The Curator

Toby Kamps

Toby Kamps assumed the role as curator of modern and contemporary art at the Menil Collection in fall 2010. Prior to this appointment, he was senior curator for 3 ½ years at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston (CAMH), where he organized many exhibitions, including The Old, Weird America, a study of folk themes in contemporary art, which won a “Best Thematic Show Nationally” award from the U.S. chapter of the International Association of Art Critics. Other exhibitions he has organized include solo exhibitions by artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Ellsworth Kelly, Vanessa Beecroft, Martin Kersels, Adi Nes, Michael Queenland, and Torolab, a design collaborative in Tijuana, Mexico, as well as thematic survey and catalogue projects such as Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art.

Prior to his arrival in Houston, Mr. Kamps held posts at several notable arts and educational organizations and institutions. He served as senior curator of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and as director of the Institute of Contemporary Art and assistant professor at Maine College of Art. As curator and department head at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, he led the collections committee and was active in identifying and presenting works of art for acquisition. Over the years, in his writings, teaching, lecturing and exhibition programs, Mr. Kamps has spotlighted artists working in multiple media – painting, sculpture, photography, installation, and sound.

Earlier in his career Mr. Kamps served as curator of exhibitions with Madison Art Center in Madison (where he frequently lectured at the University of Wisconsin). As curatorial assistant at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis he co-edited the catalogue raisonné of Bruce Nauman. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in German from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, Mr. Kamps pursued postgraduate studies in art history at Kunsthistorisches Institut at the Free University in Berlin and assisted the English-language editors at Prestel-Verlag, the Munich-based art publishers. He then returned to the U.S. and took a master’s degree in art history from Williams College.