Sight, the workhorse of the five senses, puts in too many hours keeping man from falling in manholes. Reward the most overworked sense with today's Groupon: for $45, new members get a one-year contributor membership to the Menil Collection (a $100 value).
The Menil displays and protects the lifetime acquisitions of French expatriates and storied philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil. The de Menils hoped that opening their personal collection to the public would engender respect and love for all art and the human capacity to create and express itself.
Under the ultramodernist roof of the Menil, statues, masks, paintings, pottery, and an endless list of treasures stretching from ancient Greece through medieval ages, hailing from Africa and even the Pacific Northwest, mingle together and stand ready for admiration and well-phrased compliments. In addition to its permanent pieces, the Menil hosts a variety of traveling and special exhibits, including an upcoming showcase of Civil Rights–era photographs and the innovative retrospective drawings of Richard Serra.
Though the museum never charges admission to anyone, membership comes with a long list of perks, including invitations to all exhibition previews for your entire household, invitations to lectures and special programs, and a 10% discount on the museum store. And, because the Menil is a member of NARM, members are entitled to free admission and museum store discounts at over 460 museums across the country. This deal also entitles you to a new-members reception with museum director Josef Helfenstein and members of the Menil Board of Trustees on May 9. Aside from experiencing a year filled with enlightening erudition, you'll also come away with a passion for art so profound, you'll save all your soup cans and frame all your old grade-school finger-paintings.
Frommer's recommends a visit to the Menil Collection, and 10Best lists it as one of Houston's best attractions. Six Yahoo! Travelers give the Menil Collection four stars, more than 80 Yelpers give it 4.5 stars, and eight Citysearchers give it five stars. Seven Judy's Book reviewers give the museum 4.4 stars.
- Here, on display in an unremarkable neighborhood near the University of St. Thomas, is one of the world's great private collections...When you walk into the museum, there is nothing between you and the art -- no grand lobby with marble stairway, no large banners or gift shop vying for attention, no tickets to buy, no tape-recorded tours. Viewing the art becomes a direct and personal experience. – Frommer's
- How fortunate for we Houstonians to have an art collection such as this housed in such a tranquil setting. We love the Menil.....there is always an intriguing exhibit. – thumbelina, Citysearch
The Menil Collection
John and Dominique de Menil began collecting art in the 1940s, shortly after they had relocated from France to the United States. It didn't take long for the couple to amass nearly 16,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and rare books. Tired of tripping over Byzantine statues on the way to the kitchen, the de Menils decided to share their collection with the world.
The result is The Menil Collection, which opened in 1987 and has since become a fixture of Houston's Museum District. Here, visitors can browse priceless artworks and artifacts with origins that span the globe. With its minimalistic exterior and sweeping stretches of glass, the building itself is also something of a masterpiece. This is no accident—Dominque de Menil made sure that its design allowed for plenty of natural light to enhance visitors' experience and help the artworks grow big and strong.
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