An Interview with Jorge Pérez (PAMM & Espacio 23)


Sarah Cascone (Artnet News) interviews entrepreneur and art collector Jorge Pérez, born in Argentina to Cuban parents, who donated his collections to the Pérez Art Museum Miami and subsequently opened his own museum, Espacio 23. Here are excerpts from “What I Buy & Why: Real-Estate Mogul Jorge Pérez on Which Artists He’s Lucky to Have Bought Early and Why He Likes Very Big Art.”

Jorge Pérez has used the proceeds of his lucrative real estate business to build a world-class art collection not once, but twice. He donated much of his holdings to the Pérez Art Museum Miami in 2011 (it was renamed in his honor), and then started building up his stores again.

Pérez spoke with Artnet News about his first-ever art purchase, branching out to African art, and trusting that he’ll always find a place for that impractically large installation. (It helps when you have your own private museumEspacio 23, which opened in Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood back in December.)

What was your first purchase?

I bought my first pieces in 1970 while still attending university. I was a broke college student, but had a knack for dorm-room poker. As soon as I made my first winnings, the first thing I did was run out and buy a couple of lithographs by Joan Miró and Man Ray. I still have both pieces, with one hanging in my office to this day. [. . .]

What work do you have hanging above your sofa? What about in your bedroom?

Oddly enough, all sofas at my home float in the middle of rooms, which gives me more wall space to hang artwork. The living room in our family home includes work by Alex KatzKenneth NolandJulio Le ParcJohn ChamberlainSol Lewitt, and Olga de Amaral.

In the bedroom, my wife, Darlene, has her choice on her side (Portrait of a Red Bird by Ann Craven and Black and Blues, a flower painting by Donald Sultan, among others). On mine, I have a small piece by Cuban artist and dear friend, Glenda Leon; a painting by Michael Goldberg; and another one by David Salle. I also have a work by Frida Orupabo, but that is being replaced soon because it will be in the upcoming exhibition at El Espacio 23.

What work do you wish you had bought when you had the chance?

I’d rather dive into what works I’m happy to have bought when I had the chance! In that case, it would likely be a Deborah Roberts piece, which I got during her residency at the Fountainhead [in Miami]. This was right before she had her 2018 exhibition in the [Spelman College] Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta, and the rest was history. I am also very happy to have met and collected works by artists such as Zilia Sanchez and Teresa Burga, who are garnering more recognition later in their careers. [. . .]

For full article, see

[Above: Jorge Pérez with Kara Walker’s “Securing a Motherland Should Have Been Sufficient” (2016).]

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