Native El Pasoan becomes assistant curator at EPMA

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Native El Pasoan becomes assistant curator at EPMA

Jaqueline Martinez, Contributor

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The El Paso Museum of Art’s newest assistant curator, Kevin Burns, was promoted in 2017 and has organized multiple exhibitions since he started. In his role as assistant curator, he will oversee the institution’s collections.

One exhibition organized by Burns is “Julie Speed: East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” which runs through April 7.

Burns is an El Paso native who received his degree in art history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

Before his promotion to assistant curator Burns was a curatorial intern as well as an associate for the education department at the El Paso Museum of Art.

“Kevin was here before I was here and I can’t say enough how lucky I am to work with (him), he is fantastic and I would’ve felt really proud to have hired him,” said Kate Green, senior curator for El Paso Museum of Art.

Green has a wide range of curatorial and educational experience working in museums in Portland and New York. She later directed a small museum in Marfa, Texas called Marfa Contemporary.

“That trajectory kind of tells you a lot about my interests and what brought me here, which is an opportunity to work with a wider collection that’s not just contemporary art and to think about the community here and what we can do through our exhibitions…” Green said. “How can we lead dialogue in this particular border plex, community? What kind of questions do we want to ask ourselves and what kinds of objects and programs do we want to offer audiences for generations to come?”

As assistant curator, Burns’ responsibilities include interpreting permanent collections, which is done through research, and spending time with the actual works of art on view and in storage.

“Another part of my duties are to also curate traveling exhibitions, like the one we are in right now,” Burns said of “Julie Speed.” “This is from a Marfa-based, contemporary artist and I worked on this show, met with the artist, selected the works that were going to be on the show — so it’s a little bit of everything.”

The El Paso Museum of Art aims to contribute to the community in sharing meaningful exhibitions and knowledge to the region by offering a wide range of works by artists from the region and contemporary works, such as past exhibitions that included artist Jose Guadalupe Posada.

“The exhibition that Kevin’s been working on right now opens next week, ‘Power and Piety: Spanish Colonial Art,’ so this is material that has probably never been seen here before and that we’re really looking forward to that exhibition,” Green said. “It’s fantastic. Kevin is doing an amazing job with that project.

Residing in a border city, the curatorial department is focused on ways to add conversation about the kind of work that is happening now, between both sides of the border, through fresh voices.