in that language beyond words, that make you stop in the middle of a vast expanse of white walls and concrete floors and gasp and clutch your empty hands together uselessly, that make your heart leap in your chest like when you see the one you love in a room full of strangers.

GUERNIKA, 2014. Lucy Dodd (solo exhibition).


This piece above, by Lucy Dodd, may have been my favourite in the whole place. The materials she used to create it are not found on your ordinary paint palette:

Spanish hematite, Miami rain water and lavender oil, cochineal, kombucha SCOBY, Rota squid ink, earth from Monasterio de Suso, Aracena, Rio Tinto, la Aldea-Bejes and Guernika, chamomile and pomegranate from Segura de Leon, lichen from Sierra de Gata, yerba maté, Rio Tinto water, mica, spirulina, mixed pigments and Tyrian purple on canvas (RFC).

So cool! (Involuntary cameo by parents to show the incredible size of the piece.)

Detail of Gate: The Crap Trees of Uranus, 2014. Aaron Curry (solo exhibition).

Detail of Gate: The Crap Trees of Uranus, 2014. Aaron Curry (solo exhibition).

The pieces in this post are a few that made me react in that way, all for different and valid reasons. That’s why I love exhibitions that feature several, or many, artists with varying styles and mediums – there’s something for everyone, unless you just really hate art. (In that case, get outta that gallery and go get a hot dog or something!)

Rainy Night in the Rubber City, 1980. David Salle.


Machine, 1993. Thomas Schütte.

Machine. Thomas Schütte, 1993

Bird on Money, 1981. Jean-Michel Basquiat.


A one-person, many-person orgy, courtesy of Charles Ray. Oh! Charley, Charley, Charley…, 1992.


Liberation No. 1, 2013. Liu Wei (separate exhibition).


January 23, 2010. Kathryn Andrews.


Men Trapped in Ice, 1979. Robert Longo.


Two pieces in Will Boone’s solo exhibition. UNTITLED, 2014 (left) and Us, 2014.

UNTITLED, 2014 (left) and Us, 2014. Will Boone (in a solo exhibition).

Dave contemplates the blackness. F (Musik ist Scheisse), 2014. David Ostrowski (solo exhibition).


Visit the Rubell Family Collection’s gallery in Miami if you ever get the chance. It’s wonderful.

Last in the Miami Countdown series: 1. Appreciate the ones you love, and see them whenever you can. 


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