New Albright-Knox director aims to bring "spirit of fun" to gallery

Jan 15, 2013

The new leader of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is being called a "visionary" arts director with extensive European experience.

Janne Sirén, director of Helsinki Art Museum in Finland, will take over for former Gallery director Louis Grachos. 

Siren, who was born in Helsinki, was introduced at a news conference Tuesday morning.  Siren said as he looks to the future, he wants to add more digital components to the Gallery.    

Albright-Knox welcomes Finland native, 42-year-old Janne Sirén as new director
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

"We must, perhaps, ask ourselves the question, How can we share this unique, national treasure with a broader global community? I think that if we can be pioneers in the field of combining traditional modes of presentation with contemporary, technological ones, we really can make a significant footprint in that arena," Siren said.

The 42-year-old Siren, who received his undergraduate and graduate education in the U.S., called coming to Buffalo a "homecoming." He served as a special forces operative in the Finnish Military and taught art history at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  

The new director says it is important for communities to invest in culture.

"I've seen nations built on a foundation of culture and I've seen nations falter because they've lacked that foundation," Siren said. "The most important thing  is that ultimately, culture is fun. I want to share that spirit of fun." 

New Albright-Knox leader chats Janne Sirén (right) appears at Gallery
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

Siren is expected to begin his post late spring or early summer.  He will come to Buffalo with his wife and three young children.