Schmuckli Named Director of Blaffer Gallery

After a nine-month national search, Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston, has selected Claudia Schmuckli, the museum's acting chief curator, to fill the position of director.

The Blaffer search committee, led by advisory board emeritus Shirley Rose and College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences dean John Antel, cited that Schmuckli "possesses the talent, experience and energy to step into her new role."

"The national search yielded many highly qualified candidates," Antel said. "The search committee took particular notice of Claudia's strong leadership in the absence of a director over the past nine months. Her vision for the museum combined with the impressive list of exciting exhibitions that she organized made her most qualified for job."

Schmuckli has been with Blaffer Gallery since 2004 when she joined the staff as director of public relations and membership. In 2006, she was appointed curator. Prior to moving to Houston, Schmuckli lived in New York City, serving as assistant curator at the Museum of Modern Art from 1999 through 2003 and as curatorial assistant at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum from 1997 through 1999. She holds a master of arts degree in art history from the Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany.

Schmuckli has been a pivotal figure in the presentation of contemporary art in Houston. Her most recent projects for Blaffer were Chantal Akerman: Moving through Time and Space (2008) and the Houston Area Exhibition (2008). Past exhibitions include Amy Sillman: Suitors & Strangers (2007), Katrina Moorhead: A Thing Called Early Blur (2007) and Urs Fischer: Mary Poppins (2006).

"I am excited to take the reins at this particular moment in time," Schmuckli stated. "I inherit a healthy institution with an exceptionally dedicated staff, enthusiastic board and an ambitious agenda. With new university leadership in place that has made the advancement of the arts one of its top priorities, this is a unique opportunity to build on past successes and to expand the reach of the museum's exhibitions and programs on and off campus."

The opening reception for the two winter exhibitions, Electric Mud and Texas Oil: Landscape of an Industry is 6 - 8 p.m., Jan. 16. Blaffer Gallery encourages the public to attend this free event to help welcome Schmuckli into her new role.

"It has been a pleasure working with Claudia since she joined the museum," noted Russell Sherrill, chairman of the Blaffer advisory board. "Our board is confident in Claudia's ability to lead the Blaffer and continue its success in reaching local, national and international audiences."

About Blaffer Gallery:
Founded in 1973, Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston, was named in honor of the late Sarah Campbell Blaffer, a noted Houston arts patron and collector. Since its inception, the museum has been a vital force in the presentation and promotion of contemporary visual arts in Houston. Blaffer Gallery is located in the Fine Arts Building on the University of Houston's central campus, entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard. It is free and open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Sundays, Mondays and University holidays. The museum is ADA compliant. For general inquiries, please call 713-743-9530, or visit the museum online at

About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas' premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.