Abstraction after Modernism: Recent Acquisitions

Apr 26 – Aug 25, 2024
Main Building

John and Dominique de Menil believed that abstract art offered alternative and spiritual ways of approaching reality. “In a world cluttered with images,” Dominique de Menil said, “only abstract art, can bring us to the threshold of the divine.” Abstract Expressionism, a modernist approach to artmaking that rose to prominence in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s, intrigued the de Menils. Their patronage of several of these artists, such as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko, has famously become a pillar of the museum’s collection today.

Abstraction after Modernism: Recent Acquisitions highlights work made by succeeding generations of artists who forged new paths in their approaches to non-representational art. The exhibition brings together acquisitions made by the Menil over the past fifteen years, including work by Agnes Denes, Suzan Frecon, Sam Gilliam, Ellsworth Kelly, Rick Lowe, and Richard Serra.

Abstraction after Modernism is curated by Michelle White, Senior Curator, The Menil Collection, and Kelly Montana, Assistant Curator, Menil Drawing Institute.

This exhibition is generously supported by Nora and Bob Ackerley; Bettie Cartwright; Hilda Curran; Barbara and Michael Gamson; Linda and George Kelly; Franci Neely; Carol and David Neuberger; Scott and Judy Nyquist; Bill Stewart and Johanna Brassert; and the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.