The fifth art building to join the Menil neighborhood—the Menil Drawing Institute—opened to the public on Saturday, November 3, 2018. The Menil Drawing Institute was established in 2008 to further the study of modern and contemporary drawings, and since that time it has organized important traveling exhibitions including Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective (2012) and Lee Bontecou: Drawn Worlds (2014).
Additionally, the six-volume catalogue raisonné of the drawings of Jasper Johns was produced under the auspices of the institute. Recognizing that the museum’s artist-centered approach and growing collection of drawings offered a singular opportunity, the Board of Trustees chose to incorporate a building dedicated to modern and contemporary drawings into the Menil’s institutional master plan. Los Angeles-based architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee (Johnston Marklee) were selected to create a distinctive freestanding structure dedicated to the acquisition, exhibition, study, conservation, and storage of these artworks.
The unique 30,146-square-foot building features a trio of spacious courtyards and a design that modulates daylight in a way that both illuminates and protects delicate works on paper. Significant gifts have been instrumental to the Menil Drawing Institute’s early and continuing success, and the Menil has now established a special acquisition fund for modern and contemporary drawings.