Speed Art Museum welcomes Tyler Blackwell as new Curator of Contemporary Art

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Speed Art Museum welcomes Tyler Blackwell as new Curator of Contemporary Art
Blackwell will be leaving his current position as Cynthia Woods Mitchell Associate Curator at the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, Texas.

LOUISVILLE, KY.- The Speed Art Museum welcomes Tyler Blackwell (he/him) as the new Curator of Contemporary Art starting August 1, 2022. Blackwell will be leaving his current position as Cynthia Woods Mitchell Associate Curator at the Blaffer Art Museum in Houston, Texas. Specializing in queer and historically underrepresented artist practices, post-1960s abstract painting and sculpture, and digital media, Blackwell has worked in museums for over 10 years.

“I am honored and thrilled to join the Speed at this pivotal time in the Museum’s history,” said Blackwell. “As the institution considers new ways to explore and center stories that have been historically marginalized or under-looked, I am eager to collaborate and contribute to a program that advances the Speed as a vibrant, welcoming, and multivocal hub for dialogue, gathering, and exploration. I strongly believe artists and museums are uniquely positioned to help us both learn from our diverse histories and contemplate the complex, pressing issues of today. In tandem with the team at the Speed, I am looking forward to activating our museum and grounds as an active place for community exchange, global questions, and new ideas.”

Since his arrival at the Blaffer in 2018, Blackwell has worked in close collaboration with the museum’s director to rethink and expand the institution’s diverse and multidisciplinary program of artist-centric exhibitions, publications, public programs, and community engagement. He has organized or coorganized solo exhibitions for the museum with a range of emerging and established international artists, including: Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Rodney McMillian, Rebecca Morris, Jagdeep Raina, Jacqueline Nova, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, and Yoshua Okón. In 2021, Blackwell co-curated with Steven Matijcio the group exhibition Carriers: The Body as a Site of Danger and Desire, which featured the work of fifteen Houston-area artists addressing issues of identity, community health, and social inequality. He also organized the Houston presentation of the 2019 traveling survey exhibition of the work of Paul Mpagi Sepuya, an artist whose photographs were recently acquired by the Speed Art Museum. Blackwell’s final projects at Blaffer Art Museum include forthcoming presentations of Hugh Hayden, Maria A. Guzmán Capron, Monira Al Qadiri, Leslie Martinez, and Jacolby Satterwhite. He is currently working on the first major museum survey devoted to the interdisciplinary practice of artist Marie Watt (Seneca Nation of Indians and German Scot) that will now be mounted by the Speed Art Museum.

Blackwell previously held positions at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, where he supported permanent collection acquisitions and the organization of wide-ranging exhibitions, commissions, programs, and performances. His writing has been published in exhibition catalogues for the Blaffer, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smart Museum of Art, and the Centre for Fine Arts Brussels. Blackwell holds a MA in Art History and The Humanities from the University of Chicago.

“I am thrilled to welcome Tyler to the Speed and to our Louisville community,” said Speed Director Raphaela Platow. “His wide-ranging experience in the contemporary art world and his deeply-rooted passion for uplifting the voices of artists perfectly align with our mission. As we look toward the future of the Museum, we are grateful to have Tyler shepherding us on our journey in contemporary art as we invite dialogue, ask questions, and continue in our discovery.”

Blackwell will report to Erika Holmquist-Wall, who will return to her role as Chief Curator of the Speed after a brief hiatus. Erika is a leading curatorial voice in the art world and has brought national and international exhibitions such as Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism, Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper, and Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art to the Speed as well as revisioning the permanent collection and producing exhibitions to highlight and uplift local women artists in the Kentucky collection.

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