African Diaspora and local artists at the official presentation of the Rubell Museum.

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Miami Art Week started off with numerous, very exclusive yet very crowded, inaugural events. Among these could not be missed the inauguration of the new exhibitions of the Rubell Museum.

Narcissus Garden di Yakoi Kusama, vista dall’ingresso della galleria

The Rubell family, made up of Mera, Don, their son Jason and daughter-artist Jennifer, consider it a real mission to make people aware of the history of contemporary art through the works of their collection. (To learn more about their history, you can also read Miami Niche’s article: ) Founded in 1964 in New York City by Mera and Don, the Rubell collection is one of the largest private contemporary art collections in the world, which took the name of Contemporary Arts Foundation in 1994. In 2018 the Rubell Museum Contemporary Arts Foundation, initially located in Wynwood, opened its doors in Allapattah in a new exhibition venue designed by Selldorf Architects of New York.

Sleep by Kehinde Wiley, 2008. Oil on canvas, 335×762 cm. Acquired in 2008

The initial impact is of great effect, thanks to the monumental Narcissus Garden installation by Yayoi Kusama. Composed of 700 stainless steel spheres, the work is distributed along the central hall of the museum and creates a constantly evolving river of reflections that visually stimulates visitors who, as they cross it, are attracted to the central hall, where is the gigantic oil on canvas by Kehinde Wiley, Sleep, and the triptych made in 2021 by Ghanese Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, artist in residence of the Rubell Museum.

Untitled by Keith Haring (in collaboration with LA II), 1982. Acrylic and ink on fiberboard, 11 3/4 x 23 3/8 x 3/4”

The beating heart that generates this perspective, the perspective fulcrum that starts from the gallery, is a gigantic heart created by Keith Haring, the artist that the Rubells have projected into the artistic universe. In the same section, among the works on display, there are those by Jean Michael Basquiat and Keith Haring’s friend.

Bird on Monkey by Jean Michel Basquiat, 1981. Oil on canvas 167×228 cm. Acquired in 1981

Many of the spaces and installations remained closed to the public during the pandemic year, including the two Infinity Rooms by Yakoy Kusama: the only ones in the southeastern United States respectively called Infinity Mirrored Room- “Let’s Survive Forever” of 2017 and 2016’s “Where the Lights in My Heart Go”.

Let’s survive forever by Yayoi Kusama, 2017

This year’s exhibition focused attention on African and African American artists, who in recent years have been establishing themselves on the international scene. Some of them were the protagonists of 30 Americans, the traveling exhibition that traveled around the United States. A provocative exhibition that focuses on issues of racial, sexual and historical identity in contemporary culture by exploring the powerful influence of the African American community’s artistic legacy across generations. All the works of art on display come from the Rubell permanent collection. A complete catalog of the exhibition with essays by Robert Hobbs, Glenn Ligon, Franklin Sirmans and Michele Wallace is available at the museum’s online bookstore.

(left to right) Moses Adornah, David Theodore, RainYanni (Cowgirl) by Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe , 2021. Oil on canvas 365.8×274.3 cm. Acquired in 2021

In the spotlight, starting this week, there are the works of the Artist-in-Residence Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe and Reginald O’Neal, respectively Ganese artist and local artist, representative of figurative realism. Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe creates portraits of his family and friends of him. In his works, color and texture come together in a single language to represent the character of the subject. The technique used to make the skin texture refers to the art of facial tattoos, while the background incorporates the texture of the wooden and mud huts typical of Ghanaian culture. During his stay at the Rubell Museum, Quaicoe explored the phenomenon of twin births through double portraiture, exhibited in this exhibition. Seen as an auspicious event, the birth of twins emphasizes the innate link between the bodily and spiritual realms in Ghanaian culture. The huge triptych created during the residency presents a new typology of the American cowboy.

My father, Lil Pat, and our Ancestors by Reginald O’Neal, 2021. Oil on canvas 304.8×426.7cm., acquired in 2021

Reginald O’Neal, on the other hand, is a painter whose works reflect his life experience in a Miami neighborhood with an African American majority. “My desire is to embrace what is not appreciated, disfigured and misrepresented, as well as illustrate true beauty within my community. It is for people who look from the outside, but mainly a mirror for the residents of the community, to see ourselves for who we are, “says the artist. The exhibition, “AS I AM” is composed of a series of paintings from the artist’s first solo exhibition, “AT THE FEET OF MOUNTAINS”, and two new large paintings using historical images and people present in his life.

Vessel of Psalm by Genesis Tramaine, 2020. Acrylic, oil sticks, spray paint, oil pastels, and the Holy Spirit 243.8×243.8 cm., acquired in 2020.

In addition to them, some great pieces including Genesis Tramaine which in the work Sanctuary includes a series of eight paintings that the artist created during his six weeks of residence at the museum, in 2020. Strongly influenced by his spiritual education and his study of the Bible, of which in this series depicts figures and episodes.

Amoako Boafo’s self-portrait, 2019
(detail of) Self with Yellow pullover by Amoako Boafo, 2019. Oil and paper on canvas 88.9×101.6 cm. Acquired in 2019.

Amoako Boafo was Artist-in-Residence in 2019. Influenced by Egon Schiele’s expressionism during his art studies in Vienna, his work consists of portraits and self-portraits that he creates with mixed media, using his fingers to apply the color in painting the skin and the brush and the collage technique to draw the rest of the body. Through his work, Amoako Boafo wants to represent and honor the subjects of color in portraiture: “subjects that would otherwise be invisible”, says the artist.

The Swedish artist Cajsa von Zeipel, focuses on desire, seduction and the grotesque to challenge the traditional representations of gender. Her works are silicone sculptures of dramatically adorned and twisted figures.

Best supporting actress by Cajsa von Zeipel, 2020. Mixing media sculpture 203.2×190.5×91.44 cm.  Acquired in 2020.

In addition to the works that are part of the collection on permanent display, the works of:

Hernan Bas, one of the most famous local artists in South Florida. Bas’s work incorporates romantic and classic imagery, finding inspiration in fashion, gothic culture and mystery books for children, including The Hardy Boys. The paintings date back to Bas’s early career, the drawings and paintings presented in this exhibition can be read as an allegory of the stages of human life from infancy to youthful adolescence.

The Burden (I shall Leave No Memoirs) by Hernan Bas, 2006

Yoshitomo Nara, who creates sculptures and drawings that wink at children’s manga and drawings, which he creates while listening to punk music at very high volume.

Nathalie Ball, an artist who through her work tells the layering of the story of her ancestors, Native Americans.

Too Young To Die by Yoshimoto Nara, 2001. Acrylic on cotton mounted on fiber reinforced plastics, diameter: 70 3/4 in. (180 cm). Acquired in 2002

Tra gli artisti esposti al Rubell Museum ci sono anche: Nina Chanel Abney / John Ahearn / Christian Boltanski / Michaël Borremans / Cecily Brown / Miriam Cahn / Maurizio Cattelan / Jonathan Lyndon Chase / Robert Colescott / George Condo / Cui Jie / Karon Davis / Noah Davis / Lucy Dodd / Marlene Dumas / Urs Fischer / Cy Gavin / Isa Genzken / Gilbert & George / Robert Gober / Felix Gonzalez-Torres / Wade Guyton / Peter Halley / Mark Handforth Xiangyu / Jenny Holzer / Thomas Houseago / Tishan Hsu / Rashid Johnson / William E. Jones / Deborah Kass / Anselm Kiefer / Jeff Koons / Barbara Kruger / Louise Lawler / Sherrie Levine / Glenn Ligon / Liu Wei / Robert Longo / Sarah Lucas / Kerry James Marshall / Takashi Murakami / Wangechi Mutu / Oscar Murillo / Cady Noland / Celia Paul / Rudolf Polanszky / Richard Prince / Qiu Zhijie / Neo Rauch / Charles Ray / Rozeal / Sterling Ruby / David Salle / Thomas Schütte / Tschabalala Self / Cindy Sherman / Xaviera Simmons / Vaughn Spann / Mike + Doug Starn / Haim Steinbach / Philip Taaffe / Aya Takano / Henry Taylor / Mickalene Thomas / Ryan Trecartin / Rosemarie Trockel / Luc Tuymans / Mary Weatherford / Paloma Varga Weisz / Kehinde Wiley / David Wojnarowicz / Jordan Wolfson
/ Christopher Wool / Purvis Young / Lisa Yuskavage / Zhu Jinshi / Allison Zuckerman 

(on the title: Flamboyant Posture by Artist-in-Residence Otis Kwame Key Quaicoe, 2021. Oil on canvas, 72×72”. Acquired in 2021)

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