Miami art collectors Mera and Don Rubell opened a new art museum in the nation’s Captiol to showcase a unique sweep of contemporary art with social commentary on issues surrounding race, women’s rights, colonialism and identity.
With more than 190 works by 50 artists, the Rubell’s aim is to have their new museum serve as an advocate for both the public and art world to engage in dialogue about pressing socio-political issues.
“To see a museum here that has so many black artists, black women artists, feels like an indicator that us as a city is moving in the right direction,” said Candice Chamber, a museum attendee.
The new facility is located just less than a mile from the National Mall, housed in the historic former Cardozo Elementary and The Randall Junior High School.
“What’s Going On,” the museum’s first exhibit, was named for the 1971 album and song by Marvin Gaye, a former student of Randall High. Various pieces of art by Keith Haring allude to the song and album, which critique the Vietnam War and social injustices.
Various themes continue throughout the museum, from the history of slavery and genocide of indigenous populations to women’s rights.
“My friend that I’m here with, we’re both people of color… and for us it’s really really amazing to be able to see things beyond sort of the typical fine arts that D.C. in known for,” said Nicolette Mena, a museum attendee. “So, it’s really nice to be able to see some other representations, some historical revisionism, bringing light to colonial past, history of slavery.”
The Rubell Museum will remain open year-round with only 15$ per ticket, but free to all D.C. residents.