Why An Art Curator Left New York for Houston’s Menil Collection

It wasn’t just for the barbecue.

By Caroline CovingtonJuly 15, 2016 10:35 am

Even if you’re not an art buff, you probably know New York’s art scene is world class: Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney – some of the most important art institutions in the country.

So why would a leader of that top-notch art scene leave and come to Texas?

Dr. Rebecca Rabinow recently left her position as a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and this week she started her new position as the director of the Menil Collection in Houston, where she says her museum career was inspired.

“My first job in a museum was here at the Menil where I volunteered helping them put their archives into archival folders – and that sparked my interest in a museum career,” she says. “I knew that I loved the arts and had been looking around for a way to get involved… I was hooked, I knew that I wanted to research and spend a lot of time working with objects.”

Rabinow says the Menil has always been free – and that’s not changing. But there are some exciting things on the horizon.

“Right now I am in the process of meeting with all the folks here to see what it is that we should be doing,” she says. “One that that will change soon: next year the Menil Drawing Institute will open and that will bet the country’s first free-standing building devoted to the study and exhibition of drawings. It’s now in the process of being constructed and that is a very exciting initiative.”

While Rabinow is no stranger to the Lone Star State, she did have some readjusting to do when she returned.

“This might sound ridiculous but I sort of had to relearn to drive. When you live in New York City the public transportation is so good and you can usually walk to a lot of places as well. So there was that fear. But it’s fine, it’s like being on a bicycle – you just get back on and you’re fine.”

Listen to the full interview in the player above. 
Post by Allyson Michele.