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Pérez Art Museum Miami Announces Landmark Acquisition from the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry

9 months ago

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) announces its major acquisition of over 400 language-based artworks from the world-renowned, Miami-based collection of Ruth and Marvin Sackner. The acquisition is a combined gift and purchase made possible thanks to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Marvin Sackner and his late wife Ruth, co-founder of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry. The museum will receive the contents of PAMM’s well-regarded 2013 exhibition, A Human Document, which was part of the museum’s inaugural exhibition series. Additionally, PAMM curatorial staff selected another 150 pieces representative of the collection’s breadth and historical importance. A new exhibition celebrating this milestone currently scheduled for June 2017 will be unveiled in the Diane and Robert Moss Gallery.

“The Sackner Archives are like no other, just like Miami. The collection challenges conventional understanding of words and poetry and presents them as concrete art,” said Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen. “Ruth and Marvin created this world-class collection over a lifetime in Miami, making PAMM its perfect home.”

“Ruth and Marvin Sackner put together a singular, prescient collection, one that preserves the history of numerous distinct fields of twentieth-century art while celebrating radical experimentation,” adds PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans. “This is a unique resource, for the public and scholars alike. And, rightly, the bulk of this treasure, collected over several years by a very special collecting couple, will remain here in Miami. The acquisition, thanks to our collaborators at Knight Foundation, further elevates PAMM as a requisite destination for art and scholarship, not just in Miami, but in the world. It also gives the museum another bridge in the discussion of modern art going back to its formation in the early 20th century.”

Consisting of over 70,000 objects, the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry constitutes the largest private collection of verbal/visual creative production in the world, with notable strengths in typewriter art, artist books, micrography, sound and performance poetry, mail art, experimental calligraphy, and numerous other subcategories. The collection is grounded in the early 20th-century European avant-garde, bringing together vibrant examples of the linguistic and typographic experiments that emerged from several foundational modernist movements, from Italian Futurism to Dada, Russian Constructivism, Surrealism, and Situationism.

“It’s a great pleasure to see this selection at PAMM,” says Marvin Sackner. “Ruth and I spent decades collecting, regarding each piece as a work of art, a piece of history, and a constant source of knowledge. Now the works can have the same effect on countless others.”

The Sackner Archive’s contemporary holdings are also expansive, encompassing important works by thousands of artists including Carl Andre, Öyvind Fahlström, León Ferrari, Ian Hamilton Finlay, John Giorno, Jenny Holzer, Paul Laffoley, Shirin Neshat, and Tom Phillips. PAMM’s selection was determined with an eye toward representing the Sackner collection proportionally and in both breadth and depth, preserving its unique conceptual framework for future generations.

Highlights from the PAMM acquisition:
Jenny HolzerCarl Andre, Guillaume Apollinaire,  Marcel Broodthaers/Stéphane Mallarmé, Augusto and Haroldo de Campos,  Ian Hamilton Finlay, Tom Phillips

Claudia Malfitano

  • John Giorno Poem Prints (detail), 1991 John Giorno Poem Prints (detail), 1991
  • Guillaume Apollinaire Peintures de Léopold Survage; Dessins et aquarelles d’Irène Lagut (Paintings of Léopold Survage; Drawings and Watercolors of Irène Lagut), 1917 Guillaume Apollinaire Peintures de Léopold Survage; Dessins et aquarelles d’Irène Lagut (Paintings of Léopold Survage; Drawings and Watercolors of Irène Lagut), 1917
  • John Giorno Poem Prints (detail), 1991 John Giorno Poem Prints (detail), 1991