Big Medium is pleased to appoint Ryan N. Dennis and Evan Garza as curators and creative directors of the 2020 Texas Biennial.
“I am honored to co-curate this exhibition with my colleague Evan Garza on behalf of Big Medium. This exhibition and its subsequent program will share a Texas-tale that is sure to illuminate the many ways that artists are working now, and highlight the important conversations that Texas artists want to have now and shape the dialogue in the future.”
– Ryan N. Dennis
"I'm thrilled to work with Ryan Dennis and the staff of Big Medium to organize the 2020 Texas Biennial and its related programs, especially at such a consequential cultural moment. Ryan and I are excited to build a platform for the important work being produced in Texas and by Texans abroad. I'm honored to work with her and the team at Big Medium."
– Evan Garza
Ryan N. Dennis is the Curator and Programs Director at Project Row Houses in Houston, Tx. Her work focuses on African-American contemporary art with an emphasis on socially-engaged practices. She is deeply interested in the intersection of art and social justice while creating equitable opportunities for artists to thrive in their work.
Since joining PRH in 2012, she has organized and co-organized more than 10 Artist Rounds while producing the 2014 and 2018 Social Practice. Social Justice symposiums; the creation of the 2:2:2 Exchange Residency Program with the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, and established Project/Site. In 2017, she launched the PRH Fellowship with the Center for Art and Social Engagement at the University of Houston's Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts.
Prior to joining PRH, she worked at the Museum for African Art in New York City as the traveling exhibition manager. Her curatorial credits have included El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You about Africa, Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria and Jane Alexander: Surveys (from the Cape of Good Hope). Dennis has served as a community organizer and a curatorial assistant at The Menil Collection in Houston. Her writings have appeared online, in catalogs, and journals, she also contributed to the first monograph of artist Autumn Knight titled, In Rehearsal: Autumn Knight, published by the Krannert Art Museum.
Dennis earned her master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute with a focus in Curatorial Practice. She recently graduated as a proud fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership’s 2019 Fellowship Program.
Evan Garza is a curator, writer, and the former Director of Public Art at Rice University, where he served from 2016–2019 and oversaw major acquisitions of work by Sol LeWitt and Ursula von Rydingsvard and curated solo presentations by Nina Katchadourian, Erika Blumenfeld, Frederik De Wilde, and Jarrod Beck. Previously, Garza was Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin from 2014–2016, where he was managing curator of the exhibitions Warhol By the Book, Come as You Are: Art of the 1990s (2016), and WITNESS: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties (2015).
He is co-founder of Fire Island Artist Residency (FIAR), a New York nonprofit and the first LGBTQ artist residency in the United States, where he was Assistant Director from 2011-2015. Simultaneously, he served as Exhibitions and Public Programs Director at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 2013, Garza was appointed to the Boston Art Commission by Mayor Marty Walsh, a discretionary appointment for distinguished service in the arts, where he served as commissioner until his return to Texas in late 2014.
A Houston native, Garza has curated several exhibitions nationally, including PAINT THINGS: Beyond the Stretcher, co-curated with Dina Deitsch for deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum (2013), and william cordova: this one's 4U (pa' nosotros) at Boston Center for the Arts (2012). His writing has been published in several books and monographs, and by The Drawing Center, Flash Art, ART PAPERS, Hyperallergic, and Artforum. He lives in Houston with his husband, the writer and columnist Michael Andor Brodeur.