Shaping Art in the New Decade – ARTnews.com
The following is one of many in-depth looks at the personalities and institutions selected for “The Deciders”, a list of art world personalities pointing the way forward developed by ART news and special guest editor Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean. See the full list in the magazine’s Winter 2020 issue and online here.
Pamela Joyner has some advice for collectors who are just beginning: “Find out where the void is, where the void is, where the need is. So whatever the void, find the need and fill the void. That’s what she told an audience last year in San Francisco, where she and her husband, Alfred J. Giuffrida, are based, and that’s exactly what she did 20 years ago. , when she started a collection of abstract art by African American artists. which now includes more than 300 works by artists like Alma Thomas, Sam Gilliam and Mark Bradford.
Joyner and Giuffrida’s collecting efforts flew under the art world’s radar until 2016, when they documented the collection in a voluminous book. Four Generations: The Joyner/Giuffrida Abstract Art Collection then became an exhibition of works by African-American artists from the 1940s to the present day, “Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection”, which began a tour three years ago at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, and moved to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, before opening last fall in Baltimore Museum of Art in expanded form.
[Who will decide art in 2020? Read more about ARTnews’s Deciders list.]
There is no trivial objective behind the couple’s acquisitions. “Ours is a mission-driven collection with no lesser ambition than to reframe art history and ensure, to the best of our ability and resources, that our artists are placed in the full context of a diverse canon,” Joyner said in a 2016 TEDx talk in South Africa.
To that end, she and Giuffrida have been very open about their lack of interest in establishing a private museum; they would prefer to get involved in existing institutions. Joyner sits on many institutional boards, including Tate, and she doesn’t join a board if she doesn’t feel she has a job to do: In 2017, she joined the board of the J. Paul Getty Trust when a giant research project on African American Art at the Getty Research Institute was in its infancy. Less than two years after joining, the GRI publicly revealed details of the groundbreaking $5 million African American Art History Initiative, along with the news that it had acquired the archives of the Los Angeles artist Betye Saar.
Living artists benefit from the prowess of Joyner and Giuffrida through more than just acquisitions. The couple also hosts a residency program at their home in Sonoma, California.