By Pamela G. Smart
Popular as probably the most major museums equipped by means of deepest creditors, the Menil assortment in Houston, Texas, seeks to have interaction audience in an acutely aesthetic, instead of pedagogical, adventure of artistic endeavors. The Menil's emphasis on being moved by way of artwork, instead of being taught paintings historical past, comes from its founders' conviction that artwork deals how to reintegrate the sacred and the secular worlds. encouraged by way of the French Catholic revivalism of the interwar years that recast Catholic culture because the avant-garde, Dominique and John de Menil shared with different Catholic intellectuals a wish to reorder a global in trouble via imbuing sleek cultural types with non secular religion, binding the sacred with the modern.
Sacred sleek explores how the Menil assortment provides expression to the non secular and political convictions of its founders and the way "the Menil way" is being either perpetuated and contested because the Museum makes the transition from working less than the non-public course of Dominique de Menil to the stewardship of profession pros. Taking an ethnographic technique, Pamela G. shrewdpermanent analyzes the nature of the Menil aesthetic, the approaches during which it's produced, and the sensibilities that it's intended to generate in those that interact with the gathering. She additionally deals perception into the extreme influence Dominique and John de Menil had at the emergence of Houston as a massive cultural middle.
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Extra resources for Sacred Modern: Faith, Activism, and Aesthetics in the Menil Collection
Thus, it could be used readily by both constituencies. Although this formal association with the institute lasted only from 1969 until late in 1972, it had a profound effect on the conceptualization of the chapel as an ecumenical place of worship. This conceptual shift was no doubt also informed by the pronouncements of Vatican II, which so powerfully endorsed ecumenicism, but its roots, for John and Dominique de Menil, lay in the ecumenical teaching of Congar. The chapel operates as a space of contemplation, but, with the de Menils’ conviction that contemplation should lay the foundation for action, it also serves as the institutional hearth for those projects pursued by John and Dominique that came together under the rubrics of social justice, world peace, and spirituality, albeit initiated with an iconic aesthetic and architectural statement.
I recount this comment in part because it gives voice to Couturier’s, and Dominique’s, understanding of the significance of intuition in the apprehension of art and, thereby, of the ineffable. We will see presently an elaboration of the entailments of this view for Couturier within the pages of the Catholic journal L’Art Sacré, which he coedited with Père Pie-Raymond Régamey from 1937 to 1954, except during his exile in North America during the war, as well as in the chapel projects he was instrumental in commissioning.
Perhaps, like medieval altarpieces, [they] can properly be seen only in an ambiance created in total keeping with their mood” (Selz, quoted in Barnes 1989, 43). John and Dominique de Menil shared this perception. indb 38 10/14/10 12:18:12 PM FAITH Dominique de Menil in the Rothko Chapel, 1997. Photo: A. de Menil. Courtesy Menil Archives, Menil Collection, Houston. collaboration with Philip Johnson. 32 This plan owes much, it is said, to Rothko’s experience of the octagonal, late twelfthcentury Byzantine Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, in Torcello, Italy, and the pair of mosaics that he found so moving therein.