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Closed Now
Wed–Sun 11am–7pm
Free Admission
1533 Sul Ross St.
Houston, TX 77006
713-525-9400
Closed Now
Wed–Sun 11am–7pm
Free Admission
1533 Sul Ross St.
Houston, TX 77006
713-525-9400

Menil

Inside the Living Room

Menil Drawing Institute

Untitled (S.228, Hanging Six-Lobed, Discontinuous Surface (3 sections) with Interlocked Top Section) (ca. 1956) by Ruth Asawa

Untitled (S.228, Hanging Six-Lobed, Discontinuous Surface (3 sections) with Interlocked Top Section) (ca. 1956) by American artist Ruth Asawa (1926–2013) is on view in the new Menil Drawing Institute during its inaugural year. The suspended sculpture, an exploration of line in three-dimensions, is created of thin metal threads crocheted into a vertical sequence of teardrop and orb-like forms.

The sculpture belongs to the artist’s series of Looped Wire works, which borrow from the traditional wire weaving methods of basket makers in Toluca, Mexico. Asawa understood this art form in terms of drawing. “I was interested in [the technique] because of the economy of a line, making something in space, enclosing it without blocking it out. It’s still transparent. I realized that if I was going to make these forms, which interlock and interweave, it can only be done with a line because a line can go anywhere,” she explained.

Asawa’s Looped Wire works grew out of the artist’s time at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina, which she attended from 1946 to 1949. There she studied with Josef Albers, Merce Cunningham, Willem de Kooning, and Buckminster Fuller. The school’s pioneering multi-disciplinary approach and emphasis on humble materials had a significant impact on artists practicing in New York City. John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg, for example, carried on the ethos that deeply impacted an entire generation of artists who came of age in the 1950s, including Jasper Johns.

About Ruth Asawa
Asawa was born in California, outside of Los Angeles, and resided in the northern part of the state for much of her life. Her work has been exhibited widely since the 1950s, including a 1965 solo exhibition organized by Walter Hopps (the first director of the Menil Collection) at the Pasadena Art Museum. Her work is held in major museum collections throughout the United States, including the De Young Museum in San Francisco, which houses a permanent installation of fifteen looped wire sculptures.

This project is generously supported by the City of Houston

Menil Drawing Institute Wall Drawing Project: Roni Horn, Wits’ End Sampler

The Menil Collection has invited American artist Roni Horn (b. 1955) to install her recent wall drawing, Wits’ End Sampler, 2018, in the central gathering space of the Menil Drawing Institute. Horn’s work consists of hundreds of hand-written idioms and clichés that the artist has collected over the years. “Elvis has left the building,” “it takes two to tango,” and “happy as a clam” are among the arcane and familiar phrases silkscreened onto a thirty-foot wall in the naturally lit space.

The Menil Drawing Institute actively seeks new approaches to the form and language of drawing. This particular piece specifically addresses the mutability of language and meaning.

The Menil Drawing Institute will present the first American museum exhibition devoted to Roni Horn’s drawings, Roni Horn: When I Breathe, I Draw, from February 15 to September 1, 2019. The two-part show will showcase Horn’s commitment to the medium in works ranging from monumental pigment and cut paper drawings that take language as their subject to photographic works that reassemble image.

About Roni Horn
Roni Horn lives and works in New York and Reykjavik, Iceland. Her work has been the subject of major exhibitions including Roni Horn at the Foundation Beyeler, Basel, (2016); Roni Horn a.k.a Roni Horn, at the Tate Modern, London, (2009-2010); and Some Thames at the Art Institute of Chicago (2004). Her work is held in major collections across the world.

Lead funding for the Wits’ End Sampler installation in Houston is provided by Scott and Judy Nyquist with additional funding from Nina and Michael Zilkha.

Artists

Ruth Asawa
Roni Horn