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Curator's InsightsJessica Beck and Franklin Sirmans in Conversation about Jean-Michel Basquiat

Curators Jessica Beck and Franklin Sirmans in a side-by-side portrait.

Jessica Beck (photo by Abby Warhola) and Franklin Sirmans (photo © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA)

On the occasion of the upcoming rotation, Warhol and Basquiat in Focus: Works from the Permanent Collection, Jessica Beck, Milton Fine curator of art, interviews Franklin Sirmans, director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, about his longstanding interest, scholarship, and curatorial work on Jean Michel-Basquiat. Together over zoom, Beck and Sirmans discuss Basquiat’s legacy, the market frenzy around his work, his collaborations with Warhol, and the great influence that Basquiat had over Warhol’s late painting career. The conversation also covers a close look at objects from the rotation with discussion of Warhol and Basquiat’s collaborative work Ten Punching Bags (Last Supper), 1985–1986, and the connections to the death of Michael Stewart and Basquiat’s Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart), 1983.

About Franklin Sirmans

Franklin Sirmans is the director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Previously he served as the department head and curator of contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In 2014, he served as the artistic director of the of the Prospect New Orleans biennial exhibition, P3: Notes for Now. From 2006 to 2010, he was the curator of modern and contemporary art at The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas.

About Jessica Beck

Jessica Beck is the Milton Fine curator of art at The Warhol. She has curated many projects including: Andy Warhol: My Perfect Body in 2016 and Devan Shimoyama: Cry, Baby in 2018—the artist’s first solo museum exhibition, which debuted at The Warhol to great acclaim from the New York Times and The Burlington Contemporary. In 2019, she co-curated Kim Gordon’s first museum solo exhibition in North America, Kim Gordon: Lo-Fi Glamour. She is currently at work on Marisol and Warhol Take New York, a major exhibition of the friendship, partnership, and working relationship between Marisol Escobar and Andy Warhol to debut at The Warhol in fall of 2021 and travel to the Pérez Art Museum Miami in 2022. Beck has published widely with The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Cantor Center for the Arts, Gagosian Quarterly, and Burlington Magazine. In 2017 and 2018, Beck served as the visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon School of Art, where she taught critical studies and thesis writing seminars. She completed her MA with distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art.