Pérez Art Museum Miami Announces $1 Million Grant From Jorge M. Pérez and Knight Foundation for the Acquisition of Works by African American Artists

Works by Faith Ringgold, Al Loving, Xaviera Simmons First to be Purchased for Permanent Collection.


Faith Ringgold, <em>Black Light Series #1: Big Black</em>, 1967
Faith Ringgold, Black Light Series #1: Big Black, 1967. Oil on canvas.

MIAMI – September 23, 2013 – Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) has received a $1 million grant, funded equally by Jorge M. Pérez and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, for the purchase of contemporary works by African American artists for the Museum’s permanent collection. The gift builds on PAMM’s long-standing commitment to exhibiting and collecting the work by African American artists. The gift was made in anticipation of the opening of the Museum’s new Herzog & de Meuron-designed facility in December 2013, which will provide expanded exhibition space to showcase PAMM’s growing collections and develop new programming related to the diverse artists represented in the collection. 

To support the planning and selection process, the Museum has put together an advisory committee, led by PAMM Chief Curator Tobias Ostrander, comprised of renowned curators, art historians and artists. To date, the Museum has purchased three works for the permanent collection with the committee’s support: 

  • Al Loving, Untitled #32, (1975): Untitled #32 is an important example of Loving’s work produced during a dynamic period in the early 1970s when he began to literally rip apart his paintings and then sew back together the pieces of his canvases.
  • Faith Ringgold, Black Light Series #1: Big Black (1967): Black Light Series #1: Big Black was shown in 2011 at the Museum as part of the exhibition American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s, and is part of a series of works in which the artist explored a dark palette that specifically excluded the use of white paint.
  • Xaviera Simmons, Untitled (Pink) (2009): Simmons’ photographs reference and challenge Western notions of the “pastoral” or “sublime.” 

These new pieces join other significant PAMM collection works by African American artists such as Lorna Simpson, Carrie May Weems and Leonardo Drew. Additionally, the PAMM Collectors Council recently acquired Rashid Johnson’s Tribe (2013) following the Museum’s survey, Rashid Johnson: Message to Our Folks (2012). Pérez Art Museum Miami will dedicate the remaining funds from the grant to a multi-year initiative to purchase works by African American artists and raise additional funds to support collection growth in this area.   

“It is PAMM’s explicit commitment to reflect the diversity of our local community directly in everything we do, including collection development,” said PAMM Director Thom Collins. “These remarkably generous gifts provide us with an opportunity to continue to build our collection in ways that support this mission, and we are delighted by the prospect of acquiring works that represent the critical contributions that African American artists have made to contemporary culture.”  

"Diversity is one of our great assets.  Collections that reflect the range of our cultures might challenge us; but if it’s great art, it’ll not only inspire us, it will connect us to one another and to our Miami home,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation.

“Through the Museum’s exhibition program, this community has been exposed to some incredibly powerful and important African American artists, such as Faith Ringgold and Rashid Johnson,” said Jorge M. Pérez, PAMM trustee and donor. “This grant gives the Museum the ability to focus attention on growing the collection with works by African American artists so that our community can enjoy more works by these artists, permanently.”

The jointly-funded grant from Jorge M. Pérez and Knight Foundation marks the latest in a series of recent gifts to the museum’s growing permanent collection, which includes more than 300 works from collectors Debra and Dennis Scholl, and 30 major works from Mimi and Bud Floback.

African American Artist Advisory Committee
Advisory group participants are: Thom Collins, director of PAMM; Tobias Ostrander, chief curator and deputy director for curatorial affairs of PAMM; Naomi Beckwith, curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Adler Guerrier, Haitian-born artist living and working in Miami; Carole F. Hall, former editor-in-chief of African American interest books at John Wiley & Sons; Tumelo Mosaka, contemporary art curator at the Krannert Art Museum in Urbana-Champaign, Ill.; Toni Randolph, Miami-based art collector; Lowery Stokes Sims, curator at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York; and Michele Wallace, professor of English at The City College and Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).

About Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)
Pérez Art Museum Miami, formerly Miami Art Museum, will open in December 2013 in downtown Miami’s Museum Park. The Museum is focused on collecting and exhibiting modern and contemporary art that represents Miami’s cultural diversity, while providing progressive educational and community programming. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the new, cutting-edge facility will provide room to showcase growing collections, expanded exhibition space to bring more world-class exhibitions to Miami-Dade County, and an educational complex. For more information, please visit pamm.org, find us on Facebook (facebook.com/perezartmuseummiami), or follow us on Twitter (@pamm).

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.