Best Curator Houston 2003 - Kim Davenport
University art galleries aren't typically known for cutting-edge contemporary art. But when Kim Davenport arrived at Rice Gallery almost ten years ago, she transformed a moribund institutional space into a venue for dynamic site-specific installations. The gallery was only the second U.S. institution -- after the Museum of Modern Art -- to host a project by Shigeru Ban, the Japanese architect who has designed everything from cost-efficient refugee housing to the second-place proposal for the World Trade Center site. Last spring Rice Gallery housed 7,000 pounds of cardboard for Phoebe Washburn's enormous vortex of consumer product boxes. Prior years have hosted projects as varied as Michael Shaughnessy's giant hay sculpture, Jennifer Steinkamp's animated video projections and Stephen Hendee's faceted architectural environment (which looked like a techno-green version of Superman's fortress of solitude). It's definitely worth wandering onto campus to see who Davenport brings in next.