Press RoomPhoenix Art Museum announces departure of Latin American art curator, plans for international search

Phoenix Art Museum announces departure of Latin American art curator, plans for international search

Sep, 06, 2019

Board of Trustees and Leadership

Phoenix Art Museum announces departure of Latin American art curator, plans for international search

Vanessa Davidson, the Lampe Curator of Latin American Art, concludes eight years of service on September 13

PHOENIX (September 6, 2019) – Phoenix Art Museum will begin an international search for the Shawn and Joe Lampe Curator of Latin American Art in late-September following the announced departure of Vanessa Davidson, PhD, who concludes nearly eight years in associate curatorial and curatorial roles on September 13. Davidson joined the Museum on October 3, 2011 as the Lampe Associate and advanced to the Lampe Curator of Latin American Art in 2013. Davidson will assume the role of Curator of Latin American Art at the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin in October 2019.

“We are incredibly grateful to Vanessa Davidson for her exceptional work with the Latin American Art collection at the Museum,” said Gilbert Vicario, the Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and The Selig Family Chief Curator at Phoenix Art Museum. “Vanessa was instrumental in growing the Latin American art collection and elevated the Museum’s Latin American art exhibitions to international acclaim. Her academic contributions and curatorial endeavors greatly enhanced the Museum’s legacy in the Latin American art community and for that we are grateful. The extensive collection and international reputation of the Blanton Museum provides Vanessa with an outstanding opportunity to continue her work advancing Latin American art and we wish her all the best in this next endeavor.”

During her tenure at Phoenix Art Museum, Davidson curated 13 exhibitions, including two that traveled internationally, as well as a number of landmark exhibitions that advanced global dialogue and furthered contemporary scholarship. In 2013, the Museum presented Order, Chaos, and the Space Between: Contemporary Latin American Art from the Diane and Bruce Halle Collection, featuring ground-breaking works from contemporary artists in the internationally-renowned Halle Collection. In 2016, Davidson curated Horacio Zabala: Mapping the Monochrome featuring a career survey of the Argentine artist’s work, including works that were ultimately gifted to the Museum. In 2017-2018, the Museum presented Past/Future/Present: Contemporary Brazilian Art from the Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo and Valeska Soares: Any Moment Now, exhibitions that featured cutting-edge contemporary works from Brazilian artists, both accompanied by exhibition catalogues. Davidson will continue to lead curatorial efforts at Phoenix Art Museum for the upcoming Oscar Muñoz: Invisibilia exhibition opening in 2021.

Additionally, Davidson co-edited and authored six substantial scholarly publications, including three bilingual catalogues, a first in the Museum’s history, and worked closely with the donor community to grow the Museum’s Latin American collection by more than 400 objects. Today, approximately 1,000 objects comprise the collection, ranging from historical Spanish Colonial objects to contemporary art from across Mexico and Central and South America.

“The past eight years at Phoenix Art Museum are very dear to my heart,” said Davidson. “The opportunities I have had to engage in the international conversation of what Latin American Art is and can be, and to present exhibitions that illustrate that conversation at Phoenix Art Museum have been extraordinary. While leaving Phoenix is a difficult decision, I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Museum and to support the work Phoenix Art Museum continues to do. The Blanton Museum’s outstanding collection and international reputation provides me with a singular opportunity to continue my efforts in advancing understandings of Latin American art in the global community.”

The Museum will launch its international search for the next Shawn and Joe Lampe Curator of Latin American Art in late-September 2019. The new curator will continue to maintain and develop support for the expansion of the Museum’s Latin American art collection, while bringing a fresh perspective to the development and interpretation of the Museum’s Latin American art exhibitions. The recruitment posting will be available at

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About Phoenix Art Museum

Since 1959, Phoenix Art Museum has provided millions of guests with access to world-class art and experiences in an effort to ignite imaginations, create meaningful connections, and serve as a brave space for all people who wish to experience the transformative power of art. Located in Phoenix’s Central Corridor, the Museum is a vibrant destination for the visual arts and the largest art museum in the southwestern United States. Each year, more than 350,000 guests engage with critically acclaimed national and international exhibitions and the Museum’s collection of more than 19,000 works of American and Western American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. The Museum also presents a comprehensive film program, live performances, and educational programs designed for visitors of all ages, along with vibrant photography exhibitions made possible through the Museum’s landmark partnership with the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum, visit, or call 602.257.1880.

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