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Faith, Activism, and Aesthetics in the Menil Collection
Renowned as one of the most significant museums built by private collectors, the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, seeks to engage viewers in an acutely aesthetic, rather than pedagogical, experience of works of art. The Menil’s emphasis on being moved by art, rather than being taught art history, comes from its founders’ conviction that art offers a way to reintegrate the sacred and the secular worlds. Inspired by the French Catholic revivalism of the interwar years that recast Catholic tradition as the avant-garde, Dominique and John de Menil shared with other Catholic intellectuals a desire to reorder a world in crisis by imbuing modern cultural forms with religious faith, binding the sacred with the modern. Sacred Modern explores how the Menil Collection gives expression to the religious and political convictions of its founders and how “the Menil way” is being both perpetuated and contested as the Museum makes the transition from operating under the personal direction of Dominique de Menil to the stewardship of career professionals. Taking an ethnographic approach, Pamela G. Smart analyzes the character of the Menil aesthetic, the processes by which it is produced, and the sensibilities that it is meant to generate in those who engage with the collection. She also offers insight into the extraordinary impact Dominique and John de Menil had on the emergence of Houston as a major cultural center.
Understanding the Arts and Creative Sector in the United States, Revised Edition
13 essays from leading experts, discusses international trade in cultural goods and services, discusses integration of arts and cultural policy on urban revitalization, civic engagement and historic preservation
The Boston Athenæum and the Origin of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
A detailed history of the Boston Athenæum’s historic role in the founding of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston The Boston Athenæum played a vital role in founding the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, a fact that is not widely known. This book details this important relationship, from its inception through the museum’s early years when the Athenæum’s continued support ensured the young institution’s survival. This historic partnership was remarkable in its intensity, intimacy, and informality, yet its details have never been fully documented. Based on extensive new research, With Éclat chronicles the joint endeavor in greater detail than ever before and places it in the context of Boston’s changing cultural landscape. This extraordinary story will appeal to those who know these wonderful institutions or are interested in the history of American museums.