Rupert Murdoch's media giant, the Wall Street Journal, has gone mad for Houston's Menil Collection, as evidenced in two concurrent articles published Wednesday.
In Katherine Ryder's "Laurenzo Rudolf's 'Top Five' Art Collections" article, the author probes the decade-long director of Art Basel and Asian art fair extraordinaire to get the 411 on the world's top five collections. The focus is on private collections open to the public, and ranking at No. 1 is the Menil.
Rudolf praises the private collection museum for its cache of surrealist art, and the campus' Rothko Chapel. The chapel's 14 deep purple paintings (the artist's final works) inspire Rudolf to state, "For me, this is the spiritually richest art space world-wide." In-the-know locals already savor these gems, but the WSJ coverage should bring the international art eye towards Houston's Museum District.
Rudolf's four-sentence exaltation is complemented by a simultaneously-published review of the current exhibition, Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage, which examines the "forgotten modernist," a term provided by the article's author, New York-based art critic Richard B. Woodward. The author credits the curator, Isabel Shulz, and Menil director Josef Helfenstein for shedding light on the oft-ignored German-born Dadaist.
Woodward also left the exhibition in awe of the reconstruction of the "Merzbau" installation art environment (the first in the United States) that "is by itself worth a trip to Houston," according to his article.
Accompanied by the Menil Collection's impressive holdings of works by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly, the "succinct and auspicious" exhibition has the distinct advantage of illustrating Schwitters' indelible impact on assemblage, sculptures, collages and installation art. Woodward credits Schwitters' work as influencing such contemporary artists as Richard Tuttle, Mike Kelley, Jessica Stockholder and Rachel Harrison.
This isn't the first time the Menil has received international media glory: In the past year alone, articles in Departures, Elle Decor, Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, New York Times, and Vogue have all turned an eye towards the museum and its coveted collection.