back to the drawing board

Cherished Houston art collection and drawing institute reveals reopening date

Cherished Houston art collection and institute reveals reopening date

Menil Collection Installation view of Helen Frankenthaler, Hybrid Vigor, 1973
Helen Frankenthaler's specially loaned Hybrid Vigor, 1973 will be on view at the Menil.  Photo by Paul Hester

On March 18, the Menil Collection, like so many arts organizations, closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the beloved destination has announced a reopening date for its main building and the Menil Drawing Institute. Both the collection and institute will reopen on Saturday, September 12.

In the main building galleries, visitors will be greeted with a fresh installation of works by John Chamberlain, Mary Corse, Dan Flavin, Barkley Hendricks, Leslie Hewitt, Jasper Johns, Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and more, according to a press release.

On special loan is a painting by Helen Frankenthaler, Hybrid Vigor, 1973, which has not been publicly exhibited in more than 40 years. Visitors can also look for the exhibition “Photography and the Surreal Imagination,” and in the Menil Drawing Institute, the “Think of Them as Spaces: Brice Marden’s Drawings.” Both exhibitions have been extended since opening earlier this year, according to the institute.

Two other exhibitions will be on view starting September 26: “Allora & Calzadilla: Specters of Noon” and “Virginia Jaramillo: The Curvilinear Paintings, 1969–1974.” The new “Specters” exhibit is made up of seven newly commissioned works created by the internationally renowned Puerto Rico-based artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. Pieces are inspired by the duo’s four-year immersion in the Menil Collection’s holdings of Surrealism and respond to contemporary economic and ecological issues shared by Houston and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, Virginia Jaramillo’s first solo museum show, features eight canvases from the early 1970s. The exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of The De Luxe Show, a trailblazing racially integrated exhibition that was organized by the Menil Foundation in 1971 and curated by New York-based artist Peter Bradley. Jaramillo was the only woman whose works were included in the historic presentation, according to the Menil.

“The Menil Collection's mission is to foster direct personal encounters with works of art, and reopening the museum is something we celebrate,” said Rebecca Rabinow, director of the Menil Collection, in a statement. “We welcome back visitors to our galleries with new installations and thought-provoking exhibitions.”

As part of that welcome back, the Menil has implemented the following safety measures: face masks are mandatory for all visitors, social distancing is encouraged, coat check is unavailable, and visitor capacity is reduced and monitored at all locations.

Entry to all the museum buildings and exhibitions is free, but reservations should be made in advance online.