Franklin Sirmans, Director at Pérez Art Museum Miami

Franklin Sirmans is the director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Prior to taking his position at PAMM, Sirmans was Terri and Michael Smooke Department Head and Curator of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. from 2010 until 2015. At LACMA Sirmans organized Noah Purifoy: Junk DadaVariations: Conversations in and Around Abstract Painting, and Futbol: The Beautiful Game, among many other exhibitions. 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 FaithSteve Wolfe: Works on PaperMaurizio Cattelan: Is There Life Before Death? and Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster, 1964-1966.   In 2009 Sirmans was awarded the Gold Rush Award by the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, he was the winner of the 2007 David C. Driskell Prize, and artistic director of Prospect.3 New Orleans from 2012-2014. He has mounted exhibitions as an independent curator at museums in Europe, Asia and the U.S., including the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Comune di Milano in Italy and the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich.

Some of his notable projects include “Basquiat” (Brooklyn Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; 2005); “Make it Now: New Sculpture in New York” (Sculpture Center, 2005); “One Planet Under a Groove: Contemporary Art and Hip Hop” (Bronx Museum of Art; Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; 2001-2003); and “Ralph Bunche: Diplomat for Peace and Justice” (Queens Museum of Art, 2004).

He has also been a curatorial advisor at PS 1 since February of 2006, and has organized exhibitions such as “Bearable Lightness” and solo presentations of artists including SunTek Chung, Philip Maysles, Curtis Mitchell and Senam Okudzeto. He has taught art history most recently at both Maryland Institute College of Art and Princeton University.

A former U.S. editor of “Flash Art” and editor-in-chief of “ArtAsiaPacific,” Mr. Sirmans has written widely on art and culture for such publications as “Art in America,” “The New York Times,” “Essence” and “Newsweek International.” Sirmans has also contributed monographic essays for catalogues on artists including Kevin ei-Ichi DeForest, Kehinde Wiley, Gajin Fujita, Wendell Gladstone and David Hammons.

Born in New York City in 1969, Sirmans was raised in Harlem, Albany and New Rochelle, New York. He earned English and Art History degrees from Wesleyan University, where he wrote his honors thesis on the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Franklin Sirmans is an independent curator, writer, editor and lecturer based in New York City. A former U.S. Editor of Flash Art and Editor-in-Chief of Art Asia Pacific magazines, Sirmans has written for several journals and newspapers on art and culture, including The New York TimesNewsweek InternationalArt in AmericaArtNewsGrand Street and Essence Magazine.

He is cocurator of Basquiat (2005-2006: Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston). He was cocurator of Make It Now: New Sculpture in New York at Sculpture Center; One Planet Under A Groove: Contemporary Art and Hip Hop (2001-2003: Bronx Museum of Art, Spelman College Art Gallery, Atlanta, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany); and Ralph Bunche: Diplomat for Peace and Justice at the Queens Museum of Art (2004). He has also curated several other exhibitions including Americas Remixed in Milan, Italy; Mass Appeal in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax and Sackville, Canada; and annual exhibitions for Atlanta (2003), Baltimore (2005) and Los Angeles (1999). Sirmans has also organized several exhibitions for commercial galleries including A Moments Notice in Houston, Things Fall Apart in Chicago, Notorious Impropriety in Boston, Color Theory in Torino, and New Video in Seoul; and New WaveThe Color of SoundSummer Jam, Retroactive I and Rumors of War in New York.

Sirmans has edited numerous catalogues on contemporary art including Transforming the Crown: African, Asian and Caribbean Artists in Britain, (University of Chicago Press), Jean-Michel Basquiat (Tony Shafrazi Gallery), Freestyle and Black Belt at The Studio Museum in Harlem, and contributed to Gary Simmons at the MCA, Chicago and Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970 (Contemporary Art Museum, Houston), in addition to several monographs on artists including Edgar Arceneaux, Monika Bravo, Iona Brown, Mia Enell, Manuel Esnoz, Charles Gaines, Kojo Griffin, Dario Robleto and Kehinde Wiley.

Sirmans was the 2005 Maryland Art Place Critic-in-Residence and an instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art and Princeton University.

Born in New York City (Queens), Sirmans was raised in Harlem, Albany and New Rochelle, New York. He attended Manhattan Country School, Albany Academy and New Rochelle High School before receiving a B.A. in Art History and English from Wesleyan University (1991).

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