Linda Cathcart

Linda Cathcart (1947–2017)

Paula Newton of Glasstire has announced that Linda Cathcart, executive director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston from 1979 until 1987, died in Santa Barbara, California.

During her time at the CAMH, Cathcart started the exhibition program Perspectives, designed to introduce Houston to local and national artists. Perspectives is still running and has logged more than two hundred shows, among them Cindy Sherman’s first museum exhibition. After leaving the CAMH, Cathcart opened an art gallery in Santa Barbara and established Casa Dolores: Center for the Study of the Popular Arts of Mexico.

Marti Mayo, the director of the Zimmerli Arts Museum at Rutgers and a former executive director at CAMH, said, “A challenging personality, at one moment warm, caring, and generous, at the next difficult, angry, and just plain mean, Linda was above all really smart and quick-witted. She loved art of all kinds and all ages. She loved the artists who made it and others in the art world—the curators, dealers, and collectors—who loved it, too. Perhaps most importantly for Houston, she professionalized the Contemporary Arts Museum—its exhibitions, publications, scholarship, operations, finances, staff, policies, procedures and art-handling standards—bringing it into a national and international dialogue with the visual arts beyond the region.”

“She’s responsible for so many people’s careers including mine,” said artist Nic Nicosia. “I can’t speak for Cindy Sherman and Robert Longo and Richard Prince but they were all in Buffalo when she was there. She was one of my favorite art world people of all time. Great museum director, had an amazing eye, and was a really good art dealer when I showed with her in LA.”