For my art service project this semester, I had the opportunity to work with the Rubell Family Collection at their brand new museum, the Rubell Museum. Their opening day was the first day of Miami Art Week and they offered free admission to celebrate art week and the grand opening of the museum. I reached out to one of the employees, Laura Randall, who was coordinating volunteers for opening week. I could tell they were eager for help and I figured it would be fun because I love contemporary art and it was a museum I hadn’t experienced before. Little did I know, this experience would open up doors for me that I never would have considered if I hadn’t picked the Rubell Museum as my service destination.
My first day volunteering, Laura let my classmate Ruth and I experience one of the Kusama installations they have at the museum before visitors arrived. Kusama is one of my favorite artists and I always find her work intriguing. I can’t believe I was so lucky that I got to experience two Kusamas’ this semester. My job for the day was to be security for the “gold room”. This room featured an installation of John Miller sculptures. The sculptures were made of fiberglass items that resembled trash, but were all painted in gold. My instructions were to make sure no one touched the art which I thought was self explanatory in the art world, but i was proved very wrong. About 20 minutes into my shift, a group of high schoolers who were visiting on a school trip knocked into one of the sculptures and broke it. I had a small panic, but realized there was no time for panic as more and more people were coming in as the day went on. We decided to be resourceful and create a line for the exhibit and only let 6-8 people inside at a time to avoid congestion around the artwork. Thankfully nothing else drastic occurred that day.
My second day volunteering was much longer and much calmer. I was doing security for a Maurizio Cattelan sculpture. Cattelan is the artist behind the infamous Art Basel Banana that went viral this past week. There was roping around the sculpture I was watching which essentially eliminated the need for me to do anything. I spent most of the day eavesdropping on the hundreds of people from all over the world that came into the museum that day. The art world is so vast and I learned that everyone, and I mean everyone, seems to have an opinion about every piece of work they see and they are not afraid to say it.
I came into this experience expecting it to be finite. I was going to spend 10 hours at this place, get my requirements for class completed, maybe see some cool art, and move on. After volunteering over the weekend, the Rubell Museum offered me a part time job doing security on the weekends. They are flexible and enthusiastic about getting people who are willing and dedicated to help out. Since they are a brand new institution, they are still working out the kinks within the space and everyday something new comes up that they may not have planned for in the beginning. They realized that some extra pieces and spaces need security and offered me the opportunity to make some money while helping them out. Without taking this class and without volunteering at the Rubell Museum, I would have never thought to look for a job in the art world, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with such a well revered organization.
Molly Schantz (2019)
Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation
* A total of 10 service hours were completed at the Rubell Museum and were logged on the FIU Honors website