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  Current Exhibitions

Piece by Piece: Building a Collection

January 30–April 26, 2015

Kemper Museum

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Piece by Piece: Building a Collection premieres a selection of more than 30 objects in a range of media by 26 national and international artists from the Kansas City–based collection of Christy and Bill Gautreaux. The exhibition results from an enriching collaboration with the collectors and reflects extensive curatorial research into their energizing and ever-evolving contemporary art collection for which we are profoundly grateful. It highlights a global perspective, including established and emerging artists from Africa, Afro-Caribbean regions, Europe, India, Latin America, and the United States.

Meditations on process, pattern, and material emerge as a major thread connecting the works, anchoring the artists’ themes of abstraction, the body and gesture, race and politics, as well as landscape and geography. The exhibition presents a distinguished vision in the building and shaping of a unique collection. The Gautreauxes note that “Most of this work was collected one or two pieces at a time, often spontaneously,” acknowledging, “It is exciting to see it curated by the Kemper Museum into a cohesive exhibition.” It is our hope that this focus on artists’ engagement with material and process, elevating themes significant to their practice, will prompt continued dialogue with contemporary art at the Kemper Museum.

Artists include: Sanford Biggers, McArthur Binion, Sarah Braman, Nick Cave, Nathaniel Donnett, Leonardo Drew, Andrew Erdos, Teresita Fernandez, Vibha Galhotra, Theaster Gates, Jeffrey Gibson, Michelle Grabner with Brad Killam, Hayv Kahraman, Glenn Kaino, Bharti Kher, Katrin Korfmann, Aimé Mpane, Vik Muniz, Toyin Odutola, Angel Otero, Mariana Palma, Ebony G. Patterson, Jen Stark, Mickalene Thomas, and Kara Walker.

Piece by Piece: Building a Collection, organized by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, is supported by Kemper Museum members and donors. Exhibition programming is supported by the Karen and Jack Holland Visiting Artist Fund.

Sanford Biggers, QC #15, 2013; Textiles and fabric treated with acrylic and spray paint on archival paper, 48 x 48 inches; image courtesy of Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, IL


Number 16

February 6–June 7, 2015

Kemper Museum

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The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art presents New York-based artist Xaviera Simmons's Number 16 (2013; 60 min. loop). Simmons's work spans a range of media including photography, performance, video, sound, and installation, and exmaines "process with attention to aesthetics and beauty." In the performance as video work Number 16, Simmons makes her studio process visible, closing the gap between the artist, audience, and performer to inspire an inclusive experience in real time.

Xaviera Simmons, © and courtesy of the artist


Earth & Sky: Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection

February 3–July 10, 2015

Kemper East

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The ever-changing light cast from the sky reflects patterns onto the earth’s surfaces—ripples on the surface of water, buildings and windows, and people’s bodies as they bask in the sunshine. In this selection of works on paper from the Kemper Museum’s Permanent Collection, artists capture the sky’s illumination, creating abstract or representational images of their perceptions. Together, these observations enhance the artists’ deep explorations of the phenomenological connections between earth and sky.

Harry Callahan, Eleanor, Indiana, 1948, gelatin silver print, 4 ½ x 4 ½ inches. Gift of Susan and Peter MacGill, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, 1995.91.


Make Your Mark

September 5, 2014–August 8, 2015

Kemper at the Crossroads

New Hours: Friday 5:00–9:00 p.m., Saturday noon–4:00 p.m.

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Making a mark can be an expression of an artist’s signature style, the literal result of the artist’s gesture interacting with the surface of a work, or more simply the manipulation of material. Make Your Mark features ten works from the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection that emphasize the individual tropes and gestures employed by a selection of artists in making their signature mark. This exhibition celebrates the distinctive marks that define the identifiable styles of these individual artists.

Jim Dine, Meadow Heart #1, 1971; acrylic, oil collage on paper, 30 x 40 inches; Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection Gift of the William T. Kemper Charitable Trust,
UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee, 1995.25


Depth and Meaning: 20th Anniversary Gifts

June 6, 2014–May 24, 2015

Kemper Museum

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Depth and Meaning: 20th Anniversary Gifts presents a selection of works of art gifted to the Museum by artists and collectors, dealers, and other friends of the Museum. The works on exhibition in the Meeting Room and Sally Kemper Wood galleries have been gifted in honor of the Museum’s twenty-year milestone. Additionally, these extraordinary gifts add depth and meaning to our understanding of the styles and influences of contemporary artists whose works are already a part of the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection.

Our mission to collect, care for, and interpret works of art is enhanced by the generosity and commitment of donors. Barry Anderson’s Finnean (2013), gifted by the artist, introduces a work from his project The Janus Restraint and demonstrates his continued interest in historical experimental cinema. One of Elizabeth Layton’s earliest works, I am Loved (1977), gifted by Don Lambert and the Lawrence Arts Center, joins two other drawings by Layton in the Collection that explore moments in the lives of aging individuals. Petah Coyne’s large-scale photograph Untitled (#887P-97) (1997), gifted anonymously, introduces into the Museum a two-dimensional exploration of the implied movement present in Untitled #827 (Three Tiered Chandelier) (1996). The Kemper Museum is honored to welcome these and other twentieth-anniversary gifts into the Permanent Collection.

Matt Rich, BLUE, 2014; gouache on Arches paper, 13 x 10 inches; Gift of Matt Rich and Samsøñ, Boston in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 2014.7