Beg, Borrow and Steal from the Rubell Family Collection, Miami
Beg, Borrow and Steal from the Rubell Family Collection, Miami presents paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos and installations by world renowned artists from the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, Florida. In 2005, Don and Mera Rubell, legendary collectors and founders of the Rubell Family Collection, had a series of conversations with artists about the nature of appropriation and mentorship in their work as a way to honor past generations of artists. This exhibition was borne out of those conversations, and its title comes from a quote attributed to Picasso: "Good artists borrow, great artists steal." While the question of artistic influence may not be new, what artists choose to borrow, appropriate or steal, and from whom, is distinct in that it becomes a reflection of their own time and culture. Beg, Borrow and Steal presents a selection from artists whose work incorporates qualities of the artistic legacies of their predecessors who lived before them. Although the original exhibition comprises over 45,000 square feet, the Taubman Museum of Art had the unique opportunity to exclusively tailor the presentation for Roanoke, Virginia. The exhibition will present over fifty seminal works culled from the larger iteration. The Taubman Museum has the honor to present these well-respected and premiere American artists for the first time in our community.
Beg, Borrow and Steal explores artists who use appropriation - of style, images, strategies, history, techniques, and forms - in a way that is both honoring past generations of artists while also referencing contemporary culture such as the internet and mass consumerism. The curatorial premise elaborates on artists' efforts to build on the legacies of their predecessors as they present their own new ideas. Art about art and "stolen" imagery has fueled many an artist's production, and this exhibition contains numerous landmark examples by internationally renowned contemporary artists.
The exhibition brings together artists from different generations whose work abandons the search for new visuals and instead seeks an inventive use of existing images, signs, and cultural symbols. Artists in the exhibition who establish this artistic tradition include Ai Weiwei, Marcel Duchamp, Robert Gober, Jenny Holzer, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy, Takashi Murakami, Charles Ray, Andy Warhol, and Keith Haring. Photography plays a significant role in much of the work, which is represented in the exhibition by artists John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo, Richard Prince, David Salle, and Cindy Sherman; all of whom are using manipulated photographic images to create dense collages or appropriating stereotypical portraits in humorous ways. Other exhibited artists such as Kehinde Wiley and Jean-Michel Basquiat are looking at sources as vastly diverse as graffiti and 17th century European Masters’ painting to provide a message on Art History's lack of representation and diversity in race and gender. Some of the represented artists use technical innovations and the web to create multi-layered and densely informed art such as Barbara Kruger whose work Untitled (Money Makes Money) features the iconic phrase screen printed over the photographic image of a lush rose.
As equally important to the notion of artist appropriation in Beg, Borrow, and Steal is the story of collecting art. Don (Donald) and Mera Rubell began purchasing art in the mid- 1960s when Mera was a Head Start teacher and Don was in medical school. They were among the earliest collectors of such renowned artists as Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince. Now the Rubell Family Collection is housed in a 45,000-square-foot museum in Miami. It is one of the world's largest, privately owned contemporary art collections. Their Contemporary Arts Foundation is also generous to museums across the country allowing institutions to borrow the work of important modern and contemporary artists. In addition to the Taubman Museum of Art, the Foundation has loaned significant works to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Palm Springs Art Museum in California, and the North Carolina Museum of Art among others. Beg, Borrow and Steal presents a visual dialogue between internationally recognized older and younger artists whose works contribute to the discussion of how borrowing can be a way to comment on the past while still creating something fresh and new. Loaded with clever juxtapositions and images that look strangely familiar yet foreign, the exhibited artists’ work riffs on works created by other artists.
This presentation of Beg, Borrow and Steal from the Rubell Family Collection, Miami on view at the Taubman Museum of Art has been co-curated by Amy G. Moorefield, Deputy Director of Exhibitions at the Taubman Museum, and Juan Valadez, Director of the Rubell Family Collection. It will be on display in the Medical Facilities of America Gallery/Temporary Exhibitions Gallery from October 11, 2014 - January 10, 2015.
Exhibition images: Keith Haring, (left) Elvis Presley, (right) Marilyn Monroe, 1981, Ink on commercially printed offset lithographic poster, Courtesy of the Rubell Family Collection