Opened in 1987 and designed by acclaimed Italian architect Renzo Piano, the main building houses art from prehistoric to the present day. Exhibited in sky-lit galleries are special exhibitions and artworks from the permanent collection.
The Cy Twombly Gallery opened in 1995. On display are five decades of paintings and sculptures by Twombly, an American artist known for expressing the ineffable qualities of language, art, and time. A collaboration between the artist and architect Renzo Piano, the building, with a design based on classical symmetry, was created to display a veritable retrospective of Twombly’s career.
The Menil Collection Bookstore offers a broad range of volumes from the Menil Collection imprint, including many rare exhibition catalogs, as well as an array of contemporary art, architecture, design, and special interest books. The shop also features a large children’s book and toy section, carefully curated gifts and merchandise, and a special selection of jewelry and artwork by Texas-based artists.
Shaded by live oak trees, the Menil green spaces are integral to the museum’s aesthetic and experience and in uniting the 30-acre campus. The outdoor expanse includes Menil Park, McGovern Green, and a large grass lawn and deck located to the west of the entrance to the Menil Drawing Institute. The neighborhood and green spaces are punctuated with outdoor sculpture by artists that include Jim Love, Michael Heizer, Mark di Suvero, Ellsworth Kelly, and others.
In the 1980s, two 13th-century frescoes that had been stolen from a church in Lysi, Cyprus, and broken into fragments were put up for sale. The Menil Foundation purchased the frescoes on the church’s behalf and financed their restoration. In 1997, the Byzantine Fresco Chapel, designed by the architect Francois de Menil, opened. The frescoes returned to Cyprus in 2012, and the chapel was deconsecrated. The building is currently off view to the public.