New acquisitions: Miami’s Pérez Art Museum adds 13 works to its collection and various artists including Kenturah Davis, Bisa Butler, Karon Davis, Coco Fusco and Sonia Gomes
“Bobby Seale and the People’s Free Food Program” (2020-21) by Karon Davis
A LIFE-SIZED SCULPTURE by Bobby Seale surrounded by a sea of grocery bags, pays homage to the famous, but often forgotten, Black Panther Party program designed to tackle food insecurity in the 1970s. A major installation by the ‘artist from Los Angeles Karon Davis, “Bobby Seale and The People’s Free Food Program” was on view at Jeffrey Deitch New York this spring. Cast in white plaster, the installation was featured in “Karon Davis: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”, the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York.
“Bobby Seale and The People’s Free Food Program” is one of 13 new acquisitions announced this week by the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Eleven of the additions are by women artists. Cuban and Brazilian artists are represented and eight of the artists are black.
PAMM acquired its first works in Karon Davis, Kenturah Davis, Bisa Butler, and Christine Sun Kim. Works by Tania Bruguera, Liset Castillo, Leda Catunda, Coco Fusco, Sonia Gomes, Hélio Oiticica, Thania Petersen, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, and Véronique Ryan, have also been incorporated into the collection.
Like Karon Davis, many artists are at a crossroads in their careers, organizing important exhibitions and gaining increasing recognition, including museum acquisitions.
Earlier this summer, Kenturah Davis also performed at the Jeffrey Deitch New York. “Kenturah Davis: (a) Float, (a) Fall, (a) Dance, (a) Death” was also her first solo show in the city. Davis divides his time between Los Angeles and Accra, Ghana. Her work explores the “fundamental role of language in how we understand ourselves and the world around us”. She often uses repeated lines of text to compose her layered portraits.
PAMM has acquired Davis’ “Black As the Most Exquisite Color” (2019), a large-scale portrait of a young woman that incorporates endless repetition of the title using rubber stamp letters.
PAMM has also added Veronica Ryan’s “Bundle 1” (2019) to their collection. The handmade paper and crochet sculpture illustrates Ryan’s work, which draws inspiration from his Afro-Caribbean origins. Experimenting with materiality and scale, his work refers to forms and forms of the natural world.
Born in Plymouth, Montserrat, Ryan grew up in England. Today she is based between New York and the UK. In March, she joined the Paula Cooper Gallery. “Veronica Ryan: Along a Spectrum”, the artist’s largest and most ambitious UK exhibition to date, is currently on display at Spike Island in Bristol, through September 5th.
“The collection is not only a reflection of who we are, but of who we aspire to be. “- PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans
SONIA GOMES, Untitled, from the Torções (Twists) series, 2021. | © Sonia Gomes. Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, museum purchase with funds provided by Jorge M. Pérez
From Sonia Gomes, PAMM acquired a new textile work that the Brazilian artist made this year. The untitled work is part of the Torções (Twists) series. Gomes lives and works in São Paulo. Working with found and gifted fabrics, her practice is informed by an integrated meaning and history. She sews and knots textiles and objects, creating sculptures in bright colors and strange shapes that take on organic shapes. Last year, two leading galleries announced their joint portrayal of Gomes: Blum & Poe in Los Angeles and Pace in New York.
PAMM’s latest acquisitions also include Bisa Butler’s new work “Black is King” (2021). The quilted portrait depicts South African photographer, artist and activist Trevor Stuurman, who worked as a stylist on Beyoncé’s recent visual album, “Black is King”. Butler uses intensely colored and patterned fabrics, “the fabric of our ancestors”, to create quilted portraits, dignified images that document the black experience.
“Bisa Butler: Portraits”, the artist’s first solo exhibition based in Orange, New Jersey, is currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago through September 6.
Through purchases and gifts, additions to the museum’s permanent collection reflect the institution’s support for various artists from under-represented backgrounds, including the US Latinx experience, the African Diaspora, Latin America and the Caribbean.
“The collection is not only a reflection of who we are, but of who we aspire to be,” PAMM director Franklin Sirmans said in a statement, citing specific acquisitions by Brazilian and Cuban artists. he described as “vitally important to the focal points of our collection”. He added, “We are fortunate to have resources and patrons who are committed to growing the collection in a way that strengthens our view of art as a catalyst for meaningful conversations in society. ” CT
TOP IMAGE: KARON DAVIS, “Bobby Seale and the People’s Free Food Program,” 2020-21. | © Karon Davis. Pérez Art Museum Miami Collection, museum purchase with funds provided by the PAMM Collectors Council, Jorge M. and Darlene Pérez, Karen H. Bechtel and William M. Osborne, Donna and Eric G. Johnson, Diane and Robert Moss, Nedra and Mark Oren, Dorothy and Aaron Podhurst, Craig Robins, Matthew Gorson, Frank Destra and Alex Flucker. Courtesy of the artist and Jeffrey Deitch, New York. Photo of Cooper Dodds and Genevieve Hanson
Shown, HÉLIO OITICICA, “Macaléia”, 1978 (installation with stainless steel, wire mesh, gravel, asphalt, bricks, plants, planters; Cube: 86 1/2 x 86 1/2 x 86 1/2 inches). | © Hélio Oiticica. Courtesy of the Lisson Gallery. PAMM acquired: “Penetrável Macaléia”, 1978/2010. | © Hélio Oiticica. Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, museum purchase with funds provided by Jorge M. Pérez
The installation by Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica “immerses the viewer / participant in color while evoking and celebrating the communities of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro”.
BISA BUTLER, “Black is King”, 2021. | © Bisa Butler. Pérez Art Museum Miami Collection, museum purchase with funds provided by the PAMM Collectors Council
COCO FUSCO, “The tour of the undiscovered Amerindians”, 1882-94 / 2019. | © Coco Fusco. Pérez Art Museum Miami Collection, museum purchase with funds provided by PAMM’s International Women’s Committee Endowment. Courtesy of Alexander Gray Associates
The photographic series documents a satirical performance by Cuban-American artist Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gomez-Pena, who is of Mexican descent, addressing the 500th anniversary of the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus.
VERONICA RYAN, “Bundle I”, 2019. | © Véronique Ryan. Pérez Art Museum Miami Collection, museum purchase with funds provided by Holly and Albert Baril. Courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo by Steven Probert
SCAD University Press recently published “Kenturah Davis: Everything That Cannot Be Known”, the artist’s first monograph. The catalog “Bisa Butler: Portraits” accompanies the artist’s first museum exhibition. The work of Brazilian artist Sonia Gomes is explored in “Sonia Gomes: I Rise – I’m a Black Ocean, Leaping and Wide”, “Sonia Gomes: life is reborn / still I rise” and “Sonia Gomes”, his first monograph published in 2018. “Veronica Ryan: Along a Spectrum” documents the artist’s current exhibition at Spike Island in Bristol, UK. Also consider “Dangerous Moves: Performance and Politics in Cuba” by Coco Fusco.
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