Saturday, December 17, 2011

Philanthropy in Houston, Texas

Houston is another city which has benefitted greatly from the philanthropy of private art collectors. John and Dominique de Menil began collecting in the 1940s. They have many great works by well-known surrealists, cubists, minimalists, abstract expressionists and pop artists. They also recognized the influence of the arts of ancient and indigenous cultures on contemporary artists, so also have works from early Mediterranean civilizations, Africa, Oceania and the Pacific Northwest. The museums housing their collection offer free entry to the public, however no photography is allowed. So seen here is the landscape work by Michael Heizer in front of the main museum building (bottom right). The green neon exterior installation on the historic Richmond Hall building is by Dan Flavin. The de Menils have also installed two large Flavin neon works inside.
The Rothko Chapel (top left) was conceived by the de Menils as a sacred place open to people of every belief. Mark Rothko created the mural canvases for the interior, designed to encourage quiet contemplation. Outside is a a sculpture by Barnett Newman, standing in memory of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

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