The Curatorial Imagination of Walter Hopps

Mar 24 – Aug 13, 2023
Main Building
Once dubbed “the marvelous mad maven of modern art in America,” Walter Hopps (1932–2005) estimated that he had curated some 250 exhibitions in his 50+ year career. Hopps’s impressive curatorial record constitutes the framework of The Curatorial Imagination of Walter Hopps, which features more than 130 artworks by 70 artists, many of which are recent or promised gifts to the museum from Caroline Huber and the Estate of Walter Hopps. The show will explore the influential curatorial vision of Hopps, the Menil Collection’s Founding Director, as well as his distinctive approach to exhibition making and appreciation for a variety of 20th-century art movements. It features drawings, paintings, photography, and sculpture, ranging from the 1930s to the early 2000s.
The book Artists We’ve Known: Selected Works from the Walter Hopps and Caroline Huber Collection, highlights 50 artists and 53 works selected to show the couple’s personal and wide-ranging assembly as represented by their gifts and promised gifts. The book is now available for purchase at the Menil Bookstore and online.

The Curatorial Imagination of Walter Hopps is curated by Clare Elliott, Associate Research Curator.

Major funding for this exhibition is provided by Lea Weingarten. Additional support comes from Henrietta Alexander; Eddie and Chinhui Allen; Nancy C. Allen; Anne Levy Charitable Trust; Suzanne Deal Booth; Clare Casademont and Michael Metz; Angela and William Cannady; Hilda Curran; Barbara Davis; Janet and Paul Hobby; John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation; Linda and George Kelly; Mary Hale Lovett McLean; Susan and Francois de Menil; Betty Moody; Carol and David Neuberger; Marilyn Oshman; Leslie and Shannon Sasser; Mark Wawro and Melanie Gray; Leslie Field and Morris Weiner; Nina and Michael Zilkha; and the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.

Artists on Walter Hopps: Larry Bell, George Herms, and Ed Ruscha. | The Menil Collection, Houston, TX. March 24, 2023.
“The Curatorial Imagination of Walter Hopps” at the Menil Collection, Houston. Video: Jay Clark
Artist Talk: Robert Longo. | The Menil Collection, Houston, TX. April 13, 2023.
Book Talk: “Artists We’ve Known”: Don Quaintance, Mel Chin, and Terrell James. | The Menil Collection, Houston, TX. June 15, 2023.