Andy Mann Archive

"How sad it would be, gentle viewer, if you were locked up in a closet with no opportunity to display the magnificence of your personal energies. So much of your potential would be wasted, so much potential energy never going kinetic. How devastatingly sad it would be, especially for you."
-- Andy Mann, September 1998

After living with pancreatic cancer for two years, Andy Mann died on Saturday, February 3, 2001. The above statement was written by Andy for his video program at Aurora Picture Show, September, 1998 (Full Statement). This sentiment not only reflects Andy's sense of humor, but stands the test of time and remains true for his archive, for which Aurora Picture Show is proud to manage.

The late media artist Andy Mann (1949-2001) was a pioneer of video art who lived in Houston for several years. Andy Mann left an extensive collection of his video art to Aurora Picture Show, with the desire to have the work distributed and screened for educational and artistic purposes. The Andy Mann Archive is housed in the Aurora Video Library and is comprised of over 500 videotapes, which date from the late 1960’s through 2001. Highlights of the collection include One-Eyed Bum (1974) recognized as a seminal early video work, and consistently requested for teaching purposes. Recently copies of One-Eyed Bum have been borrowed by Gene Youngblood, author of Expanded Cinema, and the Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute Library. Beyond a wealth of the artist’s own work, the Andy Mann Video Library contains dozens of candid video interviews Mann conducted with New York, Los Angeles, and Houston-based artists from 1970-1999. Amongst the interview subjects are late folk musician Phil Oaks, legendary performance artist Chris Burden, and the late painter Mark Lombardi.

Aurora Picture Show is honored to be the final repository for Andy Mann’s personal archive of his work. While limited copies of some of Andy Mann’s work may exist in the collections of his friends and colleagues throughout the video community, Aurora Picture Show in most cases possesses the original, or best existing copy of Mann’s videos. In many cases Aurora possesses the only copy of individual works. Aurora maintains the original 1/2” open reel copy of Mann’s tape, One-Eyed Bum (1974).


The late media artist Andy Mann (1949-2001) was a pioneer of video art who began his art career in New York City in 1969. Mann was a member of several historic video collectives such as the Videofreex, Perception, TVTV (Top Value Television), Global Village, and Raindance, as well as a regular contributor to the video art magazine Radical Software, founded in 1970. Mann also acted as video documentarian for performances by artists Hannah Wilke and Chris Burden. Recognized for his groundbreaking camera work, Mann was one of the earlier artists in the US to receive grant funds from the National Endowment for the Arts to produce video art (1975 and 1978). His videos were included in the 1973 and 1975 Whitney Biennials at The Whitney Museum of American Art; the 1973 Sao Paulo Bienal; the 1977 Documenta VI, Kassell, Germany; as well as exhibitions at the Walker Art Center; Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art; and Leo Castelli Gallery. Mann moved to Houston in the 1980s and began working in video installation and public sculpture. He was a producer for Access Houston cable since its 1987 inception, hosting a hybrid live video art program/talk show. Mann continued to produce videotapes until a few weeks before his death in 2001.
The Video Data Bank in Chicago writes of Andy Mann, “Andy Mann's videotapes are classic examples of the "street tape" genre-a video equivalent of "cinema verite," drawn directly from life, with a minimum of staging, acting or editing. The direct, candid style of Mann's tapes reflects the enthusiasm sparked by the new equipment amongst a whole generation of first-time video users; the possibility of capturing subjective experiences and details of the world in which one lived was tremendously exciting at that time, and was reason enough to go out and shoot a video.”