Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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Free Museum Admission to the Menil Collection in Houston

Looking for some free things to do in Houston? Why not check out the free admission to the Menil collection in Houston, one of the greatest private art collections in the U.S., which features such surrealist works as those by Salvador Dali and Max Ernst, and offers visitors a sign-free and simply-designed environment in which to experience the art in a more personal way. (click bottom for more info) For more than 4 decades, the Menils purchased and commissioned works of art; brought artists, architects, and academics to the city; organized groundbreaking exhibitions; and did much for Houston’s art museums and for the art departments of Rice University and St. Thomas University. Their collection, especially the modern art, is vast, so much so that only a fifth of it can be exhibited in the museum at one time. The main museum building is accompanied by four satellite buildings. Located in Houston’s Museum District, the Menil campus is anchored by Renzo Piano’s first American building. This landmark structure houses one of the world’s great (and growing) art collections that ranges from antiquities to modern and contemporary art. The Menil Collection is concentrated in four areas: antiquity, Byzantine and medieval, tribal art, and 20th century. This may seem an incongruous mix, but, strangely enough, it holds together. The collectors never intended to gather up the most representative of a period; they simply followed their own tastes, which were modern.   Throughout the year we also present a full calendar of public programs and events. The Menil is a cultural oasis unlike anything else in America. Here an internationally renowned art destination resides in a quiet neighborhood enclave of bungalows and parks.

The story of the Menil Collection begins in France with the 1931 marriage of John de Menil (1904–1973), a young banker from a distinguished military family, and Dominique Schlumberger (1908–1997), daughter of Conrad Schlumberger, one of the founders of the oil services company Schlumberger, Ltd. The de Menils left France during World War II for Houston, where John eventually directed Schlumberger’s worldwide operations. The de Menils quickly became key figures in Houston’s developing cultural life, as advocates of modern art and architecture. As patrons of architecture, they built one of the first International Style houses in Texas (Philip Johnson was the architect) and the Rothko Chapel. Surviving her husband by twenty-five years, Dominique built the museum that bears the family name as well as the Cy Twombly Gallery and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum.

WHAT: The Menil Collection

WHEN: 11:00 a.m – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday – Sunday
The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

WHERE: 1515 Sul Ross St., Houston

COST: Free



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