As the newly named director of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Hesse McGraw is shaking up the status quo.
Looking at the growing number of museums and galleries redefining their role in the public realm, some might argue the art world is on the brink of a revolution—and Hesse McGraw is at the vanguard. To his new post as CAMH’s 10th director, McGraw brings a strong curatorial background and an even stronger record of championing artists and extending their agency. “I think we’re at a moment where museums across the country need to step into the future and change, in terms of how we relate to our audience, cultivate support and communicate our belief in art with the world,” explains the Kansas City native. Viewing his position as “a charge to imagine new possibilities and invent a new future for the organization and our community,” McGraw says he feels particularly honored to join such a long-standing institution. (CAMH turns 72 this year.)
While working to advocate for artists on the broadest possible scale is McGraw’s general objective, he cites three specific goals that inform his vision for CAMH. For one, McGraw aims to “ensure the museum’s relevance within the national dialogue, and position it at the center of the art world.” Equally as important is his plan to expand CAMH’s impact, both by bringing new artists to Houston as well as commissioning art that has a larger life outside of Houston. His third mission? “To reach beyond our walls, in terms of projects that occur outside the museum, but also in terms of who our audience is.” With genuine enthusiasm for CAMH’s growing role in the community, McGraw credits much of his hopeful perspective to Houston itself. For this city, he believes, “is a place where the future can be invented.”
Note: CAMH is temporarily closed to the public, but you can still enjoy the museum from home. View the website for more details.
Photography by: Mike Sinclair