The Pérez Art Museum Miami has acquired 13 new artworks, 11 of them by women, and several by artists of Cuban and Brazilian origin, reflecting the museum’s commitment to underrepresented artists.
Among the highlights are Karon Davis’s Bobby Seale and The People’s Free Food Program, a life-size plaster sculpture of Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, surrounded by groceries bags brimming with food, representing the Black Panthers’ efforts to fight food insecurity in the 1970s.
Hélio Oiticica, Macaléia (1978). Photo courtesy Lisson Gallery, © Hélio Oiticica.
“It’s such a significant piece in terms of concept, history, and execution,” PAMM director Franklin Sirmans told Artnet News. “Its overall message is tied to our mission in many ways. It’s highlighting history with a beautiful work of art that allows people to dig really deep, to learn something, and to reflect upon the politics of our shared history.”
It’s the first work by Davis in PAMM’s holdings.
Coco Fusco, The Undiscovered Amerindians Tour (1992–94/2019). Photo courtesy Alexander Gray Associates © Coco Fusco.
Other works entering the collection are Kenturah Davis’s rubber-stamped text portrait, Black As the Most Exquisite Color; Bisa Butler’s quilted portrait Black is King; and Christine Sun Kim’s satirical video Close Readings, made with deaf collaborators tasked with captioning films they cannot hear.
Another highlight is Penetrável Macaléia (Malaceia Penetrable), a walk-in installation by Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s favelas.
“We’re able to do something with the Oiticica that is really important in terms of Modernism, in terms of historical works of art, and then with Bisa [Butler] something that’s brand new—I know we’re not the only ones, but I think we’re doing that in an balanced way,” Sirmans said.
And then there’s Tania Bruguera’s 1994 installation Tabla de salvación (Table of Salvation), a memorial to those killed during the mid-1990s Cuban raft exodus.
Sonia Gomes, Untitled from the series “Torções” (2021). ©Sonia Gomes.
“This is a really significant piece of Tania’s work. I think we are all coming to understand how important she is, not only as an activist, where she has been in the spotlight recently for unfortunate reasons, but also as a sculptor,” Sirmans said.