What’s Going On | Museum + Exhibition Opening
Saturday, October 29
@ Rubell Museum DC
Inaugurating the opening of the Rubell Museum DC, the exhibition, What’s Going On will open to the public on October 29, 2022. Dedicated exclusively to contemporary art, the Rubell Museum DC reinvigorates the 1906 building of the former Randall Junior High School, a historically Black public school in Southwest DC that ceased operations in 1978. The museum, which is free for Washington DC residents, will serve as a place for the public to engage with the most compelling national and international artists of our time.
What’s Going On draws its title from the groundbreaking 1971 album by Randall Junior High School alumnus Marvin Gaye that provided a powerful condemnation of the Vietnam War and the destructive realities of social injustice, drug abuse, and environmental negligence. 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 revolutionary lyrics.
“The museum’s historic setting in a place of learning invites the public to explore what artists can teach us about the world we live in and the issues with which we are wrestling as individuals and as a society,” said Mera Rubell. “As a former teacher, I see artists and teachers playing parallel roles as educators and in fostering civic engagement. With the preservation of this building, we honor the legacy of the Randall School’s many teachers, students, and parents.”
Totaling 32,000 square feet, the museum preserves the original layout of the historic school. What were once classrooms and teachers’ offices have been transformed into galleries with artwork that provides perspectives, insights, and commentary on contemporary ideas and issues. The adaptive reuse of the building also retains the school’s 4,000-square-foot auditorium, a sweeping space for the presentation of ambitious, large-scale artworks and performances. The museum’s new glass pavilion entrance will feature a bakery, bookstore, and terrace that will serve as a beacon for the community.
What’s Going On brings together more than 190 works by 50 artists who are responding to pressing social and political issues that continue to affect society today, including Natalie Ball, Cecily Brown, Maurizio Cattelan, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Leonardo Drew, Chase Hall, February James, Rashid Johnson, Josh Kline, Cady Noland, Richard Prince, Christina Quarles, Tschabalala Self, Sylvia Snowden, Vaughn Spann, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, John Waters, Carrie Mae Weems, Kehinde Wiley, Kennedy Yanko, and Cajsa von Zeipel, among many others.