Rubell Collection's "American Exuberance" Explores U.S. Society Through 64 Artists

Part blockbuster, part narrative of the wide-open range of contemporary art over the past few decades, "American Exuberance," opening at the Rubell Family Collection November 30th, seeks to deliver a sprawling summation on the state of our society today. Two years in the making, the expansive group offering features 190 works by 64 artists, with 40 artworks created this year, many specifically for the show.

Culled from the Rubell's vast holdings, the exhibit will fill all 28 of the 45,000 square-foot museum's galleries with "American exuberance and its antithesis" as the conceptual thread binding it together, explains Juan Valadez, the institution's director.

Visitors to the Rubell's upcoming exhibit can expect to see "Gold, a dive bar, basketballs, pin-up girls, neon, Elvis Presley, Malcolm X, Marilyn Monroe, Joan Rivers, Budweiser beer, and traces of: Walt Disney, Marcel Duchamp, Claude Monet, Patrick Nagel and Mark Rothko," Valadez adds.

He also says that putting the show together was truly a family affair. "Curating the show was a collaborative effort between Don, Mera and Jason Rubell and me," Valadez explains.

The director says that all of the 64 exhibiting artists are U.S. citizens or residents and keen observers of American culture, economy and politics regardless where they hail from.

The exhibit is complimented by a catalogue with writings by 13 participating artists including Kathryn Andrews, Frank Benson, Hannah Greely, Thomas Houseago, Richard Jackson, Rashid Johnson, Nate Lowman, John Miller, Richard Prince, Sterling Ruby, Haim Steinbach, Ryan Trecartin, and Kaari Upson.

Valadez says that their texts helped inform an understanding of the subject, citing this excerpt from John Miller's essay:  "American exuberance is part myth and part reality... Paradoxically, exuberance is linked to stagnation, entropy and ruin. Its efflorescence becomes mirage-like. For the artists, these conditions are materials."

Valadez also says that "artists like Richard Jackson, Rashid Johnson and Sterling Ruby all made new works for our exhibit."

On Wednesday November 30 from 9:00 a.m. to noon and continuing every morning through Sunday December 4 during Art Basel, Jennifer Rubell will be presenting her 11th annual breakfast installation, "Incubation."

And don't fret, you PETA types, there won't be any live fowl involved nor can you expect to discover boiled eggs, bacon and latex gloves at the swank affair. Instead, her project is an exploration of the creative act, riffing on the creation of food, life and art and boasts an incubation gallery where yogurt is made and an observation gallery where the yogurt is anointed with honey and consumed. YUM!

"American Exuberance" through July 27, 2012. Rubell Family Collection 95 NW 29th Street, Miami. Free to the public during Art Basel. Hours during Art Basel Wednesday through Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and regular hours are 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Call 305-573-6090 or visit

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Carlos Suarez De Jesus