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Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Rubell Family Collection and The Wynwood Yard in Miami

The Wynwood Yard, Miami, FL

Wynwood is an area in Miami, FL that has seen a marked development since the beginning of the 21st Century as a center for the visual and culinary arts. With the fairly recent residential development in the area, Wynwood is well on it's way to become a major venue in the Southeastern United States for art, fashion and food.

Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL

One of the groundbreakers of the art and fashion scene in Wynwood is the Rubell Family Collection (RFC). Started in an abandoned Drug Enforcement Agency evidence collection facility in 1993, this 40,000 square foot space is one of the largest privately owned modern art collections that is publicly accessible. In 2018, RFC will be moving to a 2.5 acre campus with a lecture hall, tropical sculpture garden, a restaurant and 100,000 square feet of exhibition space.

The Rubells are an interesting family and are pioneers of the Miami art scene. Don and Mera Rubell, a physician and teacher, respectively, have been collectors of art since the mid-1960's in New York City. In the 1980's the Rubells began acquiring many artworks of a then unknown artist, Keith Harring. Partially through their relationship with Harring, the couple has branched out to become one of the more influential art collectors in the world.

Don's brother Steve was a co-founder of the infamous late 1970's disco, Studio 54. After Steve Rubell and his business partner Ian Schrager were jailed for tax evasion, they poured their energy and resources into hotels. After Steve's death in 1989, Schrager continued to develop very high profile hotels both in Miami and worldwide, some of them in partnership with the Rubell family which has also aided their acquisition of art. 

The Rubells have also been instrumental in the development of Art Basel in Miami. Art Basel is an international art fair held and started in Geneva, Switzerland in 1970 expanding to Miami, Florida in 2002 and Hong Kong in 2013.

The day we were there, my dining companion and I were treated to some very engaging art to work up an appetite for sampling the area's culinary offerings later that day.

Paulo Nimer Pjota, New Shamans exhibit, Rubell Family Collection

Assume Vivid Astro Focus, New Shamans exhibit, Rubell Family Collection

Paul Holmqvist and Paul Kneale, High Anxiety exhibit,  Rubell Family Collection

John Willams, High Anxiety exhibit, Rubell Family Collection

There were two separate exhibitions that day, New Shamans, a compilation of contemporary Brazilian artists, and High Anxiety, a collection of social and political concerns expressed through art. There were also some interesting exhibits in their permanent collection including Cady Noland's This Piece has no Title. This was an art installation of hundreds of Budweiser beer cans in an industrial setting which was a commentary on cultural excess.

There were many more interesting pieces shown throughout both exhibitions but after a time traversing the collections, my dining companion and I were up for a snack.

Marquee, The Wynwood Yard, Miami, FL

We ventured across the street to The Wynwood Yard (WY).  WY is about a half-square block outdoor area that has been open since the Fall of 2015. WY hosts a number of food startups, and promotes cultural, musical and ancillary fitness events.

Bar area, The Wynwood Yard

Dining area, The Wynwood Yard

There are a number of places for patrons to enjoy the fruits of WY. These include a bar with a number of interesting beverages and a dining area surrounded by planters full of flowers and fresh herbs donated by Whole Foods.

Food trucks are a part of the culinary scene at WY, and included a number of interesting purveyors. House of Mac featured 13 different mac 'n' cheese offerings, Kuenko, a collection of Spanish and Japanese fusion rice bowls, Brazilian Fire, serving grilled kebabs and other Brazilian fare and Mr. Bing, an imported Taiwanese hybrid of ice cream and shaved ice with a variety of toppings. We sampled a menu item from Yoko Matcha, a cafe incorporating Matcha, a finely ground green tea into a variety of foods and beverages. We tried the matcha chia pudding. This dessert incorporated chia seeds, matcha, coconut milk, agave and was topped with fresh fruit. Although it looked intriguing, I was not a big fan of this dessert nor of matcha.    

Charcoal Garden Bar and Grill, served a number of grilled fare and had a good wine selection. They did not open until later which unfortunately didn't fit into our schedule. Perhaps next time.

Chicken tacos, The Lone Wolf Truck, The Wynwood Yard

Enfrijoladas, The Lone Wolf Truck, The Wynwood Yard

My dining companion and I, not wanting to spoil out appetite for later, finished with just a couple of items from The Lone Wolf Truck. They specialize in Mexican and Asian-Mexican fusion cuisine. We sampled the chicken tacos which were very good. Even better were the enfrijoladas, which were served with a base of corn tortillas, black bean sauce, sour cream, shredded cheese, chicken and pico de gallo. A bargain at $4 and $10.00, respectively.

After a snack and a bit of a rest, we were ready to check out Wynwood Art Walk later that evening, but more on that later.

The Rubell Family Collection is a very engaging art gallery with many unique and eclectic items of art. It is a crown jewel of the Miami art scene. The Wynwood Yard is a nice place to visit, eat, relax and regroup when visiting the area. Both of these spots are most highly recommended.

It's a wrap for another post on Forks.

The Wynwood Yard

Rubell Family Collection
95 NW 29 St.
Miami, FL 33127
Rubell Family Collection Website 

Open Wednesday-Saturday 10 AM-530 PM
Admission $10.00, Students and seniors $5.00

The Wynwood Yard
56-82 NW 29 St.
Miami, FL 33127
General Hours and Vendor Hours; The Wynwood Yard

Frank Benson, High Anxiety exhibit, Rubell Family Collection

Natja Novistkova and Calvin Marcus, High Anxiety exhibit, Rubell Family Collection

Josh Kline, High Anxiety exhibit, Rubell Family Collection
Secundio Hernandez, High Anxiety exhibit, Rubell Family Collection

Cady Noland, Permanent Collection, Rubell Family Collection

Charcoal Garden Bar and Grill, The Wynwood Yard

House of Mac, The Wynwood Yard

Kuenko, The Wynwood Yard
Mr. Bing, The Wynwood Yard

Yoko Matcha, The Wynwood Yard
The Lone Wolfe, The Wynwood Yard
Matcha chia pudding, Yoko Matcha, The Wynwood Yard

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