A look at 50 artists and 53 artworks from the 1950s to early 2000s as seen by two astute and wide-ranging collectors. The legendary curator Walter Hopps (1932–2005) was the founding director of the Menil Collection. His more than 50 year career included cofounding the legendary Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles with artist Ed Kienholz, serving as curator and then director of the Pasadena Art Museum (now Norton Simon Museum), and time at the Corcoran Gallery and National Collection of Fine Arts (now Smithsonian American Art Museum) in Washington, DC. He established himself as a voracious and eclectic collector of twentieth-century art, and together with his wife Caroline Huber—also a curator and artist who became codirector of Houston’s DiverseWorks—assembled an adventurous and diverse art collection. Hopps and Huber have donated or promised a large portion, more than 600 artworks, to the Menil Collection.
Clare Elliott, associate research curator at the Menil, selected a panoply of works from the famous to the idiosyncratic, just one slice that could be made from the gift’s treasure trove of riches. The artwork profiles are rich with Hopps and Huber’s adventures among the artists, often recounted by the artists themselves, and add insight and color to the art of our time, as well as highlight the contributions of these esteemed arts professionals to Houston, the Menil Collection, and the field of contemporary art.
Some of the Artists: Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner, Lois Connor, Beauford Delaney, Marcel Duchamp, Jay DeFeo, Louis Faurer, Sonia Gechtoff, Sam Gilliam, Virgil Grotfeldt, Richard Jackson, Edward Kienholz, Ron Nagle, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Carroll Sockwell, Anne Truitt