Art Appreciation

5 Exhibits to See at the Menil Collection This Fall

Warhol? Picasso? Consider your field trip scheduled.

By Glissette Santana September 9, 2016

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As a native Houstonian, I had always been embarrassed to admit I'd never set foot inside the Menil Collection. Ever.

I rectified the situation last weekend. Spoiler alert: The hype is deserved. Its 30-acre campus boasts permanent collections from founders John and Dominique de Menil, particularly Surrealist and other modern European paintings and sculptures, as well as world-renowned visiting exhibitions. Also, it's free!

Whether you're a first timer like me or seasoned patron, don't miss these 5 outstanding exhibits on display this fall.

Andy Warhol: Sunset

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Film still from Andy Warhol, Sunset, 1967. 16mm, color, sound, 33 minutes. © 2016 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved. Film still courtesy The Andy Warhol Museum

Warhol fans can catch a glimpse of the rare, unfinished footage for Sunset, a film commissioned by Menil Collection founders John and Dominique de Menil in 1964. Visitors can watch the 16mm footage Wednesdays through Sundays at 6 p.m until Jan. 8. 

Francis Alÿs: The Fabiola Project

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The Fabiola Project installed at the Byzantine Fesco Chapel. Photo: Paul Hester

Housed in the Menil’s Byzantine Fresco Chapel, The Fabiola Project centers around more than 450 reproductions of a lost painting of Roman Saint Fabiola. Alÿs first stumbled upon a painting of Fabiola at a flea market in Brussels and has been obsessed ever since. You don’t have to rush to check out this exhibition, though. It’ll be there until May 13, 2018.

Picasso The Line

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Pablo Picasso, Self Portrait (Autoportrait), 1918. Musee national Picasso, Paris. © 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: RMN-Grand Palasi/Art Resource, NY

The king of cubism is one of the most-recognizable artists in history, and Picasso The Line delves deep into his catalogue of line drawings with different mediums from charcoal to pencil. This exhibit opens Sept. 16 and runs through Jan. 8.

As Essential as Dreams: Self-Taught Art from the Collection of Stephanie and John Smither

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Carlo Zinelli, Untitled, 1969. The Menil Collection, Houston, Promised gift of Stephanie and John Smither. © Foudazione Culturale Carlo Zinelli

Houston-based couple Stephanie and John Smither have been collecting art since the early 1980s and have amassed a collection large enough to warrant its own exhibit. You can check out the works of various self-taught artists until Oct. 16.

Holy Barbarians: Beat Culture on the West Coast

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Jay DeFeo, After Image, 1970. The Menil Collection, Houston. Gift of Glenn Fukushima in honor of the artist. © Estate of Jay DeFeo/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Fans of the Beat Generation will love Holy Barbarians: Beat Culture on the West Coast, which features artists that started making art after World War II to “create a thriving new art scene,” according to the Menil. This collection opens Nov. 18 and runs through March 12.

The Menil Collection. Free. 1533 Sul Ross St. 713-525-9400.

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