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After Nationwide Search, Blaffer Art Museum Welcomes Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow

Tyler Blackwell brings a wealth of contemporary art knowledge to museum position.

The University of Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum proudly welcomes Tyler Blackwell as the new Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow. Funded by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts, the fellowship offers an emerging curator hands-on experience planning, researching and executing exhibitions in Blaffer’s galleries. 

After a nationwide search, Blaffer’s Jane Dale Owen Director and Chief Curator Toby Kamps found the ideal candidate in Blackwell.


“Tyler stood out in a pool of strong candidates. He is a great match for the position and brings a deep knowledge of and enthusiasm for contemporary art, as well as extensive museum experience on both the curatorial and education sides,” says Kamps. 

Most recently, Blackwell served as a curatorial research assistant at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, where he supported the museum’s curator of global contemporary art with collection acquisitions, public programs and special exhibitions, including “Tang Chang: The Painting that is Painted with Poetry is Profoundly Beautiful”. Previously, he worked for the Art Institute of Chicago’s Learning and Public Engagement and Modern and Contemporary Art departments and served as the assistant director of exhibitions at Johalla Projects, an alternative art space for emerging artists and writers. He curated “Vampire’s Kiss” at Chicago’s Aspect Ratio gallery, on view this summer.

As the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow, Blackwell will work closely with Kamps to organize upcoming exhibitions and publications, coordinate installation, manage schedules and budgets, and liaise with artists, lenders and partner institutions. He will also have the opportunity to organize public programs with Katherine Veneman, Blaffer’s curator of education, and assist with fundraising and publicity efforts.

Blackwell is particularly interested in global narratives of modern abstract painting and art made after 1989. His research often focuses on the historical context surrounding artists exploring ideas of mass media, struggle and change, and the transition from analog to digital media in the modern world.

Blackwell holds a B.F.A. in art, art history and arts administration from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an M.A. in art history and the humanities from the University of Chicago. He will serve as the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow for two years, beginning this fall, with the possibility of renewal for a third.