• Frederick James Brown, (American, 1945–2012), They Have the Right to Sing the Blues, 1995
    acrylic on canvas, 92 x 148½ inches

    Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Anonymous Gift, 2002.20.01.
    © Frederick J. Brown Trust / Artist's Rights Society (ARS), New York

    Frederick James Brown, (American, 1945–2012), They Have the Right to Sing the Blues, 1995
    acrylic on canvas, 92 x 148½ inches

    Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Anonymous Gift, 2002.20.01.
    © Frederick J. Brown Trust / Artist's Rights Society (ARS), New York

  • Bisa Butler, (American, born 1975), A Man's Worth, 2019
    quilted and appliqued cotton, wool, and chiffon, 89 x 50 inches

    Promised Gift of Christy and Bill Gautreaux, PG.2019.09.01.
    art and photo © Bisa Butler, courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery

    Bisa Butler, (American, born 1975), A Man's Worth, 2019
    quilted and appliqued cotton, wool, and chiffon, 89 x 50 inches

    Promised Gift of Christy and Bill Gautreaux, PG.2019.09.01.
    art and photo © Bisa Butler, courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery

  • Siah Armajani, (American, born Iran, 1939–2020), Kansas City No. 1, 2000
    watercolor, gouache, graphite on board, 59 x 147¾ inches

    Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Gift of the Sosland Foundation in Honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 2014.19.01.
    © Siah Armajani. Photo: E. G. Schempf, 2016

    Siah Armajani, (American, born Iran, 1939–2020), Kansas City No. 1, 2000
    watercolor, gouache, graphite on board, 59 x 147¾ inches

    Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Gift of the Sosland Foundation in Honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 2014.19.01.
    © Siah Armajani. Photo: E. G. Schempf, 2016

Contemporary Art and the Missouri Bicentennial

Thursday, September 16, 2021 to Sunday, February 20, 2022
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

To mark Missouri’s Bicentennial, Kemper Museum invited an advisory group of 13 civic partners comprising curators, educators, artists, and cultural leaders to identify themes and through lines related to the state’s history and select works of art from the museum’s Permanent Collection that can illuminate these ideas. The exhibition will open on September 16, 2021 and remain on view through February 20, 2022.

This exhibition speaks broadly to the issues that have affected and continue to affect our state as we enter Missouri’s next century. The works on view will contribute to discussions around honoring ancestral histories; exploring and reflecting on relationships between Indigenous Peoples and cultures of the Missouri landscape; human’s impact on the Missouri River; the surreal descriptors of nature veiling issues of inequality; the people and experiences less widely known, recognized, and understood in the Midwest region; and the global connections created and sustained by jazz music and its deep roots in Kansas City.

Themes put forth by Advisory Partners will be explored through more than 50 works including Frederick James Brown’s (American, 1945–2012) They Had the Right to Sing the Blues (1995), Wilbur Niewald’s (American, born 1925) Current River II (1965), Bisa Butler’s (American, born 1975) A Man’s Worth (2019), Alvin Eli Amason (Native American, Sugpiaq/Alutiq Alaskan, born 1948) So Tall (1990), Elizabeth Layton’s (American, 1909–1993) I am Loved (1977), and Romare Bearden’s (American, 1911–1988) Family (1971).

Collectively, these works inspire us to bring new perspectives to our understanding of Missouri’s unique history as well as to consider the ways that the themes and issues at play in our state fit into a more global framework. Contemporary artists often respond to the world around them, exploring both large societal issues and personal experiences through their work. As we bring our own histories to the gallery, we have the opportunity to interpret them within a new context.

Contemporary Art and the Missouri Bicentennial is organized by Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by Erin Dziedzic, director of curatorial affairs; Jade Powers, assistant curator; and the following Advisory Partners:

CONTEMPORARY ART AND THE MISSOURI BICENTENNIAL ADVISORY PARTNERS

Dr. Dina Bennett | Director of Collections & Curatorial Affairs
American Jazz Museum

Gaylene Crouser | Executive Director
Kansas City Indian Center

Anne Ducey | Former Senior Graphic Designer & Exhibit Coordinator
Kansas City Public Library

Paul Gutierrez | Director of Visitor Experience & Public Programming
Kansas City Museum

Kimi Kitada | Jedel Family Foundation Curatorial Fellow
Charlotte Street Foundation

Kathy Liao | Artist, Artist INC Program Specialist
Mid-America Arts Alliance

Toya Like | Associate Professor and Interim Chair of Race, Ethnic and Gender Studies
University of Missouri–Kansas City

Eleanor Lim-Midyett, Ph.D. | Assistant Professor
Kansas City Art Institute

Lee Wong Medina | Former Second Secretary Associated Consul
Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City

Glenn North | Executive Director
Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center

Joey Orr | Andrew W. Mellon Curator for Research
Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas

Daniel Wildcat | Indigenous and American Indian Studies Faculty
Haskell Indian Nations University

Dr. Carmaletta Williams | Chief Executive Officer
Black Archives of Mid-America

 


This exhibition has been generously supported by the Enid and Crosby Kemper  Foundation, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee; and the R.C. Kemper Jr Charitable Trust and  Foundation, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee 

 

Lead Corporate Sponsor 

Premiere Benefactor Sponsor 

Copaken Family Fund

Additional Thanks 

Additional financial assistance is provided by generous donors and members, especially: William T. Kemper Charitable Trust, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee; Bebe & Crosby Kemper Foundation, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee; Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; The Sullivan Family Foundation, Jo Ann and William Sullivan; The Family of Mary Beth Smith Docent Program; Jack and Karen Holland Visiting Artist Fund; Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation; Bebe and Graham Hunt; Matt Smith & Lindsey Patterson Smith; Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts, Commerce Bank, Trustee; Jane Voorhees; Thomas and Sally Wood Family Foundation; Stanley J. Bushman and Ann Canfield; Charles M. Helzberg and Sandra Baer; Francis Family Foundation; Kansas City University; Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation; Bradley and Linda Nicholson Foundation; Harry Portman Charitable Trust, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee; Courtney S. Turner Charitable Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; RLS Illumination Fund; The Sosland Foundation.