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Front Page » Profile » Mera Rubell: Museum builds on family’s contemporary art collection

Mera Rubell: Museum builds on family’s contemporary art collection

Written by on February 2, 2021
Mera Rubell: Museum builds on family’s contemporary art collection

Mera Rubell’s days continue to be busy. She swims every morning, plays tennis a few times weekly and, when she isn’t running the family real estate business with her husband, Don, and her son, Jason, her focus is on curating and adding to the family’s famed contemporary art collection, much of which is on display at the Rubell Museum.

The 100,000-square-foot, 40-gallery museum in Allapattah, which opened in 2019, is the successor space to the 40,000-square-foot Rubell Family Collection that since 1993 attracted art lovers from across the world who sought firsthand views of work by Any Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Cindy Sherman, Yoshimoto Nara, Kara Walker and myriad others, the preponderance of whom were largely unknown when the Rubells supported them.

The couple bought their first art piece in 1964 using her modest teacher’s salary while Mr. Rubell was still in medical school. From there, they gradually built one of the world’s greatest private contemporary art collections. By her count, they have more than 7,000 pieces today and continue to add to their collection, the sole source of art on display in the museum.

“We probably collect about 100 pieces a year – some years more, some less,” she said. “Obviously, in 2020 it was less.”

The Rubells, who were pivotal in attracting Art Basel to Miami Beach and whose support helped put the area on the map as a top worldwide destination for art, take joy in their grander accomplishments. But the smaller, more intimate impacts are similarly fulfilling, she said.

“When people come to the museum and kids are inspired – artists – it’s a tremendous sense of satisfaction, sharing, having this ability to communicate and enjoy it with the public,” she said. “It’s a kind of giving back.”

Ms. Rubell spoke by phone with reporter Jesse Scheckner.

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2 Responses to Mera Rubell: Museum builds on family’s contemporary art collection

  1. Maggie Gregory

    February 9, 2021 at 1:21 am

    The Rubells are known for their worship and dedication to Art. But it should be noted they are as Whimsical and Iconic as the Art itself. A great worldly funny and extremely entertaining couple. I had the pleasure of meeting some years back at Art Basel and sharing some brief time with. The Art is an extension of who they are and together they are synonymous with Culture in the Arts in Miami and in New York.

  2. karelia martinez carbonell

    February 19, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    I love Mera’s personal philosophy, “find the invisible”. She finds it not only in art, but in architecture; and more specifically, historic architecture. “We buy historic buildings” is a love note to us preservationists. Art and Architecture are two of the same creative strain yet architecture tends to suffer under the neglect and abandonment of time. It is why society loses so many of its historic “treasures” as Mera so passionately refers to her old buildings. The Rubells do have a keen eye for discovering the invisible.