Rice Unconventional Wisdom

Visual and Dramatic Arts - title

Raid the Archive #1Raid the Archive #2Raid the Archive: Menil Years at Rice      

  Rice Cent Logo




 Menil 25

Raid the Archive: The de Menil Years at Rice
Curated by John Sparagana and Katia Zavistovski
Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts
Rice Media Center

In 1969, John and Dominique de Menil founded the Media Center and the Rice Museum (known as the “Art Barn”), which were an integral part of the arts on campus then, and continue to play a significant and inspirational role today. Consonant with the philosophy behind The Menil Collection as well as Rice University’s own commitments and goals, the de Menils’ vision for the Media Center and Rice Museum was to provide avenues through which people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines could work together to promote education, collaboration, and exchange. The de Menils' activity at Rice was not only an important factor in the establishment of the arts on campus, but it also in part led to the building of the internationally renowned Menil Collection, designed by Renzo Piano and located in Houston's Museum District.

September 27-November 9, 2012, Visual and Dramatic Arts Main Gallery
Opening reception: October 12, 6:00 p.m., Visual and Dramatic Arts Main Gallery

Raid the Archive: The de Menil Years At Rice will call attention to this exciting history, which has in large part been forgotten. The exhibition will comprise a selection of films, photography, exhibition posters, correspondence, and other ephemera culled from the Menil archive - much of which has never been exhibited publicly. The materials assembled in the exhibition will provide a rare look at the pioneering projects and people involved in the early years of the arts at Rice.

Companion Film Series
October 13, 7:00 p.m., Rice Cinema Film Auditorium
The companion film series to Raid the Archive: The de Menil Years at Rice will feature screenings of films associated with de Menil patronage and cinematic documents of de Menil activity at Rice and will have a dual focus on the art of installation and on the filmmakers.  The two buildings, the two missions, and the two approaches are laid out in the art exhibitions and films that were part of the everyday creative life at the Media Center.  This series will offer a window on a creative time that can serve as a model for the future.

Panel Discussions
October 14, 1:00 p.m., Rice Cinema Film Auditorium
Organized in conjunction with the exhibition are two panel discussions: one related to the rich history of the Rice Museum, and the other to de Menil era Media Center experimentation, production, and presentation. Panelists for the first conversation include Rice University Joseph and Joanna Nazro Mullen Professor Emeritus of 
Art History, William Camfield; founding director of the Dia Art Foundation, Helen Fosdick; arts patron and preservation activist, Suzanne Deal Booth; and conceptual artist Mel Chin. Participants in the second panel are founding director of the Rice Media Center, Gerald O’Grady; Rice University Lecturer Emeritus in Art and Art History and critic, Thomas McEvilley; documentary filmmaker and Rice Visual and Dramatic Arts Film Program Manager Tish Stringer; and documentary filmmaker and University of Houston Associate Vice President for Planning Edward Hugetz. The panelists all played a central role at the Rice Museum or Media Center during the de Menil years, or have a vital connection 
to that period.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Rice University President's Visual and Dramatic Arts Endowment and the Jerome J. Segal Endowment in the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts.  This exhibition and related events are free and open to the public.   Special thanks to The Menil Collection Archives.

See Raid the Archive exhibition photos >>

Download the Raid the Archive exhibition card >> 
Read the Glasstire: Texas Visual Art review of Raid the Archive: The de Menil Years at Rice exhibition >>

Parking >>
Getting Around Campus >>

Campus Maps >>
Accessibility Map »