"HOUSTON, THIS IS YOUR MUSEUM"
-Dominique de Menil, opening day, June 4, 1987
The Menil Collection opened its doors to the public 25 years ago. Admission to the museum and all of its programs remains free of charge – and will always be so. Josef Helfenstein has been director of the museum since 2004.
News and developments, as the Menil approaches its silver anniversary:
- Conducting research, mounting exhibitions, and publishing, the Menil Drawing Institute will also be housed in its own building as part the museum's master site plan.
- In the rapidly developing urban fabric of Houston’s Museum District, the Menil's 30-acre campus of bungalows and green space has preserved the historical significance and original residential character of the neighborhood.
Menil curators have redesigned and reinstalled the museum’s African and Pacific Islands galleriesMenil exhibitions and publications – such as Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage; Ancestors of the Lake; Upside Down: Arctic Realities; and African Art at the Menil Collection – have won top awards from such professional and peer groups as the International Association of Art Critics.
· Exhibitions that have
originated at the Menil help to take the message of Houston's excellence in the arts across the country and around the world.The Menil has launched a major, multiple-volume publishing project, The Catalogue Raisonné of the Drawings of Jasper Johns
• The Menil, leading a collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art and Harvard Art Museums, has launched the Artists Documentation Program. Conceived by renowned conservator Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, ADP features in-depth interviews with artists about the conservation of their work, creating an indispensable resource for scholars, students, and artists – as well as anyone interested in the making and preservation of modern and contemporary art.
- The Menil has established curatorial and conservation fellowships with Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin. The museum also initiates educational programs with the University of Houston, Texas Southern University, University of Saint Thomas, and Houston Community College
- Writing at the Menil – part of Writers in the Schools (WITS) – brings thousands of public-school students to the museum throughout the year.
• In the decade since its creation, the Menil Archives, housed within the museum building, has become an indispensable source for information about the de Menil family and the museum’s history and also houses a number of important related collections
PRAISE FROM THE PRESS: June 1987 – Today
- "The word enchantment is, for once, literally appropriate ... The Menil enhances the experience of art."– The Wall Street Journal
- "The Menil Collection is an ever-glowing ember ... A potent civic presence... The museum's offerings are the highest-quality works from many centuries and cultures that enchant, intrigue, challenge and puzzle."
–The Houston Chronicle
- "One of the most exhilarating museums and greatest private art collections in the United States." – The New Yorker
- "If this is a Houston neighborhood collection, the world could use a few more such neighborhoods ... A mandatory stop on the art-world circuit."
–Art In America
- 'Rare and attractive, important and eclectic ... One of the biggest surprises in a surprisingly culturally-driven city" –Financial Times of London
- "The Menil is the most exquisite of museums" – The New Republic
- "Its fusion of contemplative galleries and natural light has put the Menil on many an art lover's short list of cherished places..." –LA Times
- "Poetry and pizzazz ... Lovely, serene – a wonder to behold." –The Nation
- "Ranks nationally with the great private collections: The Frick in New York, the Phillips in Washington, D.C., the Gardner in Boston ... This is one of the world's premier private collections." –Texas Monthly
- "Because of the Menil Collection, Houston has become a special pilgrimage for the modern art lover." –The San Francisco Examiner
- "This very sophisticated museum combines modern works with ancient and tribal art, illuminating connections among them ... Renzo Piano's gray-cypress building [is] a marvel of elegant simplicity on the outside and cool repose within." –Travel Holiday
- "A serene, utopian art village ... There is nothing else like it in America."
–New York Times Magazine
- "Housing masterpieces, a true triumph of modern architecture ... the Menil is infused with natural light and a sense of natural landscape."
–Morning Edition, National Public Radio
- "One of the world's foremost collections of twentieth century art."
–Michelin Green Guide to the USA
- "A word to the ambitious: Don't start a museum unless your taste is impeccable, for you will be judged by museums of the Menil's quality and elegance."
–Edward Albee, Nest Magazine
- "Renzo Piano's first building on American soil, is restrained and elegant ... Art is the focal point. If great encyclopedic museums are like dictionaries; the Menil is like a poem."
–The 100 Most Beautiful Museums in the World, Rebo International Books, The Netherlands
- "What makes the museum truly bold is that it has been designed to serve art rather than make a monument of itself." –House & Garden
- "A gem ... Widely esteemed as one of the greatest and most eclectic museums in the United States ... a magnificent assemblage in a simple but elegant building." –1,000 Places You Must See Before You Die
- "One of the brightest stars in the Art Universe" –Vanity Fair
- "Extraordinary ... The spiritual heart of the Texas art scene."
–National Geographic Traveler
- "Shockingly good" –Artforum