Menil Collection closes main building for artful updates, but the shows go on

Menil Collection closes main building for artful updates, shows go on

The Menil, exterior, entrance
The Menil's main building is closed, but there is plenty of auxiliary programming this season.  Courtesy photo

After giving the city quite the temporary goodbye present in the form of two stellar exhibitions Thirty Works for Thirty Years and Mona Hatoum: Terra Infirma, the Menil Collection’s main building closed its door on February 25 for the season. As CultureMap previously reported last summer, the main building will close to the public for updates and repairs for several months.

We’ll grudgingly forgive the 30 years young Menil Collection for closing the Renzo Piano-designed building to get a little work done on such as major birthday, especially since projects include refinishing the museum’s Loblolly pine floors, replacing non-loadbearing gallery display walls, the enhancement of interior and exterior lighting, and updating fire detection sensors.

While we await news on the new public opening date for the Menil Drawing Institute, we’ll console ourselves by enjoying the beautiful campus greenspaces whenever we need some nature therapy in the heart of Houston. The other Menil Collection building will also be open as usual, Wednesday through Sunday, including: the Cy Twombly Gallery, Byzantine Fresco Chapel featuring Francis Alys: The Fabiola Project, and Dan Flavin Installation at Richmond Hall.

To tide us over, we’ll also be taking in some of the amazing public programming this spring. Here’s what to look (and listen) for in the coming months:

Dickie Landry Concert

Byzantine Fresco Chapel, March 16 at 7 pm

Landry, a founding member of the Philip Glass Ensemble and a noted visual artists has been presenting solo tenor saxophone concerts and exhibitions national and internationally for decades. See and here him in an entirely new way, in the intimate space of the BFC.

Arrivals and Departures: Cage, Cunningham, and Johns
Richmond Hall, March 25 at 1 pm

Don’t miss a rare only-at-the-Menil kind of event, as dance and visual arts combine. Former Merce Cunningham dancers Patricia Lent and Andrea Weber stage this event for the Houston Ballet, the performance includes excerpts from dances for which Jasper Johns provided costumes and decor, including Canfield (1969), Landrover (1972), Un jour ou deux (1973), and Exchange (1978), while musicians perform compositions by John Cage, including his "Inlets", "Branches," "Third Construction," "Cheap Imitation," and "Telephones and Birds."

We’ve never had such an opportunity to see some of our favorite Houston Ballet dancers so near, including Dancers are Connor Walsh, Oliver Halkowich, Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, Jessica Collado, Allison Miller, and Bridget Kuhns. Musicians include Ling Ling Huang, Brandon Bell, Craig Hauschildt, Luke Hubley, Brady Spitz, Yvonne Chen, Julia Fox, and Bethany Baxter. Required reservations for the event will only be accepted on and after March 1. Email Laura Nauert at or call 713-525-9435.

William Middleton Double Vision: The Unerring Eye of Art World Avatars Dominique and John de Menil
Rothko Chapel, March 27 at 7 pm

The Rothko Chapel and Menil Collection co-present this special book launch, celebrating author William Middleton biography of Dominique and John de Menil, one of the art world’s greatest power couples. The book chronicles not just their life together but their enormous influence on 20th century artists.

BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer)

The Menil Collection
Front lawn and façade, April 6 at 8:30–10:30 pm (Rain date: Friday, April 20, 2018)

Register your own “beamer” — a.k.a projector — beforehand at the Aurora Picture Show and join in or just come out a watch the chaotic fun as filmmakers and videographers aim their beamers on the exterior façade of the museum to create a beautiful cacophony of light and art together.

Gideon Alorwoyie and the University of North Texas African Percussion Ensemble African Music and Dance
The Menil Collection, front lawn, April 15 at 4 pm

Ghana’s foremost virtuosos of traditional music and dance, Professor Midawo Gideon Foli Alorwoyie brings together an array of dancers and musicians, including University of North Texas African Percussion Ensemble, to present traditional works from Togo, Ghana, and Benin.