The Menil’s growing collection, while not encyclopedic, spans the prehistoric era to the present day. Particular areas of strength include Byzantine art, West and Central African art, Surrealism, and 20th and 21st century American and European art. On September 22, 2018, the museum reopened with a year-long permanent collection initiative featuring many of the museum’s most well-known paintings and sculptures, as well as recent acquisitions and other works and promised gifts that have never before been on view in the museum. The installations will be changed several times over the course of the year-long period.
The opening installation in the African art galleries features more than 60 masks, figural sculptures and shrines, and vessels from regions of West and Central Africa. Introducing the galleries is a new presentation of paintings, works on paper, and sculptures that explore the shared histories Africa and Europe after 15th century.