• Louise Nevelson, (American, born Russia, 1899–1988)
    Untitled, (ca. 1976–78)
    painted wood, 80 x 48 inches
    Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri
     Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Gift of the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation, 2009.30.01.

    © 2018 The Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    Photo: James Allison Photography, 2013

    Louise Nevelson, (American, born Russia, 1899–1988)
    Untitled, (ca. 1976–78)
    painted wood, 80 x 48 inches
    Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri
     Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Gift of the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation, 2009.30.01.

    © 2018 The Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    Photo: James Allison Photography, 2013

  • Dan Budnik, (American, 1933–2020)
    Louise Nevelson, Grand Central Gallery, New York - 1958 with CATHEDRAL I, 1958, printed 2007
    from the series Picturing Artists, dye transfer print on paper, edition 2 of 10, 22 x 14⅜ inches
    Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri
    Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Gift of the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation, 2008.08.02.

    art and photo © Dan Budnik

    Dan Budnik, (American, 1933–2020)
    Louise Nevelson, Grand Central Gallery, New York - 1958 with CATHEDRAL I, 1958, printed 2007
    from the series Picturing Artists, dye transfer print on paper, edition 2 of 10, 22 x 14⅜ inches
    Collection of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri
    Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, Gift of the Enid and Crosby Kemper Foundation, 2008.08.02.

    art and photo © Dan Budnik

  • Installation view
    Deconstructing Louise Nevelson, February 9–June 3, 2018
    Sally Kemper Wood Gallery, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

    Installation view
    Deconstructing Louise Nevelson, February 9–June 3, 2018
    Sally Kemper Wood Gallery, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

  • Installation view
    Deconstructing Louise Nevelson, February 9–June 3, 2018
    Sally Kemper Wood Gallery, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

    Installation view
    Deconstructing Louise Nevelson, February 9–June 3, 2018
    Sally Kemper Wood Gallery, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

  • Installation view
    Deconstructing Louise Nevelson, February 9–June 3, 2018
    Sally Kemper Wood Gallery, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

    Installation view
    Deconstructing Louise Nevelson, February 9–June 3, 2018
    Sally Kemper Wood Gallery, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

  • Installation view
    Deconstructing Louise Nevelson, February 9–June 3, 2018
    Sally Kemper Wood Gallery, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

    Installation view
    Deconstructing Louise Nevelson, February 9–June 3, 2018
    Sally Kemper Wood Gallery, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Deconstructing Louise Nevelson

Friday, February 9, 2018 to Sunday, July 15, 2018
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Louise Nevelson (1899–1988) described her work as existing in “the in-between place”—somewhere between painting and sculpture, demonstrating stylistic influences from both Cubism (structure, form, and monochromatic palette) and Abstract Expressionism (movement, presence, and large-scale compositions). Using an array of found wood materials, arranged and painted in monochrome, Nevelson’s work appears to transform shadow into solid shape. This exhibition takes Nevelson as a point of inspiration and further explores the visual and historical connections between her wooden sculpture Untitled (ca. 1976–78) and other works from the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection. 

Early in her career, Nevelson was a student of Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann (1880–1966), who encouraged deep exploration of one’s desired medium. In 1959, Nevelson was part of a group exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York titled 16 Americans, which also featured Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, and Ellsworth Kelly. By including artists who were Nevelson’s influences and contemporaries throughout her decades-long career, this exhibition lifts up the visual, historical, and community correlations among them.

Deconstructing Louise Nevelson is the third in a series of exhibitions—following Deconstructing Francis Bacon (2013) and Deconstructing Robert Mangold (2015)—that focus on the style, themes, and history of individual artists within the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection. The Deconstructing series provides opportunities for meditations on the interconnectedness of artists and works of art in the Permanent Collection.

This exhibition was co-curated by Erin Dziedzic, director of curatorial affairs at Kemper Museum, and Taylor Carr-Howard, Kemper Museum 2017–18 curatorial intern. 

Exhibition Checklist

Artists featured in this exhibition include:

Dan Budnik      Harry Callahan
Petah Coyne      Marsden Hartley
Susan Hefuna      Hans Hofmann
Jasper Johns      Ellsworth Kelly
Beth Lipman      Marco Maggi
Louise Nevelson      Frank Stella
Ursula von Rydingsvard


To discover more about the works in Deconstructing Louise Nevelson, download the exhibition checklist:

Deconstructing Louise Nevelson Exhibition Checklist (PDF)