Pérez Art Museum Miami’s Third Annual Reception for the PAMM Fund for African American Art had its most successful year to date, with attendance doubling to more than 800 guests. The annual event, sponsored for the third consecutive year by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, was the first for PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans, who took the helm at PAMM this past October. Sirmans announced the Fund’s newest acquisitions, three significant new works by artists Nari Ward, Romare Bearden and Lorraine O’Grady, to an overflowing auditorium. More than 80 guests joined the museum on site, in support of the fund, and in honor of Sirmans’ new role as director of Miami-Dade County’s flagship art museum. The lively event featured performances by PAMM exhibition artist Nari Ward, Ground (In Progress) with local dancers, Girl Power’s Girls’ Choir of Miami, and “downtown soul” collective Ketchy Shuby.
“Diversity is of one of our greatest assets. Collections that reflect the range of our cultures might challenge us. But if it’s fantastic art, it will inspire and connect us to one another to our Miami home,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation upon welcoming guests to the museum. “This fund ensures our community can participate in both securing these works and enjoying them, as we seek to make art general in Miami.”
The Fund’s 2015/2016 acquisitions, announced by Sirmans during the reception, were: Nari Ward, Homeland Sweet Homeland, 2012; Romare Bearden, Evening 9:10, 461 Lenox Avenue, 1964; and Lorraine O’Grady, Art Is. . ., 1983/2009. The PAMM Fund for African American Art was initiated in 2013 by a $1 million grant from Jorge M. Pérez and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and is supported by private donations as well as membership dues to the PAMM Ambassadors of African American Art affiliate group. Through the Fund, the museum has acquired major works by artists Terry Adkins, Ed Clark, Leslie Hewitt, Al Loving, Faith Ringgold and Xaviera Simmons. These pieces joined other significant PAMM collection objects representing facets of contemporary art by artists as diverse as Amelia Pelaez, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg, Lorna Simpson, Ernesto Neto, Stan Douglas and Miami’s own Purvis Young.
Nari Ward’s Ground (In Progress) is a floor-based sculpture made from 700 copper-topped bricks and adorned with painted geometric symbols drawn from the Underground Railroad directional code. Visitors are invited to walk across the surface of the work, challenging the untouchable and monumental nature of works of fine art. This work is on view in the Vattikuti Learning Theater from February 16–20. Ward’s exhibition, Sun Splashed, is on view at PAMM through February 21, 2016. For more information, visit pamm.org.
For more information about the PAMM Fund for African American Art, or to join the PAMM Ambassadors for African American Art, visit pamm.org/artfund.