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Black Tie International At- The Menil Collection


Gala Co-Chairs: Isabel Lummis, Franci Crane, Susan de Menil,

Gala Co-Chairs: Isabel Lummis, Franci Crane, Susan de Menil,
Sara Dodd-Spickelmier, Karen Pinson.
Photo by George Hixson







HOUSTON, TX, December 4, 2012 — Art-world celebrities and patrons from Houston and around the world gathered at the Menil Collection on Friday evening, November 30, for Celebration in Blue, only the third gala the museum has held since its opening in 1987.  Dining and dancing amid a décor inspired by the signature color of Yves Klein, with paintings by the French artist prominently displayed, the guests contributed more than $2.2 million in table and ticket sales and approximately $600,000 in a silent art auction to support the Menil Collection on its 25th anniversary.

Menil Director Josef Helfenstein welcomed distinguished honorary chairs Almine and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, as well as the evening’s co-chairs Franci Crane, Sara Dodd-Spickelmier, Isabel Lummis, Susan de Menil, and Karen Pinson. Mr. Helfenstein also read greetings sent by honorary event chairs François Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United States; Paal Kibsgaard, CEO of Schlumberg Ltd.; and artist Jasper Johns.

Among the guests toasting the Menil on its first quarter-century were Lynn Wyatt, Janet and Paul Hobby, Leslie Elkins Sasser and Shannon Sasser, Louisa Stude Sarofim, Janie C. Lee and David Warren, Anne and Peter Brown, Marilyn Oshman and Alvin Lubetkin, Marcy Taub and Thomas Wessel, Melanie Gray and Mark Wawro, Michael Zilkha, Joa Baldinger Friedrich and Heiner Friedrich, Philippe Vergne, Mel Chin, Lyle Ashton Harris, Emily Pulitzer, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Ashton Hawkins, Allison Sarofim and Hamish Bowles.

Each of the evening’s chairs was accompanied by her husband: James Crane, Keith Spickelmier, Ransom Lummis, Francois de Menil, and Harry Pinson.  Other members of the de Menil family were also in attendance. Lois and George de Menil joined their son Benjamin for the festivities, as did two of Susan and Francois’s children, Sophie and Conrad. Also raising glasses to the museum built by Dominique de Menil to house the collection she started with her husband John were Adelaide de Menil Carpenter, and Fariha Friedrich Karimnia (with her daughter Duha Friedrich, and son Aziz, with his wife Andee).

Guests dined on a menu featuring brace of stuffed quail and butternut squash purée, presented by Jackson and Company, while sipping Domaine Pierre Labet Bourgogne 2009 white burgundy or red burgundy and Piper Heidsieck Brut Champagne. Dancing followed, to the music of Party on the Moon. Throughout the evening, guests bid in a silent auction on works donated for the occasion by renowned artists associated with the Menil Collection, including Maurizio Cattelan, Vija Celmins, Christo, Walter De Maria, Mark di Suvero, Marlene Dumas, Olafur Eliasson, Robert Gober, Brice Marden, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Edward Ruscha, Richard Serra, and Luc Tuymans.  

The weekend celebrations continued with a Saturday-night dance, “Bleu Électrique”, for Menil Contemporaries, the museum’s burgeoning membership group for young-professionals, and a free concert Sunday afternoon by the composer Philip Glass, who concluded the program with a new étude, honoring the Menil Collection’s 25th year. All anniversary events took place in a great tent on the museum’s lawn.

joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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