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The Menil Collection: Your Next Cultural Destination

The Menil Collection: Your Next  Cultural Destination

Nestled in the heart of Houston, the Menil Collection is a wonderful place to visit for both art lovers and those with a more casual appreciation.  The Menil started as a place to exhibit the private collection of John and Dominique de Menil when they decided that art should be accessible to everyone. In keeping with that ideal, admission is always free of charge.

The Menil Collection contains 17,000 works of art and is continually growing. These works include paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and even clothing and furniture. The works span the ages from Paleolithic objects dating from 22,000–15,000 BCE to Modern and Contemporary Art. Byzantine and Medieval art, as well as indigenous art from Africa, the Pacific Islands and the Pacific Northwest are all represented in the collection.

Not all of the art can be displayed at the same time, so exhibits are rotated on a regular basis. At any given time you may see works by Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol as well as many other well-known artists.

The Menil Collection: Your Next  Cultural Destination

In addition to the art, the museum building itself is an architectural attraction. The Menil Gallery was the first project in the U.S. by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano. The unique ceiling structure provides diffuse sunlight to the gallery spaces that subtly changes throughout the day and seasons, providing a meditative atmosphere for display of the artwork.

A separate gallery that is dedicated to the work of Cy Twombly is located just across the street from the main building.  The Dan Flavin Installation at Richmond Hall is also located nearby.  Other than the Surrealism room of the main building, this was probably my favorite because of the beautiful use of light in an otherwise large, empty room.

The Menil Collection is a great place to spend anywhere from a single hour to an entire afternoon. The world-class art and the beautiful tranquility of the grounds make this a Houston cultural destination that shouldn’t be missed!

The Menil Collection: Your Next  Cultural Destination


Contributed by Shanna

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