Art and Activism: Projects of John and Dominique de Menil

Overview

This lavishly illustrated book is the first to examine the significant contributions of John and Dominique de Menil to art, architecture, film, and the civil and human rights movements. The de Menils, who moved to Houston from France in 1941, amassed one of the world's great private art collections and became passionately involved in the cause of human rights.

The volume includes a discussion of the building of the de Menils' art collection; their patronage of modern ...

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Overview

This lavishly illustrated book is the first to examine the significant contributions of John and Dominique de Menil to art, architecture, film, and the civil and human rights movements. The de Menils, who moved to Houston from France in 1941, amassed one of the world's great private art collections and became passionately involved in the cause of human rights.

The volume includes a discussion of the building of the de Menils' art collection; their patronage of modern architecture in Houston; their embrace of modernism; their leadership in Houston's civil rights movement and in human rights projects worldwide; their commissioning of works of art; their involvement in early film education and documentary filmmaking; and their establishment of the Rothko Chapel, the Menil Collection, the Cy Twombly Gallery, the Dan Flavin Installation, and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum. Vintage photographs, including those taken by Henri Cartier Bresson and Eve Arnold, previously unpublished correspondence with artists, and an illustrated chronology all add to this textured tribute to the de Menils' extraordinary achievements.

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Editorial Reviews

Chron

"Beautiful. . . . Art and Activism is an indispensable history of several pivotal decades in the development of Houston's art scene."—Douglas Britt, Chron

— Douglas Britt

Culture Map

"Art and Activism represents the first publication to take a magnifying glass to the couple's pursuit over the course of half a century."—Steven Thompson, Culture Map

— Steven Thompson

Chron - Douglas Britt

"Beautiful. . . . Art and Activism is an indispensable history of several pivotal decades in the development of Houston's art scene."—Douglas Britt, Chron
Culture Map - Steven Thompson

"Art and Activism represents the first publication to take a magnifying glass to the couple's pursuit over the course of half a century."—Steven Thompson, Culture Map
Library Journal
In this lavish tribute to the de Menils—Houston's illustrious philanthropists known for their outstanding 20th-century art collection and worldwide human rights activism—Helfenstein and Schipsi, director and publisher, respectively, of the Menil Collection museum, also document six decades of their patronage of art and architectural commissions, related research and publications, their involvement with the University of St. Thomas and Rice University, and exhibitions. Essays, contributions, and reminiscences by 22 curators, scholars, associates, and artist-architect friends, such as Dorothea Tanning and Renzo Piano, reveal the personalities, motivations, and passions of the de Menils. Particularly illuminating for scholars are sections on collecting, patronage, and the creation of the museum's venues, which include the Rothko and Byzantine Fresco chapels, the Cy Twombly Gallery, and the Dan Flavin Installation. Also of interest are reproductions of correspondence with artists, a detailed and illustrated chronology, a comprehensive exhibitions list, and highlights of the Menil Archives Film and Media Collection. VERDICT Serious and scholarly, this model foundation publication documents and honors the de Menils' significant contributions. Recommended for those interested in modern avant-garde art and patronage.—Russell T. Clement, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300123777
  • Publisher: Menil Foundation
  • Publication date: 10/26/2010
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Josef Helfenstein is director of The Menil Collection. Laureen Schipsi is publisher at The Menil Collection.
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