Rex Koontz

University of Houston Professor Prepares Tomorrow’s Art Museum, Gallery Curators


Rex Koontz is on a mission at the University of Houston. For more than 20 years, the Moores Professor of Art History has been dedicated to training new generations of curators for art museums and galleries who help the public interpret the artwork on display and manage the collections.

“I think one of the things the University of Houston does so well is engage the city of Houston,” said Koontz, who works in the School of Art within the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts. “In our domain, the art world, the city of Houston is a rich environment, both for us to do research and to contribute to that art world, but also for our students to get invaluable professional experience and to really get their foot in the door and launch that career that can be so difficult if one doesn’t have experience in museums and galleries.”

Koontz said the education students receive at UH provides them the art historical foundation and experiences they need to succeed in artistic environments. “It’s been over the past 10 to 15 years since we instituted a graduate program in art history and made these collaborations with art institutions here work. This has been a really gratifying part of my job.”

Even Koontz’s role as a researcher plays an important role in his students’ education, helping them learn how to conduct research and properly record the results of such study. “They come here not to just be taught certain facts about art and the art world, they come here to see how great research in the arts is done,” he said.

For those considering how best to contribute to Houston’s art scene, Koontz has a simple solution. “If you want to impact the culture of Houston right now and sow the seeds for important cultural work by the people of Houston, by our students in the future, give to UH.”

Click below to watch the full interview with Rex Koontz.