Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Houston, TX



The Pictures of Texas Monthly: Twenty-five Years

October 28, 2000 - January 28, 2001


Peter C. Marzio, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, announced on October 9, 2000 that Texas Monthly has given the museum a collection of 72 photographs assembled to celebrate the magazine's 25th anniversary in I998. The magazine, which has been recognized as one of the country's best and emulated by other regional and city publications, built its reputation with writers and photographers of national caliber. Annie Liebovitz and Mary Ellen Mark, for example, are among the photographers who helped Texas Monthly establish its strong regional identity with vivid images of the people and culture of the state. The Pictures of Texas Monthly: Twenty-five Years will be on view October 28 - January 28, 2001 in Lovett Galleries of the Caroline Wiess Law Building. A selection of images from the collection will then travel to 12 libraries in Houston and Harris County over the course of two years, beginning in February with the Houston Public Library Jesse H. Jones Building.

"The museum is extremely grateful for this important gift from Texas Monthly," Marzio said. "This collection enriches the museum's photography collection and broadens its holdings of works by Texas photographers."

Michael R. Levy, publisher of Texas Monthly, said, "Given the significance of this collection and the way it captures the imagery of 25 years of Texas, we believe that MFAH is the most appropriate home for it. We know that these photographs will be well-preserved and that the museum will provide many opportunities for them to be viewed by a wide and diverse audience." (left: Michael R. Levy, publisher of Texas Monthly. Photo courtesy MFAH)

The photographs in the collection were selected for an exhibition recognizing the 25th anniversary of the magazine, which was founded in 1973. Anne Wilkes Tucker, the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography at the MFAH, helped select the photographs along with two staff members from the magazine: D. J. Stout, former art director, and Nancy McMillen, former associate art director. Their choices, culled from thousands of photographs that appeared in more than 300 issues of the magazine, represent a 25-year slice of Texas life.

Among the photographs are images of annual Texas events such as the rattlesnake roundup in Sweetwater and the Alligator Festival in Anahuac. People portrayed include actors Tommy Lee Jones and Lou Diamond Phillips, sports stars George Foreman and Hakeem Olajuwon, art collector Stanley Marsh III, former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, former Governor Ann Richards, and musicians Don Henley, Selena, and ZZ Top. Some subjects became celebrities of a sort after their pictures were published in Texas Monthly. The portrait of Joaquin Jackson, a Texas Ranger, was so popular that it became a best-selling poster. Besides the strong individual pictures, important essays were commissioned by the magazine on subjects as varied as Texas sheriffs, juke joints, Friday night football, the Kilgore Rangerettes, criminals, and women with big hair. Most of the photographs are color, several are sepia tone, and the rest are black and white. (left: cover of February, 1998, Texas Monthly special anniversary issue. Photo courtesy MFAH)

Among the best known photographers represented in the collection are Liebovitz (Former Governor Ann Richards), Mark (Arrested Drug Suspect and Small Town Rodeo Cowboys), Keith Carter (Boy With Bee and Former President Bush with Millie), James Balog (Atlantic Green Sea Turtle), Mark Seliger (Writer Sarah Bird), and Geoff Winningham (Friday Night Football and Western Wear). The MFAH already has works by 20 of the photographers in its permanent collection.

"These photographs tell us so much about Texas in the last quarter of the 20th century," said Tucker, the MFAH curator. "They reveal the state's strong ties to the history and the myth of the West as well as its prominence in modern politics and industry. In these faces and places, we see Texas from many angles provided to us by inspired photographers. The MFAH is fortunate to be able to share these images with its visitors."

The Pictures of Texas Monthly: Twenty-five Years premiered at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in January, 1998. Accompanying the exhibition was a book of the same title published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Following its run at the Presidential Library, the exhibition traveled to venues in Dallas, Houston (the Houston Center for Photography), San Antonio, El Paso, Fort Worth, New York City, and Los Angeles. In February, 1998, Texas Monthly published most of the images in a special anniversary issue.

Texas Monthly is in its 28th year of publication, has a circulation of 300,000, and is read by almost 2 million people each month. Texas Monthly is published by Texas Monthly, Inc., which is owned by Emmis Communications Corporation. Emmis, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, owns and operates television and radio stations in the United States and owns other regional magazines.

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 4/6/11

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