The Rubells created their collection by looking at art, talking with artists, and trusting their instincts. They started collecting 54 years ago when Don was in medical school and Mera was teaching at Head Start, and continue to follow the same practice today, now with their son Jason. They acquired their first work after a studio visit and were only able to do so by paying on a modest weekly installment plan.
On Dec 4, 2019, Rubell Museum is expanding its commitment to serving as a public resource with the opening of a new 100,000 square-foot campus of which 80% will be publicly accessible. Housed in a former industrial building transformed by Selldorf Architects, the new museum features 53,000-square-feet of galleries, with 65% dedicated to long-term installations and 35% to special exhibitions, all drawn from the collection. The new museum is located in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami, less than a mile from its current home and a short walk from the Santa Clara Metrorail stop.
The collection provides an unprecedented roaming range which has enabled the Rubells to create 48 exhibitions drawn entirely from the paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, and installations it holds. These have included such groundbreaking exhibitions as 30 Americans, Keith Haring: Against All Odds, and NO MAN’S LAND, which have toured to museums internationally and been accompanied by major publications. The Rubells’ nimble approach to collecting and agility in organizing exhibitions has provided many emerging and under-recognized artists with their first major museum presentations and introduced them to international audiences. This has included such artists as Nina Chanel Abney, Lucy Dodd, Thomas Houseago, Zhu Jinshi, and Oscar Murillo. The first exhibition in the new museum will feature a wide-ranging selection of work from the collection, filling all 36 of its galleries.