Last night at Pérez Art Museum Miami’s Fourth Annual Reception for the PAMM Fund for African American Art, Alberto Ibargüen, President and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, announced a $200,000 matching grant to benefit the fund. This matching grant, active through August 21, 2017, will help encourage more supporters to come forward and enable PAMM to acquire world-class works by African American artists for generations to come.
In the spirit of the Knight Foundation’s generosity, PAMM was honored to announce that fund ambassador member and trustee Dorothy A. Terrell personally donated $100,000 towards the match. Her donation, and the contributions of guests who were asked to support the fund as members on site that evening, will help shape the collecting of the institution and support the fund’s inclusive nature.
PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans also announced the fund’s newest acquisitions, including major works by artists Kevin Beasley, Theaster Gates, Sam Gilliam, Martine Syms, and Juana Valdes, including donations by patrons Toni and Carl Randolph and Debi and Larry Hoffman, to an overflowing auditorium of more than 700 guests.
- Kevin Beasley, Untitled (parade), 2016: An acquisition through the Fund, this work combines found materials, clothing, and synthetic mixtures to create sculptures that reference Western art history, hip-hop culture, and urban life. Drawn from the inspiration of hip-hop culture and the history of drapery in Western painting, Beasley creates a mixture that imbues this striking sculpture with a feeling of both mournfulness and liveliness.
- Martine Syms, The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto, 2007–15: An acquisition through the Fund, this wall-based text work publically critiques the literary and cultural aesthetic of Afrofuturism. In this hand-painted work, Syms calls for the “mundane Afrofuturist” to generate new possibilities for the black imagination that can radically rethink the future—beyond aliens, extraterrestrials, and space travel. This is the second work of Syms to enter the collection.
- Juana Valdes, An Inherent View of the World, 2014 and A Single Drawn Line, 2014: An acquisition through the Fund, Valdes, Miami-raised, combines photography and installation to investigate the history of commodities, reconsidering their connections to trade and consumerism.
- Theaster Gates, Breathing, 2010: Gifted to the Fund by Debi and Larry Hoffman, this piece shows four singers in close-up, who flow from Buddhist chants into African American gospel. Alluding to the history of black spirituals, Breathing transcends geographical boundaries to create a communal experience in which viewers can appreciate together—a mesmerizing performance that generates a bond between people.
- Sam Gilliam, Blue and Flame, 2001: Gifted to the Fund by Toni and Carl Randolph, this relief work explores physicality, resonance, and depth of color in painting, introducing a sculptural third dimension to the medium while also engaging the surrounding architecture. Gilliam’s revolutionary idea that modernist painting could be sculptural and, moreover, theatrical, radically distinguished him from his contemporaries.
The artworks represent a variety of artistic practices, ranging from sculpture and painting to photography and film. They explore a range of subjects relating to art and materiality, history, and the African diaspora, thereby adding important voices to the conversation in PAMM’s permanent collection.
The lively event also featured special performances by Olujimi Dance Theater, Kahina: A Tangled Root, and a poetry reading by Aja Monet.
The PAMM Fund for African American Art was established in 2013 with the donation of a $1 million grant, funded equally by Jorge M. Pérez and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, for the purchase of contemporary art by African American artists for the museum’s permanent collection. Through the Fund, the museum first acquired works by Al Loving, Faith Ringgold, and Xaviera Simmons. These works joined other significant PAMM collection objects by artists such as Leonardo Drew, Sam Gilliam, Rashid Johnson, Lorna Simpson, James Van Der Zee, Carrie Mae Weems, Kehinde Wiley, and Purvis Young.