October 3, 2017

Rice University Receives Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s Archive

HOUSTON, TEXAS—The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston has donated its archive of documentation, including photographs, correspondence, audio and video recordings, and other ephemera, to the Fondren Library’s Woodson Research Center Special Collections and Archives at Rice University. The donation covers all CAMH exhibitions and programming since its founding in 1948 by seven Houston artists. The museum will contribute to the archive as its operations continue.

“CAMH is committed to being free and accessible to the general public,” said Contemporary Arts Museum Houston director Bill Arning. “Our institution has shared the art of our time with audiences for nearly seventy years. The wealth of experiences and knowledge that can be gained from our treasure trove of materials will prove to be a marvelous resource for academic and personal research. Founded as a kunsthalle, or non-collecting institution focused on presenting current art and artists, our archives represent CAMH’s institutional legacy in a way that other museums are defined by their permanent collections. The richness of this legacy will be explored for generations, with help from our friends at Rice.”

The archive contains materials from some of the most prominent American and international contemporary artists, many of which exhibited at CAMH early in their careers, including John Chamberlain, Cindy Sherman, Ann Hamilton, Clifford Owens, and Shirin Neshat, as well as critical art historical exhibitions such as “Mark Rothko,” from 1957, and “Totems Not Taboo: An Exhibition of Primitive Art,” from 1959. The Woodson Research Center will also receive and digitize recordings of a performance by Merce Cunningham, and lectures by Vito Acconci, Lorna Simpson, and Fred Wilson, among others. The collection will be made available to the public before the end of 2017.

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