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Franklin Sirmans to Direct Pérez Art Museum in Miami

Franklin Sirmans has been named director of Pérez Art Museum Miami. Sirmans is currently the department head and curator of contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and previously served as the curator of modern and contemporary art at the Menil Collection in Houston. He had organized exhibitions including “Basquiat,” 2005, at the Brooklyn Museum and “One Planet Under a Groove: Hip-Hop and Contemporary Art,” 2002, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Last year he curated Prospect New Orleans.

“We have the opportunity to think about certain artists—particularly from Latin America—that other places might not put a premium on,” he said of the opportunity to work in Miami, according to the New York Times’ Brett Sokol.

If the museum’s endowment is twenty million dollars, its official aim is to expand that number to seventy million dollars, which will give Sirmans a whole lot of fundraising responsibilities—responsibilities for which Sirmans is well prepared, notes the New York Times. The curator collaborated with LACMA trustee Viveca Paulin-Ferrell (Will Ferrell’s wife) to create Contemporary Friends: The group, which supports contemporary art purchases, has raised $350,000 to $400,000 a year, helping the Los Angeles museum acquire twenty-six works.

“You have to do some things to make the shows happen; curators, in some instances, are the only ones that can make a show palatable,” Sirmans told the New York Times. “The idea of being a curator in the twenty-first century who solely puts together shows, and doesn’t have a part in fund-raising, is not a part of what we do anymore.”