Cy Twombly Gallery
“ The roof design is “like
a butterfly alighting on a firm surface.”
–Renzo PianoA collaboration between the Menil Collection, the Dia Foundation, and the artist himself, the Cy Twombly Gallery reflects the de Menils' commitment to key contemporary artists, as well as the remarkable depths of their collection. The works on view in the Cy Twombly Gallery, spanning a fifty-year period, comprise a veritable retrospective of the artist’s career.
Opened in 1995, the Cy Twombly Gallery is architect Renzo Piano’s second U.S. commission (the first being the main building of the Menil Collection).
Based on an initial sketch by Twombly himself, the building features an exterior of pre-cast concrete. Like the main building across the street, the Cy Twombly Gallery possesses a sophisticated roofing system of filtered glass and steel louvers that diffuses direct sunlight for the viewing of art in natural light. Described by Piano as “a butterfly alighting on a firm surface,” a grid of white steel seems to float over the entire building. Throughout the 9300 square-foot space, canvas sailcloth ceilings further modulate the Texas sun, with light playing softly on the galleries’ plaster walls and white-oak floors.
Emerging from the New York art world of the early 1950s, Cy Twombly brought a distinctive approach to painting and sculpture that evaded precise affiliation with the predominant movements of the 20th century. Twombly’s oeuvre has evolved from the gestural scribbles of his early expressionist paintings to sculptures and monumental canvases. The breadth of the artist's imagination and his interdisciplinary approach to subjects traverse vast distances, resulting in works that are at once baroque and spare, modern and ancient.