Director’s Note

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) began its 75th-year celebration in October 2023, an extraordinary milestone for a Museum that started as an unlikely, nomadic venture. Yet, from our earliest exhibitions, CAMH made its mark. This Museum thought differently about living artists' importance and value to local communities and society. CAMH’s first-ever show—This Is Contemporary Art—brought the post-war concerns of artists into direct contact with the everyday lives of Houstonians. Imagine how radical it was to see an Alexander Calder Mobile next to a cheese slicer in a museum. That show was a thunderclap that set the stage for countless innovations over the last 75 years.

Actually, we did count: since 1948, CAMH has exhibited the work of 4,082 artists. This astounding number spans the history of 20th and 21st-century art, from Mark Rothko to DJ Screw. Our legacy is alive—from the first solo museum shows of Ernesto Neto, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, and so many others to groundbreaking exhibitions such as Dále Gas—the first-ever exhibition of Chicano art—and upcoming exhibitions of works by Theaster Gates and Vincent Valdez, which will meaningfully expand the reach of the Museum through direct collaboration with communities across Houston.

For 75 years, CAMH has introduced leading-edge artists to Houston, amplified the work of regionally based artists, welcomed new audiences to contemporary art, and presented exhibitions that define global art history. As a non-collecting Museum, our unique mandate is to be present, to connect artists and audiences through the urgent issues of our time, and to adventurously promote the catalytic possibilities of contemporary art. While we remain true to this originating purpose, our role is expanding: Today, CAMH serves as a civic-minded organization with a dual focus on excellence in exhibitions and programming within the museum and meaningful impact with communities through partnerships and public art.

This year will be extraordinary and demanding. We will continue our legacy of presenting groundbreaking exhibitions through group shows like Six Scenes From Our Future and THIS WAY: A Houston Group Show and upcoming banner solo exhibitions with Olivia Erlanger and Theaster Gates. We also continue to expand our curatorial and education outreach beyond our walls through partnerships with Houston ISD, Houston First, and Houston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy.

CAMH’s future will jointly emphasize direct support for artists, benefits to our city and audiences, and positive social change. Your support and belief in CAMH bolsters our effort to connect artists with communities to inspire change in Houston and beyond.


Hesse McGraw
Executive Director

Past Director’s Notes

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