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Closed Today
Free Admission
1533 Sul Ross St.
Houston, TX 77006
713-525-9400
Closed Today
Free Admission
1533 Sul Ross St.
Houston, TX 77006
713-525-9400

Menil

French Folk Art

Main Building
Coinciding with Photography and the Surreal Imagination, this small installation in the Menil’s hallway presents a selection of vernacular French folk art from the collection, including a dragon-shaped weathervane, wire-sculpted corset, and barbershop sign with a horsehair tail. Purchased largely in French antiquarian shops and flea markets in the 1950s and ‘60s by Dominique de Menil, these objects exemplify one of the museum founder’s eccentric interest in the everyday. They also resonate with the works on display in the nearby Surrealist galleries. The movement’s leader, André Breton, was famously devoted to Paris’s Saint-Ouen flea market, writing, in 1928, “I go there often, searching for objects that can be found nowhere else: old-fashioned, broken, useless, almost incomprehensible.” Many artists affiliated with Surrealism shared this affinity. They made a practice of walking the city’s streets and visiting its flea markets, open to the kind of chance inspiration that these objects, charged with the ghost of their former lives, might spark.