Maria C. Gaztambide, PhD, is the inaugural director and chief curator of Public Art of the University of Houston System.

Prior to joining the University of Houston, Gaztambide served as associate director of the International Center for the Arts of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, a research center focused on twentieth century Latin American and U.S. based Latino art. During her nearly 13-year tenure at MFAH, her work spanned administration, publications, research and long-term exhibition projects such as Contesting Modernity: Informalism in Venezuela, 1955-1975 (2018), Contingent Beauty: Contemporary Art from Latin America (2015); and Intersecting Modernities: Latin American Art from the Brillembourg Capriles Collection (2013). There she also directed a continentally-scaled collaborative program centered on the archival retrieval and massive dissemination of primary sources and critical documents from Latin America and the United States that are made available to the global learning community through a web-based platform.

Previously, she taught art history and served as the curator for Tulane University’s Woldenberg Art Center, conducted field research projects for the Archives of American Art and Smithsonian Institution, and served the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico during its gestational phase. She is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and holds master’s degrees in Art History and Arts Administration as well as an interdisciplinary doctorate in Latin American Studies from Tulane University. She publishes regularly on modern and contemporary art, and her first monograph, El Techo de la Ballena: Retro-Modernity in Venezuela (2019), is available through the University of Florida Press.