Saturday, Nov. 3, The Menil Collection celebrated the opening of its newest building, the Menil Drawing Institute. The striking new building is the centerpiece of the Menil campus expansion, and it’s the first freestanding facility dedicated solely to the acquisition, study, exhibition, conservation, and storage of modern and contemporary drawings.

The 30,000-square-foot Menil Drawing Institute (1412 West Main St.) is the first art building to be added to the Menil Campus in 20 years. Designed by Johnston Marklee in conjunction with landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, it now joins the four other art buildings that make part of the Menil’s 30-acre campus in the heart of Houston.   

The modern new building shields light-sensitive works on paper from natural light that may damage it, while allowing modulated sunshine in common areas of the building. A beautiful, square, open-air courtyard serves as the building’s entrance. Inside, visitors will find two additional courtyards, one interior and one exterior, and 3,000 square feet of galleries.

To inaugurate the building’s galleries, the Menil has curated the exhibit The Condition of Being Here: Drawings by Jasper Johns, which will be on view from Nov. 3, 2018 to Jan. 27, 2019. The exhibit traces the chronology of Johns’s career and his method of working with motifs, spanning works from 1954 to 2016.

Visitors will also enjoy the campus’s new green space, located between the Menil Drawing Institute building and the Energy House. Filled with hundreds of plants and trees, the space also has a deck to house performances and video projections.

The Menil Drawing Institute will be open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission, like that to all Menil buildings, is free.