Houston, TX

The Menil Collection exhibits Cy Twombly's works

Jason Martinez

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HOUSTON, TX — Cy Twombly (1928–2011) emerged from the early 1950s New York art world, though his approach to painting and sculpture defied categorization with any dominant movement of the later twentieth century, such as Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art or Minimalism.

Cy Twombly was born in Virginia. He was an avid reader from a young age and traveled the world as a young man, finding inspiration in ancient Mediterranean history and geography, Greek and Roman mythology, classical literature,and poetry.

Twombly recast all of this—words, ideas and images—in exuberant, sensual canvases; at times epic in scale or on multiple-panels; he created an enigmatic and allusive world of iconography, metaphor, language and myth.

The Menil Collection approached Cy Twombly about a single-artist installation in the early 1990s. Twombly was so taken with the concept that he became intimately involved in both the construction and the selection and placement of artworks.

The works on display in the Cy Twombly Gallery span the artist's career from 1953 to 2004, and include a number of large canvases, sculptural works and suites of paintings and drawings.

Among the works on display are five paintings from 1959 with subtle graphic notations on white grounds; the vividly colored Bay of Naples and Triumph of Galatea, both from 1961; three of the late 1960s so-called “Blackboard” paintings; five paintings dedicated to German Romantic poet Rainer Maria Rilke from 1985; and the untitled “Green Paintings” that Twombly showed at the 1988 Venicus exhibition.

The artist's monumental Untitled (Say Goodbye, Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor), 1994, takes up an entire room.

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