March 31, 2023

UT Visual Arts Center Appoints New Director


The Visual Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin announced that it has appointed  MacKenzie Stevens as its new director.

Stevens joins the VAC from the UCLA’s Hammer Museum in Los Angeles where she was part of the curatorial team for four years. Stevens begins her appointment at UT on Oct.1.

MacKenzie Stevens joins UT’s Department of Art and Art History as Director of the Visual Arts Center.

“We are thrilled to have MacKenzie Stevens shape the next iteration of the Visual Arts Center,” writes Jack Risley, chair of UT’s Department of Art and Art History, of which the VAC is a part. “For eight years, the VAC has served a crucial role at the university and Central Texas as a non-collecting, university gallery committed to staging distinct and defining projects. Stevens joins us at a time that is ripe for transformative ideas and programing.”

Stevens takes over the VAC post from Amy Hauft who had been serving as interim director. The center has five galleries in which it exhibits student and faculty art work along with projects commissioned from established national and international artists. It also features exhibits curated by students.

A native Texan with deep family ties to the state, Stevens said she is excited to take up the post at UT.

“I want to broaden the center’s relationship with the local community,” Stevens said. “I’m really looking forward to taking a deep dive into Austin’s art scene, making studio visits with local artists and getting to know art spaces and galleries.”

During her time at the Hammer Museum, Stevens worked on a number of exhibits including the first North American retrospective of Jimmie Durham, which toured f to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Remai Modern in Saskatoon, Canada. She was also part of the curatorial team for the last two iterations of the “Made in L.A.” series, the Hammer’s biannual that celebrates artists from greater Los Angeles area.

Prior to her time at the Hammer, Stevens held editorial, research, and archival positions in Los Angeles and New York City at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and Pace Gallery. Stevens received her B.A .in art history from the University of California-Berkeley and her M.A. from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.

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