With nearly 15,000 pieces, the Menil collection excels with its wide array of antiquities, including Byzantine, medieval, and tribal art, as well as multiple works from 20th-century Masters (with an emphasis on surrealism). The museum has a unique feel. In opposition to most modern-day museums, the Menil’s holdings are selective rather than encyclopedic, offering depth to specific areas and artists. With a collection that clearly echoes the range of interests of the Menils and their curators, the focus and specialty of the museum is its ability to present pieces in an intimate, stripped-down manner—as if one were alone, experiencing them in a private setting.
With much of the collection emphasizing sacred pieces, and the non-denominational Rothko Chapel (which holds 14 of the master’s works within its walls), an experience at the Menil is both thought-provoking and calming. As one of the foremost collections of art in the world (including only one of two 13th-century Byzantine frescos in the entire Western Hemisphere), the Menil is a must-see.
Menil Collection Information
- Public Transportation: Poor
- Handicapped Accessibility: Fair (the main area is completely accessible, but accessing other buildings, like the Rothko Chapel or the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum, can be difficult)
- Hours: Wednesday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
- Admission: Free
- Tours: None (due to environment of the collection)
- Membership: Contributor membership ($100) includes invitations to all exhibition previews for a household, announcements of public lectures and programs, 10% discounts in the Menil Collection bookstore, and a subscription to Menil (the membership bulletin). Student membership is available for $25
- Other Benefits: A Menil Contemporaries membership includes all the benefits of membership corresponding to contribution amount, plus special educational events, gallery talks, and an invitation to participate in the unique annual weekend trip. Cost for this program is per individual and varies based on age of member.