04 March, 2011

houston's menil

In a residential neighborhood of wood frame houses and gnarled oaks stands the Menil Foundation. After leaving World War II France for Houston, comforts of the oil industry afforded John and Dominique de Menil to champion the arts nurturing a collection from the 1940’s to 70’s that would become their gift to the city. The museum opened in the 1987 was to be a place to contemplate art and cycle installations where “…works would appear, disappear, and reappear like actors on a stage. Each time they would be seen with a fresh eye,” because, Dominique de Menil said, “Habit blunts vision.”

Entering the museum I gravitate toward right wing dedicated to the Surrealists. More than a handful of Magritte’s canvases hang alongside works from Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, and Man Ray. Even a still life personage arranged by Archimboldo is tucked away in a room of Surrealist paraphernalia like taxidermy birds and Katchina dolls. Inspired by the unity of opposites curio mingles with natural history.

 Outside the museum at dusk a camp of bats was circling on the February night I found myself there.

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