Menil's Big Plans

Menil plans a big year in 2017 with 30th anniversary celebrations and opening of Drawing Institute

Menil plans 30th anniversary celebration, opening of Drawing Institute

3. Menil Drawing Institute at dusk, looking past the west entrance courtyard
A rendering of the new Menil Drawing Institute. An opening date has been set for next October. Rendering courtesy of Johnston Marklee/The Menil Collection

Next year is shaping up to be a big one for The Menil Collection.

Menil director Rebecca Rabinow announced Wednesday that the Menil Drawing Institute — the first freestanding facility built expressly for the exhibition, study, conservation, and storage of modern and contemporary drawings — will open on October 7, 2017. The $40 million building, designed by the Los Angeles-based firm of Johnston Marklee in collaboration with landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, is currently under construction behind a number of Menil houses and the Cy Twombly Gallery on the expanded 30-acre campus.

The main museum will celebrate its 30th anniversary June 4, 2017 and will mark the occasion with activities throughout the rest of the year, including a major exhibition of the work of Mona Hatoum opening on October 13 and a fundraising gala — only the fourth in Menil history — on December 2. 

To celebrate the new MDI building, the Menil will debut two major exhibitions showcasing its vast cache of drawings. The Beginning of Everything: Drawings from the Janie C. Lee, Louisa Stude Sarofim, and David Whitney Collections will feature nearly 100 master drawings promised to the Menil by trustees Janie C. Lee and Louisa Stude Sarofim and bequeathed in 2005 by David Whitney. The exhibition will open February 23 in the main museum building and run through June 18.

The Condition of Being Here: Drawings by Jasper Johns will be inaugural exhibition in the Menil Drawing Institute when it opens in early October. The exhibit will span Johns' entire career.

Rabinow also announced that a major fundraising drive has passed the $100 million mark toward its goal of $115 million. The funds will be used to expand and enhance green spaces, support the construction of a new Energy House, which provides a new central source of heating and cooling for the campus, and add to the endowment in order to continue to keep the Menil free of charge.