LACMA’s Franklin Sirmans to head up Pérez Art Museum Miami

Franklin Sirmans leaves his post as curator at LACMA to head the Perez Art Museum Miami.

Franklin Sirmans leaves his post as curator at LACMA to head the Perez Art Museum Miami.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Franklin Sirmans was named director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, its board of trustees announced on Thursday.

Sirmans, who joined LACMA in 2010 and is now department head and curator of contemporary art, will replace Thom Collins, who left PAMM in March to head up Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation.

While at LACMA, Sirmans curated the 2014 exhibition “Fútbol: The Beautiful Game” as well as the current retrospective, “Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada.”


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He also curated several exhibitions of LACMA’s permanent collection of contemporary art, including “Variations: Conversations in and around Abstract Painting,” which closed in March, and 2013’s “Ends and Exits: Contemporary Art from the Collections of LACMA and the Broad Art Foundation.”

Before he came to LACMA, Sirmans was at the Menil Collection in Houston as curator of modern and contemporary art. He has also worked as a writer, editor and independent curator over the years -- he co-curated the 2005 “Basquiat” show at the Brooklyn Museum – and he curated New Orleans’ Prospect biennial in 2014.

In a statement, the Miami museum called Sirmans “one of the leading voices in contemporary art.”

PAMM trustee Dennis Scholl, collector and former vice president/arts for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, led the international search to replace Collins.

He says Sirmans, 46, “brings with him experience at numerous large institutions and has a proven track record for galvanizing communities. All of that makes him the ideal person to lead the key museum in a city now renowned as an arts destination and home to a vibrant mix of cultures and traditions.”

“I want to support the vision of the amazing curatorial staff led by Tobias Ostrander,” Sirmans said of the Miami museum. “There’s a great lineup in place and like many of the shows in the last two years they go towards creating a curatorial expression befitting Miami. Not unlike Los Angeles, Miami is a city that is reflective of our evolving American cities.”

Sirmans takes his post in Miami on Oct. 15.

Twitter: @debvankin


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