The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin announces the appointment of Dr. Claudia Zapata as the museum's first Associate Curator of Latino Art.


This key curatorial position was established as part of an institution-wide initiative to expand the Blanton's focus on Latino art.  Zapata is currently the Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Departments of Art History and Chicana/o and Central American Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles. Most recently, they served as curatorial assistant for Latinx art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in support of the current exhibition ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now, which has redefined the history of U.S. printmaking. They will join the Blanton's curatorial team in July. 


In their new position at the Blanton, Zapata will direct the project to inventory, research, catalogue, and digitize the artworks recently gifted and purchased from the Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia Collection, in addition to producing a publication on this landmark gift, which includes more than 5,000 works. They will oversee collection rotations in the Blanton's recently opened galleries dedicated to Latino art. While Zapata will work closely with Davidson within the Blanton's Latin American art department, they will also collaborate with all curatorial areas of the museum as well as with university faculty, helping to advance Latino studies across the campus and beyond. 


"Undoubtedly, the Gilberto Cárdenas and Dolores Garcia Collection gift to the Blanton is one of the most historic events in Latino art," said Zapata. "I am honored to join the Blanton curatorial team to guide the advancement of Latino art's study and presentation using this expansive and comprehensive collection. The Blanton is leading the charge for museums with their new permanent Latino art galleries, demanding space for this significant contribution to American art. We aim to make this institution the preeminent site for Latino art study and appreciation, serving local to international communities."


Prior to their role at the Smithsonian, Zapata served as the first curator of exhibitions and programs at Austin's Mexic-Arte Museum from 2010 to 2014, where they curated solo exhibitions on seminal Mexican and Mexican-American artists Sam Coronado, Arturo García Bustos, and José Guadalupe Posada. They have published widely in the field, including the forthcoming essay "The Future is Feminist: How the Maestras Atelier Transformed Self Help Graphics" in the anthology Self Help Graphics & Art at Fifty. They co-founded the Puro Chingón Collective, an experimental art group that develops zines, prints, apparel, designs, and art toys. The collective's zines are part of the collections at the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Library and Archives, the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston, the Mexic-Arte Museum, and the London College of Communication Library, among many others. Zapata holds a doctorate in Art History from Southern Methodist University and a master's in Art History from The University of Texas at Austin.