Tyler Blackwell (he/him) is currently the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Speed Art Museum. Specializing in queer and historically underrepresented artist practices, post-1960s abstract painting and sculpture, and digital media, he has worked in both university and encyclopedic art museums.

For the Speed, Blackwell has initiated a new focus exhibition series called “Current Speed,” which will focus on emerging and mid-career artists. The first iterations of this series center on Sky Hopinka (2022), Angel Otero/Leslie Martinez (2023), and Kathia St. Hilaire (2024, co-organized with the Clark Art Institute), Vian Sora (2025, co-organized with the Santa Barbara Museum of Art). He is also currently at work on the first major museum survey devoted to the interdisciplinary practice of artist Marie Watt (Seneca Nation of Indians). He is leading the effort to build and significantly broaden the Speed Art Museum’s contemporary collection and to rethink its contemporary art displays.

Previously, from 2018-2022, he was the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Associate Curator at the Blaffer Art Museum, a leading contemporary art institute on the campus of the University of Houston. During his tenure at the Blaffer, Blackwell worked in close collaboration with the museum’s director to rethink and expand the institution’s diverse and multidisciplinary program of artist-centric exhibitions, publications, public programs, and community engagement. For that museum, he organized or co-organized solo exhibitions with a range of emerging and established international artists, including many artists’ first museum presentations in the United States. These included major exhibitions of Monira Al Qadiri, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Rodney McMillian, and Rebecca Morris, as well as focus shows of Leslie Martinez, Jacolby Satterwhite, Maria A. Guzmán Capron, Jagdeep Raina, Jacqueline Nova, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, and Yoshua Okón. In 2021, Blackwell co-curated the group exhibition Carriers: The Body as a Site of Danger and Desire, which featured the work of fifteen Houston-area artists addressing issues of identity, community health, and social inequality. He also curated the Houston presentations of the 2019 traveling survey exhibition of the work of Paul Mpagi Sepuya (organized by CAM St. Louis) and the 2021 traveling survey exhibition of artist Hugh Hayden (organized by ICA Miami). 

Prior to 2018, Blackwell held positions at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, where he supported permanent collection acquisitions and the organization of wide-ranging exhibitions, commissions, programs, and performances. His writing has been published in exhibition catalogues for the Blaffer, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smart Museum of Art, and the Centre for Fine Arts Brussels. Blackwell holds a MA from the University of Chicago.

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Image: Molly Zuckerman-Hartung