The Rubell Family Collection and Contemporary Arts Foundation, located in Miami, Florida, is one of the world’s largest, privately owned contemporary art collections. With its expanding collection and changing thematic exhibitions, the Foundation is able to offer an ongoing lecture series and extensive artwork loan program. To aid in these endeavors, the Foundation’s internship program, primarily done in the summer, allows for top students to get high-level experience. Many of the participants have backgrounds in the fine arts, art history and design, but the internship is open to those from all backgrounds, and the Foundation has hosted a number of UF students.
Rubell's Collection’s registrar and former UF intern, Laura Randall (MA Art History ’12), discusses the many benefits of the summer internship program. “One great component of our summer program is that interns have the opportunity to meet a number of our neighbors in the community,” she says. “They visit other museums and speak with curators and museum educators, visit studios, galleries, and other organizations that work with the community.
Interning at the Rubell Family Collection offers insight to how private collections operate in the public domain, how loans are organized from the outgoing end, and how exhibitions are organized, traveled and, most importantly, how such a vast number of artworks are maintained.”
One recent intern, Su Ye, a third-year MFA creative photography student, gained a tremendous amount of valuable experience in a short amount of time. She and other interns carefully observed the Collection’s staff and how they talked to different groups of people. Every Friday, the interns had an art-related assignment, such as researching one particular contemporary artist or an important art exhibition, and then presented their findings and thoughts to the collection director, internship director and other staff the following week.
“We learned so much about art, art business and art critics outside the academia,” Ye says. “It was a very fruitful experience to me, not mention these research findings, but also I learned the ways of presenting and communicating to a group of contemporary art professionals, in my case, curators and museum workers.”
Ye utilized her background in Chinese literature for the exhibition 28 Chinese, which featured the work of 28 contemporary Chinese artists. Ye recorded an audio guide in Mandarin for visitors that will accompany the exhibition material when the show travels to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.
After her initial weeks of reading and learning more about the exhibition, Ye presented the artworks in a way that was both personal and historically informed, providing audiences with insight into the artists’ responses to social history and by also relating it to her own experiences growing up in mainland China.
“Because I'm a young artist from China and I speak Chinese, I know some background information or cultural references in person,” Ye says. “People would approach to me and ask me something more about the show, and the art in China.
I think that was really impressive and encouraging to me and my studio practice, since I saw and felt the passion for art beyond the boundaries of language, culture and politics.”