The new Menil Drawing Institute's Drawing Room will open onto a serene Scholar Courtyard. The MDI's big reveal moves back from this October to 2018, date TBD.
The Menil Drawing Institute, west façade as seen from the new Energy House facility. The MDI's architect is L.A.-based firm Johnston Marklee, known for its sensitive boutique practice.
The Menil Drawing Institute, now set to unveil in 2018, will feature exhibition galleries, as well as areas for conservation, scholarly study, and storage. It is one of very few buildings in the world devoted to modern and contemporary drawing.
Site plan for the Menil Drawing Institute and new Energy House reveals its relation to the main museum building and Cy Twombly Gallery, the latter both designed by Renzo Piano.
Max Ernst's "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year," 1955, is the mini masterpiece in The Menil Collection that gives inspiration to the museum's upcoming 30th Anniversary Ball. (© Artists Rights Society, New York / ADAGP, Paris)
Revelry at the 25th Anniversary Ball with Dorothee Helfenstein and then museum director husband Josef Helfenstein, and two of the five co-chairs, Franci Neely and Sara Dodd. (Photo Jenny Antill Clifton)
The Menil's Cy Twombly Gallery opened in 1995 to great international attention. The new MDI is expected to garner similar acclaim.
Two years after the Twombly Gallery, the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum opened on the Menil campus, designed by the patrons' son, architect Francois de Menil. On view through May 13, 2018, Francis Alÿs' "The Fabiola Project."
Jasper Johns' "Study for Regrets," 2012, is representative of the artist's graphic prowess. Johns is one of three talents to be showcased during the grand opening of the Menil Drawing Institute this coming year. (Promised gift from the Collection of Louisa Stude Sarofim. © Jasper Johns / VAGA, New York, NY)
Brice Marden's "Post-and-Lintel Drawing 7," late 1970s to early 1980s/2016, set to be exhibited at Menil Drawing Institute during its big reveal, now scheduled for 2018. (Courtesy the artist. © 2017 Brice Marden / Artists Rights Society, New York.)
American master Roni Horn's "Brooklyn Red," 1985, at the Menil Drawing Institute, planned for 2018. (Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. © Roni Horn. Photo: Thomas Mueller.)
While the MDI opening moves to next year, there's still plenty to see at the Menil this fall: London- and Berlin-based Mona Hatoum headlines in October. Shown: Hatoum's "Grater Divide," 2002. (Collection Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; courtesy White Cube, London. © Mona Hatoum. Photo Iain Dickens.
Just in: 2018 promises to cast Houston in the international limelight, thanks to three breaking cultural stories — the opening of the new grass-roofed Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (architect Steven Holl, readying for January 2018 classes); the publication of William Middleton’s decade-in-the-making biography of Dominique and John de Menil (Alfred A. Knopf, March 2018); and our story, the unveiling of the Menil Drawing Institute, which as of today’s official announcement, has been pushed back to this coming year (postponed from its original October 7 unveiling).
Menil director Rebecca Rabinow said, “Over the past few weeks, it has become clear that we will need more time to complete the Menil Drawing Institute and the other exciting projects on our campus, such as the new public greenspaces, in a manner that meets our exacting standards.”
Not since the nearly concurrent completions 45 years earlier of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (architect Gunnar Birkerts, 1972) and the Upper Brown Pavilion at the MFAH (Mies van der Rohe, 1974), has Houston seen such a flurry of museum building, with the opening of the MFAH Nancy and Rich Kinder Building to follow in 2019.
Meanwhile, the extra time for the MDI — as insiders call the new $40 million, 30,000 square-foot building designed by L.A.-based firm Johnston Marklee — only whets collectors’ and connoisseurs’ appetites for the sole freestanding facility in the U.S. devoted to the exhibition and study of modern and contemporary drawing.
But rest assured this fall will not be without its Menil highlights. October 13 the museum opens the first major American museum survey in 20 years on the work of international artist Mona Hatoum (through February 25).
Hatoum’s “Terra Infirma” exhibit will comment on issues of the body, war, exile, uneasy globalism, and shifting geographies, with elements of Surrealism in keeping with the museum’s strong holdings in that area.
And come December, the 30th anniversary of the Menil’s founding will be celebrated with a lavish ball informed by fantasy, titled “Luminous.” Chaired by illustrious personages Allison Sarofim and Stuart Parr, Leigh and Reggie Smith, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, and Adelaide de Menil Carpenter, and set for the eve of the full moon, Saturday December 2, the Surrealist mise en scène will be held in a tented aerie on the museum lawn.
The big night, only the museum’s fourth gala in three decades, honors Menil board chairman Louisa Stude Sarofim, with honorary chairs architect Renzo Piano — who designed the Menil, his first building in America — and French Ambassador to the United States Gérard Araud. (Tickets from $2,500; tables from $25,000; Menil events department, 713.535.3173, firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Architectural renderings courtesy of Johnston Marklee / Igor Brozyna.