Art and Activism


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Projects of John and Dominique de Menil

Edited by Josef Helfenstein and Laureen Schipsi

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This lavishly illustrated book is the first to examine the significant contributions of John and Dominique de Menil to art, architecture, film, and the civil and human rights movements. The de Menils, who moved to Houston from France in 1941, amassed one of the world's great private art collections and became passionately involved in the cause of human rights.

The volume includes a discussion of the building of the de Menils' art collection; their patronage of modern architecture in Houston; their embrace of modernism; their leadership in Houston's civil rights movement and in human rights projects worldwide; their commissioning of works of art; their involvement in early film education and documentary filmmaking; and their establishment of the Rothko Chapel, the Menil Collection, the Cy Twombly Gallery, the Dan Flavin Installation, and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum. Vintage photographs, including those taken by Henri Cartier Bresson and Eve Arnold, previously unpublished correspondence with artists, and an illustrated chronology all add to this textured tribute to the de Menils' extraordinary achievements.

Distributed for The Menil Collection

Josef Helfenstein is director of The Menil Collection. Laureen Schipsi is publisher at The Menil Collection.

"Beautiful. . . . Art and Activism is an indispensable history of several pivotal decades in the development of Houston's art scene."—Douglas Britt, Chron

"Art and Activism represents the first publication to take a magnifying glass to the couple's pursuit over the course of half a century."—Steven Thompson, Culture Map

"[A] lavish tribute. . . . This model foundation publication documents and honors the de Menils' significant contributions. Recommended for those interested in modern avant-garde art and patronage."—Russell T. Clement, Library Journal

“…..multi-authored, brilliantly illustrated….”—Burlington Magazine

Recipient of the 2011 "Best Book on a Collection of the Year Award," presented by the International Art Book and Film Festival.
ISBN: 9780300123777
Publication Date: October 26, 2010
Publishing Partner: Distributed for The Menil Collection
344 pages, 9 3/4 x 11 1/4
188 b/w + 156 color illus.
Robert Rauschenberg

Cardboards and Related Pieces

Yve-Alain Bois; With an introduction by Josef Helfenstein a

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form, color, illumination

Suzan Frecon painting

Josef Helfenstein and Matthias Frehner; With Sarah Eckhardt

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560 Broadway

A New York Drawing Collection at Work, 1991-2006

Edited by Amy Eshoo; With contributions by Derrick R.

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Walter De Maria


Edited by Josef Helfenstien; With contributions by Clare El

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Experiments with Truth

Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence

Edited by Josef Helfenstein and Joseph N.

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Think of Them as Spaces

Brice Marden's Drawings

Kelly Montana; With an interview between Josef Helfenstein

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