Steven Matijcio Departs Blaffer Art Museum for Knoxville Museum of Art

by Glasstire January 11, 2024

Steven Matijcio, who since the spring of 2019 has served as the Jane Dale Owen Director and Chief Curator of the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston (UH), will leave the institution to become the Executive Director of the Knoxville Museum of Art in Knoxville, Tennessee. Mr. Matijcio’s final day at the Blaffer will be January 26. 

Mr. Matijcio came to Houston from the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, where he served as the head of the curatorial department. His directorship at the Blaffer was preceded by Toby Kamps’ brief tenure, and also by the seven-year leadership of Claudia Schmuckli, who oversaw a major renovation of the museum’s building.

A man in a grey suit smiles at the camera

Steven Matijcio

During his time at the Blaffer, Mr. Matijcio curated numerous group and solo exhibitions, many of which highlighted artists who are either based in or have significant connections to Texas. He organized Jamal Cyrus: The End of My Beginning, a major mid-career survey of work by the Houston-based artist, which ultimately traveled to the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. He also curated exhibitions featuring works by Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin, Paul Anthony Smith, Martine Gutierrez, and others. 

In a statement announcing Mr. Matijcio’s departure to the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts’ faculty and staff, the college’s Dean, Andrew Davis, wrote, “Steven has overseen a leading, ambitious, and comprehensive curatorial program of exhibitions that has garnered national attention…” He went on to note that during his tenure at the museum Mr. Matijcio has made significant fundraising accomplishments, both in terms of private support and grant funding, and has also broadened the museum’s focus “to embrace the widest possible spectrum of interdisciplinary artistic activities, truly fulfilling his vision of making the museum a site for collaboration and discovery across the arts.” 

In addition to his role within the museum, Mr. Matijcio also served as the Artistic Director of the Mitchell Center for the Arts, a separate university institution that organizes annual public programs, artist talks, and hosts artists-in-residence. For the Mitchell Center, Mr. Matijcio founded and organized Convergence Research, an ongoing series of collaborative interdisciplinary performances often hosted at the Blaffer. 

Mr. Matijcio oversaw last year’s 50th anniversary events at the Blaffer, which included a major gala and exhibition of works selected by former Blaffer directors, and the publication of the new book Two Front Doors, 50 Years of the Blaffer Art Museum.

Of his time at the Blaffer, Mr. Matijcio wrote in a statement, “I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished over those 50 years, and especially for the past five years in which I have had the pleasure and honor of overseeing this esteemed entity.”

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