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Arts America Blog

Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851-1939

Through August 19, 2012 the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri will be displaying a treasure trove of objects from around the world that all debuted at a World’s Fair ($8 adult/$5 students/free for members and children under 12). Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851-1939 showcases the talent of artists and manufacturers who reinvented old styles and techniques or invented new ones …more…

Lois Dodd Retrospective at Kansas City’s Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

The first painting I saw at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art’s exhibition Lois Dodd: Catching the Light, perfectly set the stage for the rest of the show. Dodd’s 2010 Shadow with Easel (above) portrays the essential qualities of her works: observations of herself, the place(s) she inhabits, and the interaction between the two. The painting also shows playful brushstrokes and a bent towards the representational.

Dodd’s retrospective is a testament …more…

A View of America’s Past: Timothy O’Sullivan’s King Survey Photographs

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri is known for showing works that have had significant impact on the American mindset. Its current exhibit of “The King Survey Photographs” by Timothy H. O’Sullivan is one such body of work. Taken between 1867 and 1872 as well as 1868 and 1869, the King Survey photographs were part of an exploration of land in Wyoming, California, Nevada, and parts of …more…

“Lucifer Rising” – Surreal, Symbolic Paintings by David Goodrich

Image Credit: David Goodrich

When I walked into the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center(Kansas City, Missouri) recently, I felt a sense of surreal recognition, though I knew I’d never seen the paintings on exhibit before. Something about the style seemed so familiar to me, but I could not understand why. Setting aside my confusion, I set to enjoying the incredible work before me in “Lucifer Rising.”

“Lucifer Rising” is a collection of about …more…

Bill Viola’s “The Raft” Examines Human Reactions to Disaster

Still from "The Raft"

Today in the Bloch Building at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, Missouri), I saw The Raft by Bill Viola, a 10 and a half minute video. The Raft begins with a diverse group of people waiting, as if for a bus. The group is a mixture of ages and races, both men and women as well as a transgender person.  Filmed at high speed and …more…

Encountering Hokusai’s “Great Wave at Kanagawa”

I visited the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas on the KU campus this week. Since two of the galleries were closed for installation, the entire museum took only an hour to see. Contemporary art addressing recent issues and creating a space for activism was an odd fit with the 17th and 18th century European religious art on the first floor. The second floor galleries were also an odd, yet intriguing mixture of periods and styles: contemporary Native American art, European Medieval and Renaissance painting, and Asian woodblocks, ceramics, screens and statues. ...more...

“Companion Circles” Examines Artist Relationships On and Off the Canvas

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri is currently exhibiting “Companion Circles: Artist Circles from the Permanent Collection.” The exhibit examines the relationships between artists from their permanent collection including such notables as Georgia O’Keefe, Alfred Stiegletz, and William De Kooning. Mixing painting with photography, “Companion Circles” describes the relationships between the artists in both their personal lives and artistic expressions. ...more...

Maria Calderon Presents The Power of Intention

Maria Calderon, a local artist of Peruvian ancestry, has created a visually stimulating, immersive gallery experience at the Mattie Rhodes Gallery in the Kansas City Crossroads District. Calderon’s pastel portraits, in which the subjects sit in a whirling vortex of lines and colors, gazing at the viewer with a meditative expression, are captivating expressions of both the seen and unseen aspects of humanity.

These images are captivating in and of themselves, but Calderon has …more…

“Mound,” Stop-Motion Magic by Allison Schulnik

A captivating piece I saw at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art recently was a stop-motion animated film by Allison Schulnik entitled “Mound.” Shulnik created over 100 figures for the film over a period of several months.  The December 16, 2011 New York Times article “Allison Schulnik: Mound” by Ken Johnson eloquently describes the odd and entrancing animation:

 In this 4 minute 20 second video, dozens of lumpy, ghoulish figures — …more…

Two Views of George Ault: 1940s Painter

I recently realized just how much influence a museum can have on one’s perception of an artist and his or her work. In November of 2011, I went to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and spent an afternoon browsing through the galleries. In one of the smaller galleries, I saw an exhibit dedicated to George Ault. ...more...

Impressions & Improvisations: The Prints of Romare Bearden

I knew very little about Romare Bearden before I went to see Impressions & Improvisations: The Prints of Romare Bearden today at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. One of my artist friends who works in printmaking raved about him and his use of colors and techniques. We went together to a pre-exhibit printmaking demonstration given by Kathy Caraccio at the beginning of last month. She had worked with Bearden and mixed bits of print-making knowledge in with her personal remembrances of Bearden. ...more...

Kansas City Art Museums: Art Museums in the Kansas City Area

Credit: Wikipedia Commons/Charvex

The Kansas City metropolitan area is home to a vibrant arts community that includes the Crossroads Arts District, the Kansas City Art Institute and four incredible art museums. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Spencer Museum of Art, and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art each contribute a unique and valuable perspective to the region.

Here’s a brief summary of each museum:

Nelson-Atkins …more…