The Menil Collection’s Drawing Institute, scheduled to open on the Houston institution’s idyllic campus in November, will be overseen by the newly named chief curator Edouard Kopp. He joins the institute—with a start date in January—from the Harvard Art Museums in Boston, where he has worked as curator of drawings since 2015.
“I’m very passionate about the drawing medium and have been for the past 20 years,” Kopp told ARTnews, “so to join an organization with such a stellar reputation as the Menil’s when they are devoting a new program to the study and celebration of modern and contemporary drawing in an amazing new building purposefully designed for that mission is very exciting.”
Rebecca Rabinow, director of the Menil Collection, said, “I had been searching for the right person for quite some time, and Edouard ticked the boxes.” She cited his experience with works on paper at Harvard—where he oversaw a collection of European and American drawings from the 14th century to 1900—and, prior to that, as assistant and associate curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum for nearly seven years. “At Harvard he [worked on] a major gift of 17th-century Dutch drawings and also bought a large Kara Walker drawing from the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. show last year in New York. He has a wide range of interests.”
Kopp said he is intrigued to relocate to Texas at “an exciting moment in Houston, a city that is culturally on the rise and ambitious.” By example he cited moves at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and of course the Menil’s Drawing Institute, which was designed expressly for the medium. “Incredible thought went into modulating the light,” he said of the new building, which is scheduled to open November 3 with a show of drawings by Jasper Johns. “The lighting is extremely sophisticated: When you enter there is a long canopy outside that lets your eyes adjust to a lower level of light, and then as you enter there’s another level, and then again in the exhibition galleries.”
He likes the size, too. “The scale of the building was very carefully considered. It’s slightly larger than the bungalows that are dotted around the campus but more intimate than the main Menil Collection building. The scale is meant to elevate drawing and signal the importance of the medium—but at the same time also signal the intimacy of drawing.”