With Mera and Don Rubell in Brazil


Art collectors Mera and Don Rubell (center) with Simon Watson (at left) in the studio of artist Nuno Ramos (at right), in front of a painting by Ramos that is now on view at São Paulo's Estação Pinacoteca

IT WAS A thrill last April to spend time in São Paulo with legendary art collectors Mera and Don Rubell, who were in town for the SP-Arte art fair. Together, Mera, Don, and I explored the fair and visited the studios of dozens of hot-and-happening artists--all the while finding time, of course, for lots of the spirited dinners the Rubells love, filled with conversation about art, culture, and life.

"We are interested in social communication, not formality," Mera told me earlier this summer, when I spoke with her and Don for a September Casa Vogue piece on their residence in Miami.

It's always a treat to spend time with the Rubells, whom I've known for over thirty years. Cultivated and enthusiastic, known for their laser-like focus and willingness to collect the work of artists they love in depth, the Rubells house their collection in a 45,000-square-foot museum in Miami. The Rubell Family Collection is one of the world's largest, privately owned contemporary art collections, constantly expanding and featuring such well-known artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, and Andy Warhol.

So I'm looking keenly forward to more of our spirited conversations next week, when the Rubells return to Brazil for Rio de Janeiro's ArtRio art fair (September 9-13). As special guests of the art fair, the Rubells will be offering a talk on their vision for art collecting, complete with insider tips and insights into their passion. And as usual, we'll be visiting studios, talking to artists, and putting together an exciting panoptic view of the Brazilian art scene right now.

For more about the ArtRio art fair, go here.

For more about the Rubell Family Collection, go here.

The Nuno Ramos exhibition at São Paulo's Estação Pinacoteca runs through November 15.