Valerie Cassel Oliver is the senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Prior to her tenure at CAMH she was director of the Visiting Artist Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a program specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts.
In 2000, she was one of six curators selected to organize the Biennial for the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
At the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston she has organized numerous exhibitions including Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Cartoons in Contemporary Art (2003); the acclaimed Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970 (2005); Black Light/White Noise: Sound and Light in Contemporary Art (2007); Cinema Remixed and Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Imagewith Dr. Andrea Barnwell Brownlee (2009); Hand+Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft and a major retrospective on Benjamin Patterson entitled, Born in the State of Flux/us (both 2010); as well as the survey, Donald Moffett: The Extravagant Vein (2011). In 2012, she mounted the project, Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, currently touring through 2015. In April of this year, she opened a major survey of drawings by Houston-based and internationally-recognized artist, Trenton Doyle Hancock entitled, Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones–20 Years of Drawing. The exhibition is slated to travel to Akron, Ohio for presentation September 2014.
Cassel Oliver has lectured widely and published extensively. In 2007, she received a Getty Curatorial Research Fellowship for initial research for the exhibition on Benjamin Patterson and was a fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership in 2009. In 2011, she was awarded the prestigious David C. Driskell Award for her scholarly excellence and contribution to the field of African American art and culture. In 2012, her coorganized exhibition Cinema Remixed and Reloaded (CRR 2.0) earned the distinction of being the first exhibition project from the United States to be accepted as an official project of the Havana Biennale.