The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce the appointment of Vanessa Davidson as its new curator of Latin American art. She was previously the Shawn and Joe Lampe Curator of Latin American Art at Phoenix Art Museum. Davidson succeeds Beverly Adams, who was named the Estrellita Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art at the Museum of Modern Art this spring.
“We are delighted to name Vanessa Davidson the new curator of Latin American art at the Blanton,” said director Simone Wicha. “A leading curator in the field, Vanessa brings a broad view of Latin American art histories, as well as an excellent record of exhibitions, scholarship, and publications to the Blanton. Building from the museum’s enduring leadership in the field, as curator of Latin American art Vanessa will continue to explore underexamined narratives, create dialogues between past and present, and shape the global conversation around art from Latin America.”
The Blanton was the first museum in the US to have a curatorial position dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art. Its collection of Latin American art, which began in 1963, has grown to include 2,800 objects from Latin America, with modern and contemporary painting, prints, drawing, conceptual art, installation, video, and sculpture, and a growing collection of art from the Spanish Americas. This year, the museum announced the endowment of a curatorial position by the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation as well as acquisition of the Huber Collection in that area.
“Vanessa’s wide-ranging knowledge of Latin American art, from modern and contemporary to colonial, will be an asset as she continues to grow the Blanton’s program,” said Carter E. Foster, deputy director for curatorial affairs at the Blanton. “Her curatorial and scholarly experience align very well with the Blanton’s collection, including her focus on Argentine and Brazilian conceptual art, one of many strengths of our Latin American holdings.”
Davidson will manage the presentation and development of the collection, organize exhibitions, and conduct research. She will also continue to collaborate with LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collection and the CLAVIS Center for Latin American Visual Studies alongside other UT faculty and researchers, a unique facet of the Blanton’s program.
“I am thrilled to join the Blanton’s unparalleled program and dynamic team as curator of Latin American art,” said Davidson. “I look forward to the opportunity to curate and develop the museum’s collection, to collaborate with its Latin American curatorial team, and to engage with the extensive UT Austin community of professors, scholars, and students to further understandings of Latin American art. My aim is to continue to participate in international dialogues about what art from this region is and can be, and also to involve more young scholars in such global conversations.”
During her eight-year tenure at Phoenix Art Museum, Davidson organized thirteen exhibitions on major figures in Latin American art, including Carlos Amorales, Valeska Soares, Paulo Bruscky, Antonio Berni, and Rufino Tamayo, which are all represented in the Blanton’s collection. She also has expertise in the art histories of the Spanish Americas and curated such exhibitions as Ave Maria: The Virgin Mary and the Archangels (2018–2019) and Masterworks of Spanish Colonial Art from Phoenix Art Museum’s Collection (2015–2016). She collaboratively organized two traveling exhibitions with institutions in Latin America, such as Past/Future/Present: Contemporary Brazilian Art from the Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo (2017–2019) with Dr. Cauê Alves, which traveled from Phoenix to the Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo. Previous to the Phoenix Art Museum, Davidson held research, curatorial, and exhibition assistantships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a PhD in 20th Century Latin American Art History with a minor in Spanish Colonial Art from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.