Since receiving her MA in Postwar and Contemporary Art from Sotheby's Institute in London, Sima Familant has been integrally involved in building important collections of contemporary art. While in London, Sima saw every show possible from the West End to the newly forming East End. At the time, London was in the midst of momentous change, from a stuffy old world art scene to a hotbed of artistic experimentation and rebellious careerism. The mood was exuberant as new galleries opened weekly and artists were everywhere. Sima attended Sam Taylor-Wood’s first solo show, visited Tracey Emin and Sara Lucas’ The Shop in the East End, and viewed the first Damien Hirst butterfly paintings, Steve McQueen videos, Chris Ofili dung paintings, and Douglas Gordon projections of vintage footage. She also had the opportunity to travel to Holland, Belgium, Germany, Paris, and New York to see notable exhibitions, such as Documenta, Munster Sculpture Project, and the Venice Biennale. Together, these experiences shaped her philosophy about art: You need to see art—a lot of art—to understand art; and engendered her strong commitment to, and love of, contemporary art, which has always served as the backbone in all of her ventures in the contemporary art world.
Sima began her professional career at Baumgartner Gallery in Washington DC, followed by a four year term as Director at Greene Naftali Gallery in New York. At Green Naftali, she curated exhibitions in addition to managing the gallery’s operations, artists, and collectors. From there, she moved to Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, where she served as Associate Director, and curated several critically acclaimed group shows of emerging and established artists. These exhibits connected seemingly disparate works, ideas, artists, and mediums, contextualizing the work of younger and mid-career artists like Francis Alys, Jack Pierson, Paul Pfeiffer, and Gedi Sibony within important ongoing themes and concepts in contemporary art, and revealed the influence of an older generation of artists such as Bas Jan Ader and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Many of the younger artists included in these shows have gone on to reach international recognition: Paul Pfeiffer won the first Melva Bucksbaum Whitney Biennial Award; Mark Bradford was in the Freestyle show at The Studio Museum in Harlem; De Rijke/De Rooij were shortlisted for the Hugo Boss Award; and Darren Almond was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. Additionally, during this time, Sima helped develop and foster the careers of young, emerging artists such as Cameron Martin, Katy Grannan, and Aida Ruilova.
Her time in galleries allowed her to develop relationships with many collectors as she helped them establish a curatorial vision and oversaw all aspects of their collections. This eventually led to the creation of her own art advisory in 2006 to best meet the needs of today’s sophisticated collectors in an increasingly globalized art world. Sima’s relationships with an international group of dealers, curators, critics, and artists allow her to provide comprehensive education and guidance to collectors, in addition to granting her access to the best works. By focusing on a select group of serious collectors, Sima provides a full range of services and guidance that draw on her gallery experience and is unlimited in artistic scope and geography.
In addition to her work as a curator and art advisor, Sima is on the Board of Steep Rock Arts Association Co., a foundation that is designed to provide emerging visual artists and curators with time, space, and professional guidance to explore their work in a supportive, thriving, and artistic environment. Sima is also a member of the board of LAX Art, a non-profit space in Los Angeles that offers a space for provocation, dialogue, and confrontation with practices in Los Angeles and abroad. Lastly, Sima serves on the board of Rhizome, an organization located within the New Museum that is dedicated to supporting the collaboration between contemporary art practices and emerging technology.