Published: October 17, 2000
Texas Monthly Gives 72 Photographs to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
HOUSTON, TEX. – Peter C. Marzio, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, announced that Texas Monthly has given the museum a collection of 72 photographs assembled to celebrate the magazine’s 25th anniversary in 1998.
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 to January 28, in Lovett Galleries of the Caroline Wiess Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet. 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, 500 McKinney.
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.”
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.
“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, Tibori & 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.
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