Menil Happenings

Menil Collection delays opening of Drawing Institute, but 30th anniversary celebration goes on

Menil delays Drawing Institute opening but museum celebration goes on

Menil Drawing Institute: construction progress
Construction continues on the Menil Drawing Institute as the fall opening is delayed.  Photo by Tarra Gaines
The Menil, Silence, July 2012, Warhol, Lavender Disaster
Andy Warhol's "Lavender Disaster" will be included in the Thirty Works for Thirty Years exhibition opening August 11. © 2012 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Courtesy of Hickey-Robertson, Houston
Rebecca Rabinow Menil Collection director
Menil director Rebecca Rabinow announced the delay in opening the Menil Drawing Institute. Photo courtesy of Menil Collection
Menil Collection opening reception: Barnett Newman: The Late Work
Barnett Newman' "Be I'" will be included in the Thirty Works for Thirty Years exhibition opening August 11. Courtesy photo
4 Menil Drawing Institute Menil Campus Exterior March 2015
Rendering of the Menil Drawing Institute. The fall opening has been delayed. Rendering courtesy of © Johnston Marklee/Igor Brozyna
Menil Drawing Institute: construction progress
The Menil, Silence, July 2012, Warhol, Lavender Disaster
Rebecca Rabinow Menil Collection director
Menil Collection opening reception: Barnett Newman: The Late Work
4 Menil Drawing Institute Menil Campus Exterior March 2015

The highly anticipated Menil Drawing Institute will not open as originally scheduled this fall. But plans are continuing to celebrate the Menil Collection's 30th anniversary with a special exhibition next month and other activities throughout the rest of the year.

Officials announced on Wednesday that the October 7 opening of the new building dedicated to works of art on paper has been delayed "due to the need for ongoing construction work and a revised estimate for building completion."

“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. Rather than rush to open the Menil Drawing Institute in early October, the trustees and I have decided to delay the festivities, to ensure that everything is perfect," Menil director Rebecca Rabinow said in a statement.

"We apologize for any inconvenience this change of date may cause, especially for those who have factored an early October celebration into their fall plans.”

Officials still expect staff to move into the new building before the end of year, with a public opening in 2018. It is currently being constructed adjacent to the Cy Twombly Gallery on the Menil campus.

The opening of the $40 million, 30,000-square-foot building, designed by the Los Angeles-based architecture firm Johnston Marklee, was expected to be among the biggest fall art happenings in Houston. 

However, The Menil Collection will still have a lot to celebrate surrounding the 30th anniversary of the opening of the acclaimed Renzo Piano main museum building in 1987.  The celebration kicks off August 11 with Thirty Works for Thirty Years, an exhibition of key paintings, sculptures, and drawings in the permanent collection that will be shown throughout the 30-acre Menil campus.

The exhibition, which will run through January 28, 2018, will include Native objects from the Pacific Northwest and Africa, Byzantine icons, Surrealist works, and contemporary art from the United States and Europe. It includes major works by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, René Magritte, John Chamberlain, Mark Rothko, Max Ernst, Alexander Calder, Barnett Newman, Trisha Brown, and Robert Rauschenberg.

A major exhibition  of the work of acclaimed artist Mona Hatoum opens on October 15 and an anniversary fundraising gala — only the fourth in the Menil's history — will take place on December 2.

Previously announced exhibitions planned for the opening of the Menil Drawing Institute, including  The Condition of Being Here: Drawings by Jasper Johns; Think of Them as Spaces: Brice Marden’s Drawings; and Roni Horn: When I Breathe, I Draw, will be rescheduled to a later date.

Once the Menil Drawing Institute officially opens next year, the main Menil Collection building will be closed for an eight-month period for the installation of a fire detection system and refinishing of the pine floors.