The Marion Barthelme Lecture Series was established in memory of the late Marion Knox Barthelme Fort, vice president of the Board of Trustees of The Menil Collection. The first lecturer is Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and, before that, president and director of Dia Art Foundation. Govan's subject is artist Michael Heizer, four of whose sculptures can be seen on entering the Menil Collection.
In 1969-70, Heizer created the Nevada earth work called Double Negative. Since 1962, he has worked primarily on City, an enormous complex in the Nevada Desert one-and-a-quarter-miles long and more than a quarter-mile wide. In Levitated Mass, Heizer's most recent project, a 340-ton rock was moved 107 miles from its quarry and installed at LACMA. Marion Knox Barthelme was active in the artistic and literary cultures of Houston. A former correspondent for Time magazine, her writings include Women in the Texas Populist Movement: Letters to the Southern Mercury, and 10 works of non-fiction published in The New Yorker's Talk of the Town.