Department of Art and Art History News

Fine Arts Library Receives Collection of Noted Art Scholar Houlberg

Thu. October 18, 2012



A collection of around 1,200 books and catalogues that constituted the personal library of Marilyn Houlberg – Professor Emeritus of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago – and served as a resource for her research in the arts and anthropology of West Africa and Haiti, as well as related studies of popular culture in the United States, will become part of the collections at the Fine Arts Library.The College of Fine Arts has received a collection of materials from a noted scholar and academician in the arts and culture of Haitian Vodou.

Houlberg was an artist and leading expert on the arts and culture of Haiti and West Africa. A prolific writer on Haitian Vodou and its relationship to art, Houlberg contributed essays to a number of journals including “New Observations,” “African Arts” and “Aperture," and co-curated groundbreaking exhibitions on Haitian and African art, including the traveling exhibitions “Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou” and “Haiti: Vodou Visionaries.”

John Yancey, John D. Murchison Professor in Art at the university, says Houlberg’s influence cannot be overstated.

“Marilyn unveiled the complexity, power, and wonder of art and culture of Africa and the African diaspora,” says Yancey. “Her non-conformist aesthetics opened doors of perception for scholars, collectors and most importantly, for the artists themselves.”