Valerie Cassel Oliver, senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, has become a powerful force in contemporary art. She made indelible impressions while co-curating the “2000 Whitney Biennial” and curating the “Double Consciousness” show, which explored the conceptual-art practices of African Americans — a shout-out to Du Bois’ theory that blacks don’t need to look at themselves through the eyes of others. Her achievements earned her the coveted 2011 David C. Driskell Prize for original contributions to African-American art. *
In an interview with ARTNews, Cassel Oliver said, “There are artists from myriad social and cultural backgrounds who are not fully represented in today’s art world, and we need to ensure their stories are part of the rich narratives we bring to life in our museum. I bring a perspective of inclusivity, and I want to create a context that engages a public that can see itself reflected in the museum. Doing so allows the discussions around art to be broader and only serves to make the entire field stronger.”**
Valerie Cassel Oliver is the senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, where she has organized numerous exhibitions including Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Cartoons in Contemporary Art (2003); the acclaimed Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970(2005); Black Light/White Noise: Sound and Light in Contemporary Art (2007);
Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image with Dr. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee (2009); Hand+Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft; and a major retrospective on Benjamin Patterson entitled Born in the State of Flux/us (both 2010); as well as the survey, Donald Moffett: The Extravagant Vein (2011). In 2012, she mounted the project Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art and in 2014, a major survey of drawings by Houston-based and internationally recognized artist, Trenton Doyle Hancock entitled Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones–20 Years of Drawing. Both exhibitions toured extensively. Most recently, Cassel Oliver mounted a survey of work by Jennie C. Jones entitled Compilation, on view at CAM Houston through March 2017.***
Oliver, Valerie Cassel, and Charles Henry Rowell. “Interview with Valerie Cassel Oliver.” Callaloo, vol. 32, no. 1, 2009, pp. 57–64. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/27655019.
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