May 24, 2017
Renée Cox’s Redcoat (2004), from her Queen Nanny of the Maroons series, part of the “Caribbean: Crossroads of the World” exhibition at PAMM.
You could be forgiven for rolling your eyes at the name of the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s new exhibition: “Caribbean: Crossroads of the World.” After all, barely a week goes by without public figures citing Miami as some kind of gateway. Yet the strength of this show lies in its eschewing dry statistics for the thankfully messier world of art—beginning with the Haitian Revolution of 1791, moving up to the present day, and sprawling through an array of neighboring countries and artistic mediums along the way.
“It’s not just thinking about the contemporary immigration or trade issues that tie us all together,” PAMM Associate Curator Diana Nawi explains. “It’s an art exhibit, not a social statement. It’s not just figures on a page. It’s beautiful, imaginative, engaging, creative, interpretative iterations of history.” It’s also very, very big. Nawi’s task has been to help slim down the exhibit—which originally filled three different New York City museums with 500 different artworks—so it would physically fit inside PAMM’s walls.
Post-diet, “Caribbean” now contains 170 works while still shining a spotlight on Miami’s contributions to the aesthetic mix; local artists such as Cuban-exile José Bedia and Haitian expat Edouard Duval-Carrié (who has a concurrent solo show of new work at PAMM) share the space with heavyweights like Jamaica’s Renée Cox and Ebony Patterson. South Florida’s scholars will no doubt debate the cultural commonalities between various pieces on display. Nawi herself sees a more fundamental interlocking thread: “It’s all great art.” “Caribbean: Crossroads of the World” opens April 18 at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 305-375-3000
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF THE ARTIST