Since first learning about the Menil Collection 12 years ago, I’ve hungered for its “spiritual” showcase of art. No admission fee; no public tours; no descriptive plaques. Just the late Dominique and John de Menil’s gift to Houston, housed in a celebrated structure from preeminent museum architect Renzo Piano, of their supreme art collection. It was a feast beyond expectations.
Spanning time and genres, from Byzantine to Pop Art, these treasures are rotated in convention-defying juxtaposition—expressly to invite individual, personal contemplation and interpretation.
In the tranquility of Piano’s triumphant design, with tall trees and garden atriums integrated in wraparound porticos and the sun dancing through his ingenuous skylight system, I realized the intended effect that had originally inspired the young de Menils of the museum as a place to “lose your head.”
Presently America’s fourth most populated city and closing in on third-place Chicago, Houston may not spring to mind as a place for such swooning interludes. With an expanding footprint that could swallow Boston, Minneapolis, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and D.C., just figuring out where to start is a challenge.