Knoxville Museum of Art Announces Appointment of New Executive Director

January 11, 2024

The Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) announced today the appointment of Steven Matijcio as the museum’s new executive director following a national search. Matijcio is leaving his post as director and chief curator at the Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston. He succeeds David Butler, who retired at the end of December after serving as the KMA’s executive director since 2006. 

Matijcio comes to the KMA with a wealth of curatorial and administrative experience and a solid track record of significant engagement with contemporary art and artists at a global level. Prior to his position at the Blaffer Museum, Matijcio served as curator at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio (2013-2019) and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (2008-2013). He previously held positions in a number of important galleries and museums including the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg; Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto; Art Gallery of Ontario; and National Gallery of Canada. He was chosen from an international pool of candidates in 2011 to participate in curatorial residencies in Gwangju, South Korea and Berlin, Germany; named artistic director of the 2012 edition of the Narracje Festival in Gdansk, Poland; and more recently was chosen as commissaire (artistic director) of Manif d’art—the Quebec City Biennial. He has lectured on theory and criticism at the University of Manitoba, written for numerous catalogs and journals (including the Guide to the 27th Sao Paulo Bienal), and was commissioned in 2003 by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to curate one of its first online exhibitions. Matijcio holds a master’s degree from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, New York and bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto. 

Taylor Wortham, chair of the KMA’s Board of Trustees, notes that “Steven’s experience and qualifications are very impressive, but what stood out to all of us during the hiring process was his passion for art and history, as well as his smart, enthusiastic, and outgoing personality. He and his wife, Anita, who just welcomed their first daughter last summer, enjoyed a wonderful visit with us for his final interview, and I know they’re really looking forward to becoming a part of our museum family. I could not be more excited to introduce him to our supporters and the rest of the Knoxville community, and I look forward to his contributions to this next chapter of the KMA.” 

“I spent the formative years of my career in the Southeast,” says Matijcio, “and the values this region invests in community, people, and culture have continued to resonate. I’m excited to engage all of these cornerstones in Knoxville and build upon the inspiring ascent of the KMA in the state and country. The KMA has thought a great deal about what Appalachia means locally and nationally, and we will navigate what a “Global Appalachia” means today, tomorrow, and well into the future.” 

Steven Matijcio begins his duties at the KMA in late February.