FIRST Paris. Now Miami. What's next? Berlin? Kansas City?
The next city to declare its fascination with Los Angeles' contemporary art remains to be seen. But three months after Paris' Pompidou Center closed "Los Angeles 1955-1985: Birth of an Artistic Capital" -- a major survey of L.A. art history seen through the eyes of a French curator -- Miami's Rubell Family Collection is gearing up for a sequel.
The exhibition, "Red Eye: Los Angeles Artists From the Rubell Family Collection" will fill the entire 45,000-square-foot space of the family's museum with works made in Los Angeles over the last 20 years by about 30 artists. Opening Dec. 4, the show is timed to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach, a high-profile contemporary art fair expected to attract tens of thousands of collectors, curators and critics to the city Dec. 7-10.
Don Rubell, an obstetrician who inherited a fortune from his brother, Studio 54 co-creator Steve Rubell, began collecting art with his wife, Mera, in the 1960s. Their children, Jennifer and Jason, have assumed much of the responsibility for the collection and the museum, which opened in 1996.
Los Angeles art grabbed the family's attention in 1992, when they saw "Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s," a landmark exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art organized by chief curator Paul Schimmel. Several artists in MOCA's show -- including Paul McCarthy, Charles Ray and Mike Kelley -- are now major figures in the Rubells' collection of more than 3,000 contemporary artworks. Large installations of their work will be featured in "Red Eye," along with videos by Doug Aitken and Catherine Sullivan, photographs by Catherine Opie, paintings by Laura Owens and installations by John Baldessari and the late Jason Rhoads.
As for the "Red Eye" exhibition title, it was inspired by late-night L.A.-to-Miami flights taken by the Rubells over the last 18 months as they planned the show, added to their holdings and made a concentrated effort to get to know L.A.'s sprawling art community.