Art collectors Dominique and Jean de Menil found the Rice Media Center and commission Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry to design 2 small buildings to house the Media Center, the Institute of the Arts and the Department of Art and Art History. The Menils open the center in 1970, stage spectacular exhibitions of international acclaim, attract renowned professors of art history and sponsor well-known guest lecturers and artists. Menil patronage ends early in the 1980s, and Dominique de Menil later places the extensive Menil Collection in a museum building designed by Renzo Piano (open 1987) on a campus abutting St. Thomas University, Houston. The Media Center building now houses the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies and the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts. The Department of Art and Art History and Rice's art museum are now located in Sewall Hall.

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Dominique de Menil prepares Max Ernst exhibit at the Media Center.
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