How medical student, teacher amassed works by world’s best-known artists and became top-notch collectors
About Mera Rubell
Mera Rubell and her husband, Donald Rubell, are the founders of The Rubell Family Collection, one of the world’s largest privately-owned contemporary art collections. They began collecting in the 1960s in New York City.
In Miami since 1993, the collection of works by such well-known artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol is exhibited within a 45,000-square-foot repurposed Drug Enforcement Agency confiscated goods facility and is publicly accessible. In addition to displaying internationally established artists, the collection actively acquires, exhibits and champions emerging artists working at the forefront of contemporary art.
The Contemporary Arts Foundation was created in 1994 to expand the collection’s public mission inside the paradigm of a contemporary art museum. Each year the foundation presents thematic exhibitions drawn from the collection with accompanying catalogs. These exhibitions often travel to museums around the world. Recent exhibitions have been presented at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Palm Springs Art Museum in California and the North Carolina Museum of Art. The foundation has been recognized as a pioneer in what is often referred to as the “Miami model,” whereby private collectors create a new, independent form of public institution.
The foundation also maintains an internship program, an on-going lecture series and an extensive artwork loan program to facilitate exhibitions at museums around the world. Its on-going partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools enables thousands of schoolchildren to visit and engage with the foundation every year. In addition, the foundation has a public research library containing more than 40,000 volumes and a comprehensive contemporary art bookstore.