The Rubell Family Collection
Originally established in New York City, the Rubell Family Collection (RFC) is a remarkable assemblage of contemporary art. Founded in 1964, the collection is still growing and is one of the world’s largest and privately owned collections of contemporary art. The collection was relocated to Miami in 1993, and is now displayed within a 45,000-square-foot facility that once operated as a confiscated goods space for the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The Rubell family is recognized for their work in pioneering the “Miami model,” in which collectors establish their own private museums to exhibit their collections. The RFC has the distinction of being the first private art exhibition space of the Miami model. The Rubell family utilizes their space to debut new and controversial artists, many of whom have never shown in the United States. Juan Roselione-Valadez, the collection director, emphasizes the Rubell’s attempts to introduce new artists. He says, “The notion of discovery is very critical to the Rubells.” The collection includes works by notable artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol. The collection does include works by globally established artists, but the Rubell Family is extremely proactive in exhibiting emerging artists.
The former DEA facility has been the home for the contemporary art collections for more than two decades now. The facility is connected to their home by a two-story library stocked with artist monographs and catalogs. The family extensively travels the world, collecting pieces over the course of an artist’s career. According to W Magazine, the Rubell family collects several hundred art pieces a year, an activity funded by the family’s chain of hotels. Daughter Jennifer Rubell, is an artist, and has since removed herself from the buying decisions. Purchasing power rests on Don And Mera Rubell, along with their son, Jason. No purchase is finalized unless the trio is in agreement. As the family assesses an artist’s work, they also do a personal analysis of the artist himself, to ensure he or she will fit in well with the entirety of the Rubell collection.
Today, the Rubell Family Collection is open to the public from Wednesday through Saturday, every week. The Rubell Family Collection and partner programs, including an educational program and library, are managed by a nonprofit organization called the Contemporary Arts Foundation, established by the family in 1994. Most of pieces belong to the family and are often loaned to museums around the world for exhibitions. You can view the Rubell Family Collection at your leisure, in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami.