Rubell Museum to feature art by Keith Haring, opening this weekend

A new contemporary art museum is opening in D.C. this weekend, celebrating artists such as Keith Haring, Sylvia Snowden and more.

The Rubell Museum will bring pieces of the Rubell family's extensive art collection to the nation's capital.

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The museum will inhabit the former Randall Junior High School, a historically Black public school in Southwest DC. The exhibition "What’s Going On" will open to the public on Saturday and inaugurate the opening of the museum.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 14: Miami-based art collectors Mera and Don Rubell stand for a portrait at Rubell Museum, a museum they founded in Washington, DC on July 14, 2022. The museum is being renovated from historic former Cardozo Elementary and then R

The exhibit draws its title from the 1971 album by Randall Junior High School alumnus Marvin Gaye that provided a condemnation of the Vietnam War. It also references the cornerstone of the exhibition: Keith Haring’s Untitled (Against All Odds), 1989, a series of 20 works inspired by Gaye’s lyrics.  

This series of depicts a dystopia that demonstrates Haring’s lifelong concern with environmental destruction, oppression and illness. It was dedicated by Haring to Don Rubell’s brother Steve Rubell, who passed away from AIDS in 1989 at age 45.

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"What’s Going On" also brings together more than 190 works by 50 artists such as Natalie Ball, Sylvia Snowden, Kennedy Yanko and many more.

Mera and Don Rubell married in 1964 and started visiting artists’ studios and collecting art in New York, when Mera was a Head Start teacher and Don was in medical school.

Their son, Jason Rubell, joined them in 1982 in building the collection, creating the exhibitions and developing the museums.

The museum is free to D.C. residents and is open Wednesday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.