Blanton Museum of Art Names Inaugural Curator of Latino Art

The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, has announced Claudia Zapata as its first associate curator of Latino Art. Zapata is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, with a joint affiliation with the school’s departments of art history and Chicana/o and Central American studies. They will take up their new post in July. Zapata previously worked on the groundbreaking traveling exhibition “¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now,” curated by E. Carmen Ramos of Washington, DC’s  Smithsonian American Art Museum and on view at Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, New Hampshire, through June 17.

The Blanton in Feburary acquired 5,650 works from the Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia Collection, one of the world’s largest assemblies of Chicano and Latino art as part of its effort to become a major center for modern and contemporary Latino art. In their new role, Zapata is charged with inventorying and researching the collection, and with producing a related catalogue. “It’s not a diversification of a financial portfolio where it’s a very removed market experience,” Zapata told Artnews. “It’s very personal, and you can see that in the collecting practice.”

Last month, the Blanton inaugurated two new gallery spaces dedicated to Latino art with an exhibition devoted to portraits by Chicano artists. The creation of Zapata’s curatorship, which the museum announced in February, is part of the larger Advancing Latinx Art in Museums initiative launched that month by the Ford, Getty, Mellon, and Terra foundations. The consortium’s aim is to pool $5 million that will fund the creation of ten Latinx art–focused curatorial positions over a five-year span. The Blanton plans to endow Zapata’s position at the end of that period.


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