Arts / Museums

Big Reveal of Musical Headliner for Storied Museum

This Grammy-Winning Performer Is a Coup

BY Catherine D. Anspon and Matthew Ramirez // 10.26.17

Among the most fabled dates of the fall social datebook in Texas is The Menil Collection’s 30th anniversary ball, devised in the grand tradition of Surrealist fêtes. Event designer Todd Fiscus and caterer Jackson and Company have been tapped by gala chairs Adelaide de Menil Carpenter, Allison Sarofim and Stuart Parr, Leigh and Reggie Smith, and Phoebe and Bobby Tudor to craft the ultimate Surreal evening on Saturday, December 2, aligned with the night before the long moon, and inspired by a tiny but revealing treasure from the collection — Max Ernst’s Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, a holiday gift from the artist to the de Menils, bestowed Christmas 1955.

The ball is titled Luminous, and we know the night will be just that. Prepare your elegant evening finery.

Now the most closely guarded detail of the historic gala can be revealed — the night’s musical headliner. And we’re sure it would be one that Dominique de Menil herself would approve of.

Republic of Benin, Africa-born vocalist Angélique Kidjo performs; she took home the 2016 Grammy in Best World Music for her album Sings, a melding of traditional African song with classical orchestration.

Hailing from Benin, Kidjo has a decades-spanning career that includes multiple Grammys, and many more nominations. A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Kidjo has earned her accolades as a humanitarian, as well as groundbreaking artist, bringing African music to the ears of the world. She’s collaborated with artists as diverse as Philip Glass, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Bono, and Ziggy Marley, and helped christen the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American Culture and History in Washington, D.C. at its enthralling opening ceremony in 2016.

With the Menil Collection’s ahead-of-its-time emphasis on a global art world perspective, including its storied trove of African art, as well as its founders’ avowed commitment to activism and human rights, Kidjo seems the performer who best exemplifies those traditions and values.

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Stay tuned for Kidjo’s turn for Luminous, and our exclusive interview with the artist coming next month.

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