In 1969, Houston art catalysts John and Dominique de Menil founded the Rice Media Center and the Rice Museum, known as the “Art Barn,” both of which still remain an important and inspirational part of the university’s campus. Upon formation of the Media Center and Museum, the de Menil couple worked with a goal to unite the community by way of education, collaboration, and communication between people of different backgrounds and varying circumstances.
Rice University now proudly presents Raid the Archive: The de Menil Days at Rice. This exhibition, curated by John Sparagana and Katia Zavistovski, is a collection of film, photography, exhibition posters, correspondence, and other forgotten memories and artifacts that are part of the Menil archive, brought back to the very campus on which they were initially displayed. To display the archive, an Exhibition, Companion Film Series, and Panel Discussion will be presented– all of which are free and welcome the public eye.
The exhibition and its relative events at Rice University are both free and open to the public. The exhibition is on view September 27-November 9 (M-F, 11am-5pm) in the Visual and Dramatic Arts Main Gallery, and will celebrate its success with an opening reception October 12 at 6pm in the same gallery. Much of the material provided by the exhibition has never been seen publicly, and will provide a rare look at the revolutionary projects and people that initiated the art movement at Rice University.
THE COMPANION FILM SERIES
In the Rice Cinema Film Auditorium on October 13 at 7pm, this film series will show clips associated with de Menil patronage and visual memories of de Menil activity at Rice, with a shared focus on both the art of installation and the filmmakers themselves. The two buildings, the two missions, and the two approaches are evident in the art exhibitions and films that were part of everyday life at the Media Center. This series showcases and emphasizes a window of creative time that can serve as a model for the future.
THE PANEL DISCUSSIONS
Two panel discussions are organized in conjunction with the exhibition and will be presented on October 14 in the Rice Cinema Film Auditorium. The Rice Museum panel will be held at 1pm and will converse on topics relative to the museum’s affluent history, led by panelists including professors, patrons, preservation activists, and conceptual artists. The Rice Media Center panel will commence at 3:30pm, discussing de Menil era Media Center experimentation, production, and presentation. Participants in this second panel include the founding director of the Rice Media Center, Gerald O’Grady; documentary filmmakers, lecturers at Rice University, and more. All panelists either played a central role at the Rice Museum or Media Center during the de Menil years, or have some sort of direct, vital connection to that era. Light refreshments will be served between panel discussions.