Franklin Sirmans to Pay Tribute to Legendary Art Gallery Just Above Midtown (JAM) at Frieze New York

Featuring Artists from JAM’s Original Program: Dawoud Bey, Norman Lewis, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Lorna Simpson, & Ming Smith

black and white photograph of people celebrating
Lorraine O'Grady. Untitled (Mlle Bourgeoise Noire celebrates with her friends) (1980-83/2009). Silver gelatin print, 7h x 9.31w in (17.78h x 23.65w cm). Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York. © Lorraine O'Grady/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

(NEW YORK, NY — April 18, 2019) — Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is pleased to announce its Director Franklin Sirmans will curate a special section of Frieze New York, highlighting artists from Just Above Midtown (JAM), the 1970s-80s “Black Power Art Gallery” founded by the visionary Linda Goode Bryant, the Director of Education at the Studio Museum in Harlem at the time.

Bryant founded JAM in 1974 at just 23 years old in response to the lack of exhibition platforms for African American artists. The nonprofit space pioneered the early work of now world-renowned artists, including David Hammons and Adrian Piper. In collaboration with invited galleries, Sirmans will bring JAM back to New York with works by artists including Dawoud Bey, Norman Lewis, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Lorna Simpson, and Ming Smith.

“Linda Goode Bryant’s gallery and its experiments with art and artists is the stuff of legend. She gave a home to artists now considered to be part of the canon when they had nowhere else to present their work. If she had only showed David Hammons, Adrian Piper, and Lorraine O’Grady that alone would be enough to celebrate, but when considering JAM’s impact in totality, we discover evidence of the great history she created,” said Franklin Sirmans, PAMM Director. “I am excited to work with Linda around shared goals and ideals that recognize the power of art in public discourse in creating opportunity for diverse people to pursue their mutual well-being.”

Loring Randolph, Artistic Director of Frieze Americas, invited Sirmans to curate this year’s themed tribute section at Frieze New York. Sirmans’ decision to spotlight African American artists at Frieze reflects PAMM’s commitment to showcasing artwork from underrepresented communities. This section takes inspiration from PAMM’s curatorial mission to celebrate one of the most important cultural institutions of African American art.

Sirmans’ reprisal of JAM will include seven solo artist presentations from ten galleries and will be on view this May 2-5, 2019 at the eighth edition of Frieze New York on Randall’s Island Park. A portion of the fees from the galleries in this section will be donated to Bryant’s current non-profit initiative, Project Eats, a neighborhood-based urban agricultural partnership and social enterprise that creates sustainable food production and equitable distribution of those resources within and between communities. More information available on


Dawoud Bey (Rena Bransten Gallery, Stephen Daiter Gallery)
For over four decades Dawoud Bey has made photo and video-based work that examines marginalized populations, communities, and histories. His recent photo-based works bring African-American history into conversation with the contemporary moment, creating a liminal and resonant experience that collapses the past and the present.

Norman Lewis (Michael Rosenfeld Gallery)
Known for his dynamic abstract compositions, Norman Lewis was a vital member of the first generation of abstract expressionists. Lewis’s art derived energy from his vast interests in music – both classical and jazz – as well as nature, ancient ceremonial rituals, and social justice issues central to the civil rights movement.

Senga Nengudi (Thomas Erben Gallery, Lévy Gorvy, Sprüth Magers)
Senga Nengudi’s work sits at the forefront of contemporary sculptural, photographic and performance-based practices. A member of the African-American avant-garde of the 1970s and 1980s, she has continued to create evocative works that explore the physical and psychological limits of the human body in relation to the outside world.

Lorraine O'Grady (Alexander Gray Associates)
For more than four decades, Lorraine O’Grady has challenged cultural conventions. Her multidisciplinary practice seeks to confront the limitations of a culture built on exclusivity and resistance to difference. Advocating for concepts like hybridity, gender fluidity, and process rather than resolution, O’Grady uses a variety of mediums that include performance, photo installation, moving media, and photomontage.

Howardena Pindell (Garth Greenan)
Pindell’s work often employs lengthy, metaphorical processes of destruction/reconstruction. Among her first forays into abstraction, on unprimed canvas, she sprayed acrylic paint through hand-made stencils, dotted with hole punches. Later, she would cut canvases in various shapes and sew them back together, building up surfaces in elaborate stages with the use of hole punches, paint, and other non-traditional materials. In recent, more political work, Pindell uses similar techniques in order to address social issues, such as homelessness, HIV/AIDS, war, racism, sexism, and xenophobia. The artist’s fascination with gridded, serialized imagery, along with texture, appears throughout her oeuvre.

Lorna Simpson (Hauser & Wirth)
Over the past 30 years, Simpson has expanded her practice to encompass various media including film and video, painting, drawing and sculpture. Layered and multivalent, Simpson’s practice deploys metaphor, metonymy, and formal prowess to offer a potent response to American life today.

Ming Smith (Jenkins Johnson Gallery)
Smith documents everyday moments through her ethereal and transcendent works. Her work challenges any limiting notion of what African-American photography should look like. Combining a deliberate blurriness with experimental post-production techniques Smith’s work includes double exposed prints, collage, and painting, which amplify her photographs dream-like qualities.

people playing hockey
Howardena Pindell, Video Drawings: Hockey, 1975, Chromogenic print , 20.3 x 25.4 cm. Courtesy: Garth Greenan Gallery, New York


Franklin Sirmans is the director of Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) since the fall of 2015. Prior to his appointment, he was the department head and curator of contemporary art at Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 2010 until 2015. At LACMA Sirmans organized Toba Khedoori, Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada; Variations: Conversations in and Around Abstract Painting; Futbol: The Beautiful Game, and

Ends and Exits: Contemporary Art from the Collections of LACMA and the Broad Art Foundation. From 2006 to 2010, he was curator of modern and contemporary Art at The Menil Collection in Houston where he organized several exhibitions including NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith; Maurizio Cattelan: Is Their Life Before Death?; and Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster, 1964-1966. From 2005 to 2006, Sirmans was a curatorial advisory committee member at MoMA/PS1. He was the artistic director of Prospect.3 New Orleans from 2012-2014. And, he is the 2007 David Driskell Prize winner, administered by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) promotes artistic expression and the exchange of ideas, advancing public knowledge and appreciation of art, architecture, and design, and reflecting the diverse community of its pivotal geographic location at the crossroads of the Americas. The 35-year-old South Florida institution, formerly known as Miami Art Museum (MAM) and led by Director Franklin Sirmans, opened a new building, designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, on December 4, 2013 in Downtown Miami’s Maurice A. Ferré Park. The facility is a state-of-the-art model for sustainable museum design and progressive programming and features 200,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor program space with flexible galleries; shaded outdoor verandas; a waterfront restaurant and bar; a museum shop; and an education center with a library, media lab, and classroom spaces.

Taking place in Randall’s Island Park from May 2 through 5, Frieze New York 2019 showcases an extraordinary cross-section of work, from today’s most exciting emerging artists to seminal figures of the 20th century. In addition, two new exhibitions explore virtual reality and the significance of self-taught artists, and two new gallery-led sections celebrate contemporary Latinx and Latin American art, and a pioneering New York arts organization.

Frieze is the world’s leading platform for modern and contemporary art for scholars, connoisseurs, collectors and the general public alike. Frieze comprises three magazines—frieze, Frieze Masters Magazine and Frieze Week— and four international art fairs—Frieze London, Frieze Masters, Frieze New York and Frieze Los Angeles. Additionally, Frieze organizes a program of special courses and lectures through Frieze Academy.

Frieze was founded in 1991 by Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp, with the launch of frieze magazine, the leading international magazine of contemporary art and culture. In 2003, Sharp and Slotover launched Frieze London art fair, which takes place each October in The Regent’s Park, London. In 2012, they launched Frieze New York, which occurs each May in Randall’s Island Park, and Frieze Masters, which coincides with Frieze London in October and is dedicated to art from ancient to modern. In 2018, Frieze announced the launch of Frieze Los Angeles, which will open February 14–17, 2019 at Paramount Pictures Studios, Los Angeles. In 2016 Frieze entered into a strategic partnership with Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG), a global leader in sport, entertainment and fashion.