Since it inception, CAAM has remained true to one of its primary founding principles, namely to create a space for the conservation, cataloguing and study of works of art. The Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno Collection was initially fed from collections of Canarian art works acquired from the 40s by the Gran Canaria Island Council. This included works by artists from the 30s and 40s who had links to the Luján Pérez School of Decorative Arts, such as Jorge Oramas, Plácido Fleitas, Eduardo Gregorio, Felo Monzón and Santiago Santana, with works by other more contemporary Canarian artists being added subsequently from various exhibitions at the Columbus’ House Museum and the San Antonio Abad Exhibition Room.
The “El paso” group was established during the first meetings of the CAAM founding team, thus initiating the Spanish vanguard that became the point of departure for the Collection; it being noteworthy that two of its members are from the Canary Islands: Manolo Millares and Martín Chirino.
This premise is supported by the three-continent inaugural thesis, which opened up the museum’s collections to African, Latin American and European art and resulted in the acquisition of works by artists who participated in certain seasonal exhibitions that have been hosted by CAAM, such as Willie Bester, Sokari Douglas Camp, Berry Bicke, Jesús Soto, Marcos Lora Read and Thomas Ruff.
In tandem with this, CAAM rounded off its Collection with works dating from those periods that were considered to be insufficiently represented, such as the Spanish Art from 80s and 90s –José María Sicilia, Cristina Iglesias, Alberto García Alix and Luis Gordillo.
The San Antonio Abad Exhibition Room has been reopened and its commitment to researching and disseminating the latest plastic creations has stimulated a new dynamic in the Collection, enriching it with works that represent the latest trends in contemporary art.
The acquisition of the APM Collection in 2002 gave a new impetus and produced a significant change to the works of the CAAM. This Collection comprises 1,600 works, many of which are key pieces in the development of Canarian cultural movements during the 70s, 80s and 90s. Works by Central European artists such as Walter Dahn and Andreas Schulze are also worth mentioning.
Going further into this issue, 48 original works of art on paper and canvas by some key European artists of the 80s and 90s, such as Dokoupil, Condo, Longobardi and Salvo, among others, become part of the Collection.
CAAM continues to keep its finger on the pulse of contemporary art through contact with surrounding galleries and the artists themselves and by observing the trends evident in the works that form part of the seasonal exhibitions hosted by it. Thus, CAAM continues to enrich its collection with works that reflect its commitment to its founding principles and its spatial and temporal environment.