The Menil Drawing Institute (MDI) was established in 2008. The Board of Trustees recognized that the Menil’s artist-centered environment and growing collection of works on paper offered a singular opportunity. The MDI is the result of recognizing drawing as central to the lives of artists and crucial to modern and contemporary artistic culture.
The MDI has developed a national profile for exhibitions, scholarship, and collaboration. In addition to organizing important traveling exhibitions, including Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective (2012) and Lee Bontecou: Drawn Worlds (2014), the MDI is preparing the multiple-volume catalogue raisonné of the drawings of Jasper Johns and has forged a programmatic collaboration with the Morgan Library & Museum’s Drawing Institute.
Plans to construct a freestanding building for the MDI—the first solely dedicated to the exhibition, study, conservation, and storage of modern and contemporary drawing—were included in a master site plan developed in 2009. The Los Angeles-based firm Johnston Marklee was selected in 2012 to be the architects after an international competition. Completion is expected mid-2017.