Less than a year after becoming director and chief curator of the University of Houston’s Blaffer Museum of Art, Toby Kamps will leave the institution to become White Cube gallery’s director of external projects. He will now be based in London, and will be charged with managing the gallery’s relationships with foreign institutions.
Kamps has been well-known in the Texas museum world for the past decade. Prior to becoming the Blaffer’s director, Kamps was the Menil Collection’s curator of modern and contemporary art for seven years. He has also held positions at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and the Maine College of Art’s Institute of Contemporary Art in Portland. But he is not entirely new to the art market sphere—he has, since 2016, overseen the Frieze art fair’s “Spotlight” sector, at both its New York and London editions, which features curated solo presentations put on by participating galleries.
The news comes as White Cube, which has two locations in London and one in Hong Kong, prepares to expand its enterprise. The gallery recently opened an office on Madison Avenue in New York, and last month it announced that it had hired Eric Shiner, previously the senior vice president of the auction house Sotheby’s, as its artistic director in the city.
Kamps’s hire is the latest example of a museum official leaving for a market-oriented organization. Before working at Sotheby’s, Shiner had been the director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Florence Derieux, formerly of Paris’s Centre Pompidou, joined Hauser & Wirth as director of exhibitions last year, and this year, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland senior curator Andria Hickey joined Pace Gallery as its senior director and curator.