Lee Bontecou: Drawn Worlds
January 31–May 11, 2014
Lee Bontecou: Drawn Worlds is the first retrospective exhibition of the drawings of American artist Lee Bontecou. Born in 1931, the works selected span more than five decades of Bontecouʼs career, from the late 1950s, when she began her innovative works on paper with welding torch and soot as a drawing tool and medium while studying in Rome as a Fulbright Scholar, to the work that is ongoing in her Pennsylvania studio.
Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926 – 1938
February 14–June 1, 2014
Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 is the first major museum exhibition to focus exclusively on the breakthrough surrealist years of the Belgian artist, René Magritte, creator of some of the twentieth century’s most extraordinary images. It will trace significant strategies and themes from a seminal period in the artist’s career, particularly those of displacement, transformation, metamorphosis, and the “misnaming” of objects, as well as the representation of visions seen in half-waking states.
Memories of a Voyage: The Late Work of René Magritte
February 14–July 13, 2014
By the end of the 1920s René Magritte had established his signature approach to painting, developing a realistic style that he used not to reinforce, but to undermine the viewer’s acceptance of what is real. He continued to paint seriously until the end of his life in 1967, his reputation expanding in tandem with the increasing visibility and popularity of Surrealism in the United States. During the post‐war period, Magritte often revisited and reinterpreted themes from earlier paintings, creating variations on his already established iconography.
A Thin Wall of Air: Charles James
May 31–September 7, 2014
A Thin Wall of Air: Charles James explores the work of American couturier Charles James (1906-1978) in relation to some of his most committed patrons and clients, John and Dominique de Menil. A conversation between wardrobe and interior, this exhibition presents a selection of garments and furniture. It includes evening gowns and daywear such as suits and coats, from Dominique de Menil’s personal collection. The clothing is complemented by furniture James designed for the de Menils and set among references to the Menil House interior, such as drapery and wall colors, which he also designed.
fresh: Haim Steinbach and Objects from the Permanent Collection
June 28 – August 31, 2014
Organized in collaboration with the artist Haim Steinbach (b. Rehovot, Israel, 1944), this exhibition surveys modern and contemporary sculpture in the Menil Collection. Since the late 1970s Haim Steinbach's three-dimensional work has involved the careful selection and arrangement of preexisting objects. He has focused primarily on everyday things—mass-produced toys, household items, handmade knickknacks, or articles of clothing—painstakingly arranged on custom-made shelves and other display furniture. Multiple meanings arise through the resonances between his choices of subjects. At the Menil, Steinbach will present a “Display” of his own work within the exhibition and also help the curatorial staff see a broad range of three-dimensional works in the permanent collection with fresh eyes.
Dario Robleto: The Boundary of Life is Quietly Crossed
August 16 – November 30, 2014
Artist Dario Robleto (b. 1972) has long explored emotional themes of the human condition, including love, loss, and grief. His sculptural work, which is labor-intensive and many times involves the transformation of materials, distills these complex and universal states into meditations on fragility and change. This site-specific project at the Menil will revolve around his most recent area of inquiry: the largely unexplored history of the human heartbeat.
Art and Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence
October 3, 2014 – January 11, 2015
Art and Truth explores for the first time the resonance of Mahatma Gandhi’s ethics of nonviolence in the visual arts through both works of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries and masterpieces of classical religious art of the past. Analyzing widely published images of Gandhi’s public persona and the highly symbolic ways in which he manifested his beliefs and lifestyle, this exhibition aims to bring together major works of art from different periods of Eastern and Western culture under the large theme of the arts of nonviolence. The exhibition’s themes echo the concerns of Menil Collection founders, John and Dominique de Menil who dedicated themselves to humanitarian causes.
Becoming Modern: Nineteenth-Century French Drawings from the Morgan Library & Museum and
the Menil Collection
February 20–May 17, 2015
This exhibition celebrates the remarkable holdings of nineteenth-century French drawings at The Morgan Library & Museum and The Menil Collection, institutions with an ongoing collaboration to foster meaningful conversation about drawing. The show includes works on paper by five artists who importantly impacted the development of drawing at the formative beginnings of modernism: Eugène Delacroix, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Paul Cézanne, and Odilon Redon.
Barnett Newman: The Late Work
March 13 - June 28, 2015
The work of artist Barnett Newman (1905-1970) has come to define the spiritual aspirations and material innovations of American painting in the mid-twentieth century. Large and bold vertical planes of color, with thin upright lines that came to be known as “zips,” characterize Newman’s vocabulary of form. In contrast to the horizontal compositions that define the landscape tradition in Western art, Newman’s work reflects the upright posture of the human body. For the artist, this reorientation was deeply political. He felt it could free painting from the past and allow an entirely new awareness for the viewer through the ineffable experience of standing in front of his work. In his essay from 1948, “The Sublime is Now,” Newman wrote, “We are freeing ourselves of the impediments of memory, association, nostalgia, legend, myth, or what have you, that have been the devices of Western European painting. Instead of making cathedrals out of Christ, man or ‘life’ we are making it out of ourselves, out of our own feelings.”