The Menil Drawing Institute, the latest extension of the Menil Collection campus in Houston, will open its doors on Nov. 3 with an exhibition devoted to the drawings of Jasper Johns.
“The Condition of Being Here: Drawings by Jasper Johns” will trace the career of Mr. Johns, who is now 87, across 41 drawings in graphite, ink, watercolor, pastel and other mediums. The drawings depict some of his most frequently used motifs — targets and American flags — as well as his reflections on the Vietnam War, and the most recent piece is from 2016. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Menil will also publish “The Jasper Johns Catalogue Raisonné of Drawings,” a six-volume book of his work.
While the Menil Drawing Institute was created in 2008, it is just receiving a stand-alone building now in part because of the difficulty of showcasing and preserving drawings on paper. The opening of the 30,000-square-foot, $40 million building was delayed by nearly a year to allow for additional testing.
“We feel it’s extremely important to monitor the climate control and the humidity gauges for a number of months to make sure there are no deviations,” Rebecca Rabinow, the museum’s director, said in a phone interview.
The building is being brought to fruition through a $121 million capital campaign. Conceived by the architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, the building was designed with natural lighting specifically conducive to drawings. When it opens, drawings will be rotated in and out from the Menil’s sizable collection, including from a 110-drawing donation two years ago that included works by Mr. Johns, Jackson Pollock and Agnes Martin.