ASC Fall 2019 Service Project: Marielisa Villasmil

A total of 15 hours of volunteer service were completed at UNTITLED, ART and Rubell Museum.

UNTITLED, Art.

Picture taken by me (Marielisa Villasmil)

One institution I volunteered at for my service project was UNTITLED, Art where I did 9 hours on December 3rd, 2019. I helped out at the Press desk for their 2019 Miami Art Week VIP event along with David Simantov, Senior Account Coordinator at UNTITLED. My main task was being in-charge of signing in guests considered Press throughout the event, which included photographers, magazine writers, editors, publishers, and more. Using an online spreadsheet, I checked in the guests as they arrived or added them to the list if they had not registered beforehand. When doing so, I had to ask for valid ID or business cards that demonstrated they were Press. I also made and gave out hundreds of bags for the guests, which contained treats from the art fair like notepads, pens, catalogues, and even free drink passes for the bar. Along with the goodie bags, I also had to prepare and give out lanyards for the Press so they would be identified accordingly throughout the night.

Despite being founded only in 2012, UNTITLED is one of the biggest curated art fairs at Miami Art Week. UNTITLED is known for its international display of contemporary art as well as being a primary art market unlike most art fairs. This allows for the fair to display installations that are more connected to the artists and Miami as well, which attracts the attention of the public. UNTITLED is also unique in its location, being set right in the heart of Miami Beach. Literally, you have to walk through the sand of Miami Beach in order to get to UNTITLED. 

Volunteering at UNTITLED was such a unique and amazing experience because I was able to see how such a huge art fair operates behind the scenes. My exposure to art fairs and art in general before this class was very minimal. In fact, it was so minimal, that working at untitled was my first time being at an art fair at all. Working there, especially during the VIP event, gave me such a greater understanding of what an art fair as popular like UNTITLED really mean for people as well. It’s more than just a week where the public gets to enjoy and critique art; it’s a prestige experience for the art galleries and curators that were accepted and get a chance to sell their art. It is also a great business opportunity for the media and other curators that get the opportunity to exclusive coverage on the art to share with the public. At the event, there were around one hundred guests of the press from all around the globe. Most of the press that wasn’t from Miami had flown in that same day exclusively for Art Miami Week and the VIP event at UNTITLED. I had never been a part of something so great and meaningful to Miami and its connection with the art world like I did when volunteering at UNTITLED, Art. 

Rubell Museum

Picture taken by a visitor at Rubell Museum of me (Marielisa Villasmil) in front of John Miller’s “A Refusal to Accept Limits” exhibition.

Another institution I volunteered at was Rubell Museum (or Rubell Family Collection) where I did 6 hours on December 6th, 2019. I helped out at John Miller’s exhibition by monitoring the amount of people that could enter the exhibition, as well as making sure no one touched the sculptures. Although these were my only tasks, while volunteering I found myself learning about Miller’s installation, A Refusal to Accept Limits, and I answered any questions guests had about the artist and his work. Working there, I also had to familiarize myself with the layout of the museum in order to properly guide guests towards different exhibitions they wanted to go to. 

Rubell Museum opened its new location just a few weeks ago on December 4th, just in time for Miami Art Week. This museum differentiates in its large collection of key and relevant artists in today’s art world. According to their official webpage, Rubell searches for new art and art that has been overlooked (Rubell Museum). They also create exhibitions for their main artists creating a space for guests to fully appreciate those artists and have their art speak for itself. They also have works of very prestigious artists since very early in their career, including Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince. 

Working at Rubell was another amazing experience that gave me insight to the art world and its connection with our community. There were people that lived only a few blocks down that love to come every year to see the new art, and you had guests from countries I wasn’t even familiar with. I had never seen such an international event of such importance. I also was able to be at the other side of things and be the one to talk about the artists and their work to curious guests. Although a bit nerve-wracking at first, it was a great experience to see how many people cared to know about what the artist wanted to convey in his art and not just see it for its aesthetic. This small teaching moment make me more interested in art and how much it means to people. The exhibition was never empty, and some people even kept coming back for another look. 

UNTITLED showed me the behind the scenes of a huge art fair and how it operates in order to provide a memorable experience for the hundreds of people that come around the globe. Similarly, Rubell Museum showed me even more the connection that art holds for people. On the other hand, Rubell gave me a look of what is meant to operate a museum alongside the art while a more direct source for the visitors.

Documentation for Volunteer hours:

Citations

rubellmuseum.org/exhibitions/current-exhibitions

untitledartfairs.com/miami-beach

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