New acquisitions: Pérez Art Museum Miami expands collection by 13 works, diverse list of artists includes 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-size SCULPTURE of Bobby Seale surrounded by a sea of ​​grocery bags pays homage to the celebrated but often forgotten Black Panther Party’s program to combat food insecurity in the 1970s. A large installation by a Los Angeles artist Karon Davis, “Bobby Seale and The People’s Free Food Program” was on view at the Jeffrey Deitch New York this spring. The installation, cast in white plaster, was shown 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 made by women artists. Cuban and Brazilian artists are represented and eight of the artists are black.

PAMM acquired its first works from Karon Davis, Kenturah Davis, Bisa Butler, and Christine SunKim. Works by Tania Bruguera, Liset Castillo, Leda Catunda, Coco Fusco, Sonia Gomes, Hélio Oiticica, Thania Petersen, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, and Veronika Ryan, were also included in the collection.

Much like Karon Davis, many of the artists are at a turning point in their careers, staging major exhibitions and gaining recognition, including museum purchases.

Earlier this summer, Kenturah Davis also had a show at the Jeffrey Deitch New York. “Kenturah Davis: (a) Float, (a) Fall, (a) Dance, (a) Death” was also her first solo show in town. Davis divides her time between Los Angeles and Accra, Ghana. Her work explores the “fundamental role that language plays in shaping our understanding of ourselves and the world around us”. She often uses repeated lines of text to compose her layered portraits.

PAMM acquired Davis’ “Black As the Most Exquisite Color” (2019), a large-format portrait of a young woman that repeats the title endlessly in stamped letters.

PAMM has also added Veronica Ryan’s “Bundle 1” (2019) to its collection. The handmade paper and crochet sculpture exemplifies Ryan’s work, which relates to her Afro-Caribbean background. Her work experiments with materiality and scale and refers to shapes and forms from the natural world.

Born in Plymouth, Montserrat, Ryan grew up in England. Today she lives between New York and Great Britain. In March she joined the Paula Cooper Gallery. Veronica Ryan: Along a Spectrum, the artist’s largest and most ambitious British exhibition to date, is currently on view on Spike Island in Bristol through September 5th.

“The collection not only reflects who we are, but also who we want to be.” – PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans

SONIA GOMES, Untitled, from the Torções (Twists) series, 2021. | © Sonia Gomes. Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, purchase of the museum with funds from Jorge M. Pérez

This year, PAMM has acquired a new textile work by the Brazilian artist from Sonia Gomes. The untitled work comes from the Tor̵̤es (Twists) series. Gomes lives and works in Ṣo Paulo. Your practice works with found and talented materials and is shaped by embedded meaning and history. She sews and knots textiles and objects and creates colorful, strangely shaped sculptures that take on organic forms. Last year two prominent galleries announced their joint agency for Gomes РBlum & Poe in Los Angeles and Pace in New York.

Bisa Butler’s newly created work “Black is King” (2021) is one of PAMM’s most recent acquisitions. The quilted portrait shows the South African photographer, artist and activist Trevor Stuurman, who worked as a stylist on Beyoncé’s current visual album “Black is King”. Butler uses intensely dyed and patterned fabrics, “the cloth of our ancestors”, to create quilted portraits, dignified images that document the Black experience.

Bisa Butler: Portraits, the first solo exhibition by the Orange, New Jersey-based artist, is currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago through September 6th.

Through purchases and gifts, additions to the museum’s permanent collection reflect the institution’s support for various artists from underrepresented backgrounds, including the U.S. Latinx experience, the African diaspora, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

“The collection not only reflects who we are, but also who we want to be,” said PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans in a statement, citing specific purchases by Brazilian and Cuban artists that he considered “crucial to our priorities Collection “designated. He added, “We are fortunate to have resources and sponsors who engage with the growth of the collection in a way that encourages our view of art as a catalyst for meaningful conversation in society.” CT

TOP PICTURE: KARON DAVIS, “Bobby Seale and the People’s Free Food Program”, 2020-21. | © Karon Davis. Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, Museum purchase with funds from the Collectors Council from PAMM, 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 the artist and Jeffrey Deitch, New York. Photo by Cooper Dodds and Genevieve Hanson

Pictured, 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, purchase of the museum with funds from Jorge M. Pérez

The walk-in installation by the Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica “immerses the viewer / participant in color while he conjures up and celebrates the favela communities of Rio de Janeiro”.

BISA BUTLER, “Black is King”, 2021. | © Bisa Butler. Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, purchase of the museum with funds from the PAMM Collectors Council

COCO FUSCO, “The Undiscovered Indian Tour”, 1882-94 / 2019. | © Coco Fusco. Pérez Art Museum Miami Collection, purchase of the museum with funds from the PAMM International Women’s Committee Foundation. Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates

The photo series documents a satirical performance by the Cuban-American artist Coco Fusco and the Mexican American Guillermo Gomez-Pena on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus.

VERONICA RYAN, “Bundle I”, 2019. | © Veronika Ryan. Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, purchase of the museum with funds from Holly and Albert Baril. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo by Steven Probet

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 the Brazilian artist Sonia Gomes is featured in “Sonia Gomes: I Rise – I’m a Black Ocean, Leaping and Wide”, “Sonia Gomes: life is reborn / still I rise” and “Sonia Gomes”, her first monograph in 2018 appeared. “Veronica Ryan: Along a Spectrum” documents the artist’s current exhibition on Spike Island in Bristol, UK. See also “Dangerous Moves: Performance and Politics in Cuba” by Coco Fusco.

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