There are very few institutions in the United States that have a dedicated fund for the purchase of contemporary art by Black artists, let alone one that is for an institution's permanent collection. This is no surprise given that artwork by Black artists comprises less than 2% of collections at major art institutions. The Perez Art Museum Miami, however, has been intentional in maintaining their Fund for Black Art, which has been used to acquire artwork by contemporary Black artists since 2013--far before Black art was "trendy."
BlkArthouse was invited to attend PAMM's ninth annual "Art + Soul event," which unveiled the museum's recent acquisitions by prominent Black artists and raised funds for additional acquisitions. To date, the museum has acquired artwork by some of the most notable contemporary Black artists, including Kehinde Wiley, Gordon Parks, Al Loving, Faith Ringgold, Xaviera Simmons, and Purvis Young.
Three new pieces of artwork were added to the PAMM permanent collection that reflect upon the Black experience and history from artists Dawoud Bey, (Cabin and Palm Trees, 2019) and Calida Rawles (On the Other Side of Everything, 2021) (both below).
“I’d like to thank everyone who was involved in acquiring my work. It’s a really gratifying moment for me particularly not one piece coming into the collection but to have two of my recent works come into this museum. For the past 10 years, I’ve been making work that looks at and seems to bring into a contemporary conversation aspects of African American history. I’m trying to use the history in a way that allows us to first engage in an act of memories so that our history is not forgotten, and second, to bring it into a meaningful conversation in our own times because past is never the past. The past is always present. How does one visualize the past? How does one make work about something that has already happened?” -- Dawoud Bey
"I am so honored to be here and celebrate Black artistry, and to have my painting, On the Other Side of Everything, as a part of the Perez art museum and its collection. Although I painted it last year, it feels like much longer. I knew I wanted to focus on Black men. When I thought of what I wanted to express, I kept circling back to the obvious: I'm not a Black man nor do I understand what it means or how it feels to be a Black man, and then I thought, 'What if i start from there?' That mystery of not fully knowing someone, of only seeing parts of them. Isn’t that the beauty of the human experience? I kind of believe that’s where the journey of compassion begins. I feel so blessed to have such beautiful gentle and strong Black men in my life and when I see any Black man walking down the street I can’t help but be reminded of a friend or cousin my son, my father my brother, my loving husband. The beauty of Black men and the love and little touch of mystery is what is in my painting, what I tried to capture." -- Calida Rawles
Information about how to get involved with PAMM's Black Art Fund is available here.