Linda Shearer, who came to Texas (from the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts, where she was director from 1989 to 2004) to serve as interim director for the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), is now the official interim director of the Houston Center for Photography (HCP) after unanimous approval from its board.
After holding down the fort at the CAMH, she did a short stint as the interim managing director at the Houston Cinema Arts Society. In 2009, Shearer took a real job as executive director of Houston’s Project Row Houses until 2015, when she “retired.” Now, HCP has pulled her back in.
Shearer has an impressive contemporary art resume (which, besides Williams College, includes MOMA and the Guggenheim) and tons of interesting stories. And her career includes working with the likes of Cindy Sherman and many others. Oh, and there’s that Mapplethorpe portrait of her leaning casually in her hallway.
Among many other things, she actually knows a bit about photography. Congratulations to HCP! SCORE!
Either Shearer is really strong and respected or she is a complacent puppet. Those seem to be the pre-rec for being arts administrator in Houston, with the latter being the bulk of those executive directors.
To good thing HCP is in the location it is, or it may not get the same attention.
Houston is fortunate that Ms. Shearer remained in town after stewarding CAMH when Marti departed. EDs report to a board of directors which means they may have as many as 20 bosses. It’s not easy and EDs regularly have to experience very unpleasant, unprofessional or ill-informed board members. Houston’s worthy arts organization sometimes experience upheaval at the executive level—it’s the nature of the beast. I am grateful that Linda Shearer was available and willing on the many occasions that one of Houston’s arts organizations was going through a difficult transition. For Houston, Ms. Shearer has been a needed and experienced person with integrity to come in and take charge of a job that is by definition temporary and is an often strained if not somewhat scandalized environment. Thank you, Linda Shearer.