A book chronicling the lives of the founders of Houston's world-famous modern art museum has been named 2010's best book on an art collection by a jury at the International Art Book and Film Festival of Perpignan in France. The book, Art and Activism: Projects of John and Dominique de Menil, tells the story of the de Menils and their love for art as well as their involvement in humanitarian causes.
Art and Activism is edited by Josef Helfenstein, director of the Menil Collection, and Lauren Schipsi and contains contributions from artist Dorothea Tanning, architect Renzo Piano, film scholar Gerald O'Grady, architectural historian Stephen Fox, curators Bertrand Davezac and Walter Hopp and Africanist Kristina Van Dyke, among others. It also contains private correspondence and reminiscences from such iconic artists as Marcel Duchamp, Jasper Johns, Man Ray, Barnett Newman, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko and Niki de Saint Phalle, and is illustrated with works from the Menil Collection and rarely seen archival photographs.
According to the jury's statement, the book "brings the reader into the artistic world of the second half of the twentieth century, through the couple's life and passion for art."
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The International Art Book and Film Festival of Perpignan is an annual festival dedicated to the history of art and its teaching. A jury composed of professionals from the art world, cultural institutions and universities selects the year's best books and films about art.