In the 1970s, when local exhibition space was scarce for contemporary art, three pioneering young artists formed the San Antonio Museum of Modern Art (SAMOMA). Founded by Norman Rene Avila, Donjon Evans and George Horner, SAMOMA presented exhibitions, performances, lectures and film screenings from 1976–79. The exhibition space, strategically named a museum in hopes of attracting grants, operated from two locations in the Alta Vista neighborhood and quickly became a gathering place for local artists and their followers.
In an effort to bring this important part of San Antonio art history to light, Artists of SAMOMA from the SAMA Collection features 37 multiples, limited-edition prints created by SAMOMA artists in 1979. The exhibition also includes pieces by artists who exhibited at SAMOMA and subsequently had their work collected by SAMA: Judy Bankhead, Rolando Briseño, Larry Graeber, Jim Harter, Marilyn Lanfear, Henry Stein, Kathy Vargas, Robert Willson and Gene Elder, whose Time Capsule containing works by 100 San Antonio artists and writers remains sealed within SAMA’s walls until the Museum’s 2181 Bicentennial.
In conjunction with the exhibition, SAMA presented “A Conversation with the Founders of SAMOMA” and a panel discussion “Artist-Run Spaces in San Antonio Today.”
Larry Graeber, who served as live-in caretaker at SAMOMA, is among the artists whose work is part of SAMA'S Collection.