Leslie Moody Castro
MA in Art Education, 2010
Leslie is an independent curator and writer, living between Mexico City and Austin. She is a contributor to the online Texas visual arts journal Glasstire, as well as the Austin-based contemporary art e-journal, … might be good. She has curated exhibitions at testsite, Women & Their Work, and Artpace.
What were you up to before applying to the Art Education graduate program?
I concentrated on Mexican art during my undergraduate study. I had done a research project that took me to Mexico for a brief week, and I totally fell in love with the city. A little later, I decided I needed a change, and I packed my bags and moved to Mexico City. I wanted to see what artists were doing, what the contemporary art community was like, and what I could learn from it. It was one of my best decisions.
What led you to choose an MA in Art Education here at the department?
I didn't want to do a traditional curatorial program or an art history program. I learned from living in Mexico City that there's a lot of distance between the public and curators, and I wasn't interested in being an institutional curator. Mexico taught me that there is no difference between education and curation—they go hand-in-hand. It seemed like a really natural fit to me, but it was an incredible challenge. I was totally out of my element, but made invaluable relationships and learned a ton.
What did you take away most from the department?
I always felt a great sense of camaraderie and support. I never felt totally overwhelmed or isolated. I know a few people who have felt really alone during in their graduate programs. I never had that experience. We were a tight-knit group, and I still continue to consult my graduate school colleagues all the time. We work together frequently and we are always in touch.
What else were you involved in during your time at The University of Texas at Austin?
I was an intern in the Latin American Department at the Blanton Museum of Art for a year and a half. I was lucky enough to work with Pablo Vargas-Lugo’s eclipse project in the Darrel K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, which was a crazy experience. I was also able to work closely with the little-known residency program between the Blanton and the former Creative Research Lab. I also curated independently at Women & Their Work, and One9ZeroSix in San Antonio.
What are some of your experiences as a contributor to Glasstire and … might be good?
I love that Glasstire provides the space for me to do artist interviews. I love getting into artists' studios and just talking about the work. It keeps me informed and on my toes, and following up with an interview piece really provides great exposure for a lot of artists that don't always get it (and deserve it!). With … might be good, I always appreciated the project space. It really pushed me to think outside of the box in terms of working with an artist on a project. Since the magazine lived online in a 2-D format, we always had to think about how to communicate to this different audience. Two of the project spaces turned into larger projects, one of which was at testsite with Armando Miguélez.
What is your mission as curator, working between Mexico City and Austin?
I am interested in opening the lines of communication between the two cities. Austin can learn so much from Mexico, and we are neighbors, so there's no reason why we shouldn't strive to be more open and international.
What keeps you inspired?
Constantly seeing things. I appreciate Mexico City so much because art is everywhere, there are always new things happening, it's a challenge, and there are a million places to see art of every kind. Staying inspired means always training my eye, staying up-to-date, visiting artists and talking with them, getting into studios, and shaking things up.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Take advantage of every opportunity and make every opportunity a learning experience.