Things To Do

Menil Campus – Menil Collection

As part of a 30-acre campus near downtown Houston, The Menil Collection is one of the finest private art museums in the country, curated with a unique sensibility specific to just itself.

The museum’s collection was found and built by the Menil Collection’s founders, John and Dominque de Menil. The paintings and sculptures are an eclectic but connected groupings of different types of art.

The de Menils intended for their museum to blend in with the neighborhood bungalows, and for visitors to be able to see the art in the changing light, similar to how it would be seen it at her own home. That the museum would look small from the outside but large from the inside.

The most well-known parts of the collection are the Surrealist and other modern European paintings and the American Art since World War II. The de Menils had been collecting since 1940 and knew many of the artists they collected personally and supported their work. But they also collected a variety of historical ancient art from varied parts of the globe.

The collection outgrew its beginnings and in 2014 an ambitious plan was formed to create a campus plan to make its art more accessible. The campus is a collection of pathways connecting different buildings.

The main 30,000 square foot gallery opened in 1987, holding The Menil Collection. The interior of the building is bathed in light, and the collection is curated to be a space to show a variety of exhibitions.

Across from the main museum is the Cy Twombly Gallery, named after the mid-century artist who collaborated to help make a place to preserve his vision as he saw it.

Many people first heard of the Menil Collection through the nearby Rothko Chapel, a peaceful space anchored by the paintings of mid-century artist, Mark Rothko.

They added more guest amenities to make it a more comforting and inspiring to its visitors. This included, Bistro Menil a casual European-inspired American eatery with a selection of good wines.

The Menil Collection is located in a quiet residential neighborhood and is a nice place to get a quiet walk and experience art.

Visitor Tips

The Menil Collection admission and parking is free. The de Menils wanted art to be accessible and welcoming to the largest number of people.

The photography policy at the Menil tries to balance the quiet enjoyment of artwork with people’s desire to capture their experiences in photography. The Menil allows photography for personal use in their foyer, corridors, and outdoor spaces. Photography is not permitted in the gallery spaces.

Check their website for special events which include lectures, musical performances, and special exhibits.

Menil Campus – Menil Collection
1533 Sul Ross St
Houston, Texas 77006
(713) 525-9400

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