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New ASU Art Museum curator plans to expand, diversify museum’s audience

New ASU Art Museum curator Julio Cesar Morales plans to bring more Latin American culture and community involvement to the museum.

Morales, who started Sept. 4, was welcomed to the museum with a reception Tuesday evening.

He said he will focus on national artists and movements, with a focus on Latin American art.

Morales said he is interested in Arizona’s cultural issues, such as immigration and education. He said he wants to create artistic conversations about these issues and socially engage the communities they affect.

“I really would love to engage more of the student body here,” Morales said. “I’m interested in seeing different ways in which we can bring more audiences from the University … and from the community, without losing a sense of the exhibition.”

Morales said he wants to create a diverse audience of frequent museum-goers and people who have never stepped into a museum.

“I want to create that kind of excitement in the museum where I can engage with other people,” he said.

In addition to curating, Morales also creates his own artwork and has taught students ranging from elementary school to universities.

Museum spokeswoman Deborah Sussman Susser said Morales is respected as a curator.

“He’s won all kinds of big grants and he’s had wonderful shows,” Sussman Susser said. “He’s also somebody who is very thoughtful and interested in pursuing certain directions that … will be very powerful.”

Morales said he wants to find artists who have not had traditional art training, such as graphic designers and architects, to contribute to museum exhibits.

He said he wants to work with non-art majors so they can add a richer conversation to art and its environment.

ASU Art Museum Director Gordon Knox said Morales’ community-based approach to his work is phenomenal.

“He approaches concepts of identity,” Knox said “He approaches issues of surveillance, of nationality of information and of sort of the ‘us’ of community.”

Morales is researching an exhibition with Fundación Jumex, a Mexican company that owns a museum with art from Mexican and international artists.

Morales will travel to Mexico City and work with other curators to prepare a display for 2013.


Reach the reporter at or follow her on Twitter @jackiecsolis


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