The Menil Collection presents "Dream Monuments: Drawing in the 1960s and 1970s" closing day
The Menil Collection presents "Dream Monuments: Drawing in the 1960s and 1970s," which features drawings that challenge the conventional idea of the monument as a permanent, grand, or commemorative form.
The provisional character of drawing helped artists envision forms in improbable scales and for impossible conditions, radically transforming the monument to have a new set of sensibilities. Scaled to the size of the page but enormous in ambition, these works rethink history while rendering environments at turns as absurd, surreal, and subjective.
The exhibition takes its inspiration from the unrealized exhibition “Dream Monuments,” planned by the Menil Collection’s founders Dominique and John de Menil. Letters, interviews, and notes indicate the potential directions the couple considered when developing their theme. One idea, formulated in June 1968, was an exhibition focusing on “strange monuments, either allegorical or historical,” in which “drawings and models by contemporary artists as Oldenburg, Christo, and others” would be shown alongside 19th-century and early 20th-century equivalents. By 1969, the project included plans for large-scale, site-specific sculptures - or, in Dominique de Menil’s words, “monuments” - intended for parks and other public spaces in the greater Houston area. When the de Menils decided to include contemporary artworks, both as drawings and models in the exhibition and as public sculptures throughout Houston, it brought them to a broader rethinking of the term “monument."