Kick off Miami Art Week with a conversation between internationally acclaimed Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye OBE and PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans. Adjaye has established himself as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision, with influences ranging from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. Sir Adjaye and Sirmans will discuss Adjaye’s wide range of global projects managed by Adjaye Associates, with studios in Accra, London, and New York, including The National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Dirty House.
Sir David Adjaye OBE is an award-winning Ghanaian-British architect known to infuse his artistic sensibilities and ethos for community-driven projects. His ingenious use of materials, bespoke designs and visionary sensibilities have set him apart as one of the leading architects of his generation. In 2000, David founded his own practice, Adjaye Associates, which today operates globally with studios in Accra, London, and New York taking on projects that span the globe.
His firm’s early work largely involved private commissions for the design of artist studios and residences and quickly evolved into civic commissions beginning with the Ideas Stores, two public libraries in London. His most well-known project to date, The National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC opened on the National Mall in Washington DC in 2016 and was named Cultural Event of the Year by The New York Times. In 2017, Adjaye was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people of the year by TIME Magazine. Most recently, Adjaye was announced the winner of the 2021 RIBA Royal Gold Medal. Personally approved by Her Majesty the Queen, the Royal Gold Medal is considered one of the highest honors in British architecture for one’s significant contribution to the field internationally.
Today, the portfolio continues to evolve with major cultural, civic and commercial projects such as The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; 130 William, a high-rise residential tower in New York’s financial district; the new Sydney Plaza, a public plaza, community building and artwork in Sydney’s Central Business District; the International Finance Corporation in Dakar, Senegal; The Abrahamic Family House, an interfaith complex in Abu Dhabi; the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London; and the National Cathedral of Ghana in Accra.
Franklin Sirmans has been the director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) since fall 2015. Since coming to PAMM, he has overseen the acquisition of more than a thousand works of art by donation or purchase. At PAMM, Sirmans has pursued his vision of PAMM as “the people’s museum,” representing a Miami lens, by strengthening existing affiliate groups such as the PAMM Fund for African American Art and creating the International Women’s Committee and the Latin American and Latinx Art Fund. Sirmans has organized Toba Khedoori (2017) and he was cocurator of The World’s Game: Futbol and Contemporary Art (2018). Prior to his appointment, he was the department head and curator of contemporary art at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) from 2010 until 2015. At LACMA Sirmans organized Toba Khedoori; Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada; Variations: Conversations in and around Abstract Painting; Fútbol: The Beautiful Game; and Ends and Exits: Contemporary Art from the Collections of LACMA and The Broad Art Foundation. From 2006 to 2010 he was curator of modern and contemporary art at The Menil Collection in Houston where he organized several exhibitions including NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith; Maurizio Cattelan: Is Their Life Before Death?; and Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster, 1964–1966. From 2005 to 2006 Sirmans was a curatorial advisory committee member at MoMA/PS1. He was the artistic director of Prospect.3 New Orleans from 2012 until 2014. He was awarded the 2007 David C. Driskell Prize, administered by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.