This week I finally made it down to Miami with friends to visit the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). The purpose was to view the extensive selection of works from the Miami-based collection of Ruth and Marvin Sackner. The Perez show is titled: A Human Document: Selections from the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry.
Rene Morales the organizer of the show says, "Founded in 1979, this 'archive of archives' initially focused on concrete and visual poetry—including rare manuscripts and published works by international luminaries. The collection subsequently grew to encompass a broad array of historic and contemporary works that synthesize word and image. Rooted in the early to mid-20th-century European avant-garde, the collection provides a unique lens through which to examine the foundational movements of modernism, including Italian Futurism, Russian Constructivism, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Dada and Lettrisme, among others. The Sackners’ contemporary holdings are also expansive, with special strengths in artists' books and 'assemblings' (limited-edition groupings of materials by numerous contributors), as well as various subgenres such as typewriter art, performance poetry and micrography (abstract or representational designs comprised of minuscule lettering)."
First stop in the museum after winding our way through a large amount of construction, was the second floor gallery housing the show, making sure we allowed enough time for viewing the works. Upon entering, I was happy to see a large room filled with both wall and vitrine installations. (Hopefully the accompanying photos give you a good sense of scale.) Many of the works were historical such as the Futurist and DADA publications, and included contemporary examples of assemblings, mail art, and performance art documents. I recognized several artists' works by some of my own correspondents - Johnson, Bruscky, Baroni, Cook, Petasz - to name just a few I remember.
I spent quite a bit of time viewing the documents in the exhibit and realized early on, for the most part the works shown did not duplicate what was on display during my visit to the archive in 2011. Ruth and Marvin put an immense amount of time and thought in their collection and this was evident with the selections at the Perez. I came away inspired and amazed by the clever creativeness artists possess. My non-artist friends were able to "get it" and left with an appreciation for this "new art."
Wandering into the galleries in the rest of the museum there were some wonderful artworks on display by Caribbean artists with limited funds and art supplies who made works out of things not typically used; match sticks, aluminum, glitter pens, dry wall, ship wrecks to name a few. These were well worth the time taken to see. But the Sackner exhibit held strong in comparison to several of the other collections on display. Perhaps this is why the exhibit has been extended into August instead of the original May date.
The trip to Miami originally planned to include multiple stops quickly became a full day at PAMM. For more info see PAMM or Sackner Web sites.
Note: Marvin sent me this link to The Atlantic review by Steven Heller here.