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Christophe de Menil



Kristian Nammack in conversation with the eighty-plus-year-old clothes and jewelry designer, art world royalty, and daughter of John and Dominique de Menil who, thanks to Dominique’s family fortune (she was born into the Schlumberger oil dynasty), created the Menil Collection in Houston and many other art centers and projects across the U.S. and New York.

Christophe de Menil’s rapport with the art world started as a child surrounded by masterpieces but began in earnest after her divorce from Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman (father of Uma), with whom she had her only child, daughter Taya. After the separation, de Menil enrolled at Columbia University in 1963 to study religion and organized a series of “happenings” in the Hamptons featuring artists Robert Whitman, Twyla Tharp and La Monte Young. In 1980 de Menil teamed up with avant-garde theater director Robert Wilson and served as his costume designer for the next 20 years. Four years later she started making clothes for private clients.

Her offspring include a granddaughter, writer and actress Caroline Snow; grandson Max Snow, a photographer (and ex-boyfriend of Mary-Kate Olsen); and her eldest grandson, the artist/provocateur Dash Snow, who died of a drug overdose in 2009 at age 27. She visited Pioneer Works for this conversation in December 2014.
 

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