Tejas Englesmith, Houston curator, arts administrator, and radio personality, died Sunday morning, February 7 in a Dallas hospital. In the 1960’s and 70’s, Englesmith was assistant director of the Whitechapel Gallery in London, a curator of contemporary art at the Jewish Museum in New York and director of the Leo Castelli Gallery.
Tejas was born in London in November, 1940. His parents immigrated to Houston in the 1950s where his father, George Englesmith, was an architect. Tejas graduated from Bellaire High School and attended the University of St. Thomas. He was a protege of Jermayne MacAgy, the first director of the CAMH (then CAA). She encouraged him to go to London where he accepted a position at the Whitechapel. He was curator there in the mid-1960s and curated Rauschenberg’s first European exhibit.
In the late 1960s, Tejas was named curator of Contemporary Art at the Jewish Museum in NYC. He was there until the early 1970s when he was named director of Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. In the late 70’s, Englesmith moved back home to direct the Houston branch of Max Hutchinson Gallery. When Hutchinson closed, Tejas remained in Houston, working for KUHF Channel 8, notably bringing in critic Robert Hughes to Houston to judge auction artwork, DJ-ing a late night shift on KPFT radio, and acting as the voice of Theater Under The Stars.
He is survived by his sister, Suzelle Poole, of Dallas. There will not be a service, at Tejas‘ (pronounced like wedges) request.