Press Release

Abaseh Mirvali Appointed Executive Director and Chief Curator of Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California
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Mirvali Launches the Next Phase in MCASB History with Expanded International Programming and Plans for a New Museum

Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) announced today that it has appointed Abaseh Mirvali as its new Executive Director, Chief Curator, and CEO effective immediately. In this role, Mirvali will work closely with the MCASB staff and its Board of Trustees, as well as the wider Santa Barbara and greater Los Angeles communities to advance the mission of the Museum regionally, nationally, and internationally. In addition to setting the curatorial vision for the institution, Mirvali will also launch MCASB’s expansion to a new location in Santa Barbara’s ocean-facing Funk Zone arts district.

Mirvali brings with her more than 15 years of experience working as an internationally-respected director and independent contemporary art and architecture curator and project producer. Her professional background includes previous roles as the Executive Director of the Colección/Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City from 2005-2008. There, Mirvali fortified and developed one of the most distinguished collections of contemporary art held by a private institution in Latin America. Mirvali also served as the CEO and Executive Director of Denver’s Biennial of the Americas for its 2013 edition, establishing the vision for their exhibitions, public art projects, and urban architectural interventions as well as its policy programs. Earlier in her career, Mirvali served as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador for Culture and Education, creating innovative art and educational programming led by the Embassy of the United States in Mexico City. Mirvali has also collaborated with renowned cultural institutions, artists, and architects around the globe as well as served on the boards of various cultural and educational organizations in cities including Bogotá, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Milan, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, Turin, and Vienna, as well as Berlin and Mexico City, where she was most recently based.

“Abaseh is a visionary leader and curator whose deep expertise and incredible relationships with artists and institutions around the world will prove invaluable to MCASB,” said Jacquelyn Klein-Brown, Board President, Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara. “With her international perspective and hands-on approach, the entire board is delighted to have Abaseh’s innovative vision for transformation and growth to shape the future of MCASB.”

“I am tremendously excited to be joining Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara at this incredible moment in the Museum’s trajectory,” stated Abaseh Mirvali. “I have met an incredibly special group of people with an immense commitment to this Museum and their community. It is an honor that, in me, they see the right partner to realize a shared vision for the future of MCASB. I am looking forward to collaborating with the MCASB family and the Santa Barbara and international cultural communities, to present an expanded vision of what a museum can provide in our times.”

In addition to conceptualizing the new curatorial and programmatic vision for MCASB, Mirvali will work with the Museum’s Board and staff to launch a capital campaign and plan for the construction of a new stand-alone building on property that the Museum purchased in 2017 with support from the Hutton Parker Foundation.  In preparation for the new museum, Mirvali will draw on her extensive experience both conceiving projects and delivering impactful exhibitions.  She will also create new collaborative opportunities that will further develop the Museum’s connections with Santa Barbara and beyond in the next chapter of its history.

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Abaseh Mirvali, New Executive Director, Chief Curator, and CEO, MCASB. Image courtesy Sergio Greif.