The Pérez Art Museum Miami has been given a $1 million gift from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a New York–based organization that regularly offers funding to arts institutions across the United States. The Mellon gift will be put toward the institution’s newly formed Caribbean Cultural Institute, which is intended to promote the research and exhibition of work by artists from the Caribbean and its diaspora.
“It’s something that is in our DNA, and we’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Franklin Sirmans, PAMM’s director, told ARTnews. “Now we’re really going to be able to move the dial.” He called the institute “an extended thinktank,” and said it is intended to further interest in emergent themes in art of the region.
On Thursday, PAMM will open “The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art,” a mini-survey that includes work by Deborah Anzinger, Angel Otero, Jamilah Sabur, and others. Such surveys have been rare in Miami-Dade County, which has the largest population of Caribbean immigrants in America. But it is not the only recent survey of the Caribbean and its diaspora. As part of the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative in 2017, the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California, surveyed Caribbean art in an exhibition that later traveled to the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University.
In recent years, PAMM has hosted various exhibitions of Caribbean art, but Sirmans said the Caribbean Cultural Institute will help to round out its programming. “It’s a new way of thinking for the institution: the creation of new knowledge and acknowledging we don’t know everything,” he said. “We’re looking to expand on that.”