The Menil Collection to reopen September 12, 2020

Houston museum announces fall exhibitions and safety protocols for visitors

The Menil Collection, which temporarily closed on March 18, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced that it will reopen its main building and the Menil Drawing Institute on Saturday, September 12, 2020.

Rebecca Rabinow, director of the Menil Collection, said: “The Menil Collection’s mission is to foster direct personal encounters with works of art, and reopening the museum is something we celebrate. We welcome back visitors to our galleries with new installations and thought-provoking exhibitions.”

In the main building galleries, visitors will be greeted with a fresh installation of works by John Chamberlain, Mary Corse, Dan Flavin, Barkley Hendricks, Leslie Hewitt, Jasper Johns, Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and more.  On special loan is a monumental painting by Helen Frankenthaler, Hybrid Vigor, 1973, which has not been publicly exhibited in more than forty years.

Also, on view in the main building is the exhibition Photography and the Surreal Imagination, and in the Menil Drawing Institute is Think of Them as Spaces: Brice Marden’s Drawings, both of which have been extended since opening earlier this year.

On view September 26, 2020, will be two major exhibitions: Allora & Calzadilla: Specters of Noon and Virginia Jaramillo: The Curvilinear Paintings, 1969–1974. Specters of Noon consists of seven newly commissioned works created by the internationally renowned Puerto Rico-based artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla.

The pieces are inspired by their four-year immersion in the Menil Collection’s extraordinary holdings of Surrealism and capture the energy and intrigue of high noon. The resulting installation responds to contemporary economic and ecological issues shared by Houston and San Juan. The museum also presents Virginia Jaramillo’s first solo museum show, featuring eight canvases from the early 1970s.

The exhibition marks the fiftieth anniversary of The De Luxe Show, a trailblazing racially integrated exhibition that was organized by the Menil Foundation in 1971 and curated by New York-based artist Peter Bradley. Jaramillo was the only woman whose works were included in the historic presentation.

For the safety of staff and visitors, the Menil Collection requires the following protocols: face masks are mandatory for all visitors, social distancing is encouraged, coat check is unavailable, and visitor capacity is reduced and monitored at all locations.

While entry to all the museum buildings and exhibitions is free, reservations should be made in advance online.

In addition to these protocols, the Menil has increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces and hand-sanitizer units are stationed throughout the buildings. For additional details, visit

Photo credits:

1. View of Helen Frankenthaler’s Hybrid Vigor, 1973. Photo: Paul Hester.; 2. Allora & Calzadilla, Graft, 2019. Dimensions variable. Recycled polyvinyl chloride and paint.; © Allora & Calzadilla, courtesy of Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels. Photo: David Regen.; 3. Virginia Jaramillo, Untitled, 1971. Acrylic on canvas, 84 1/8 × 71 in. (213.7 × 180.3 cm). The Menil Collection, Houston, purchased with funds provided by Suzanne Deal Booth. © Virginia Jaramillo. Photo: Paul Hester.