Piece by Piece: Building a Collection

Piece by Piece: Building a Collection

Piece by Piece: Building a Collection
Selections from the Christy and Bill Gautreaux Collection

Opens January 30, 2015 at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri

KANSAS CITY – December 15, 2014 – Piece by Piece: Building a Collection, an exhibition premiering works of art from the Kansas City-based collection of Christy and Bill Gautreaux, will be on view from January 30 through April 26, 2015, at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri. Kemper Museum admission is free.

Recognized as one of the “200 Top Collectors” by ARTnews in 2014. "Christy and Bill are part of an exciting time for the arts in Kansas City. They are showing enormous civic and cultural leadership as they actively create a world-class collection that includes artists from across the globe," said Executive Director Barbara O'Brien. The Gautreauxes have a long- standing relationship with the Kemper Museum. Bill has served as a member of the Board of Directors since 2012, while Christy fulfilled the role of co-chair of the Museum’s 20th Anniversary 2014 Gala.

Piece by Piece: Building a Collection explores a selection of more than 30 objects in a range of media by 25 national and international artists. Meditations on process, pattern, and material, the works engage within themes of abstraction, the body and gesture, race and politics, as well as landscape and geography. Together, they reveal a distinguished vision in the building and shaping of a unique collection. “Most of this work was collected one or two pieces at a time, often spontaneously,” said Bill Gautreaux. “It is exciting to see it curated by the Kemper into a cohesive exhibition. We know [through this exhibition] we will learn something about ourselves and our relationship to this work.”

"It has been an outstanding opportunity to collaborate with Christy and Bill Gautreaux as we identified thematic threads unique to their collection,” states Erin Dziedzic, curator and head of adult programs at the Kemper Museum. “I am certain that the exhibition Piece by Piece will generate many lively conversations as visitors to the Kemper Museum experience both the global reach and conceptual range of the exciting and significant works of art on view."

Among the artists represented is Chicago-based McArthur Binion (b. 1946) whose triangular shaped, duo-chromatic black and white Differness: Three (2012) fuses African American autobiographical experiences with the visual tropes of predominantly white American modernism. Brooklyn-based Leonardo Drew (b. 1961) is known for his ability to form materials that simultaneously create markers of cultural history and transcend the present. He imbues new meaning into objects that resonate with a history of modernism, while reaching back across continents and centuries to cultural roots in Africa. Sarah Braman (b. 1970) also takes a tactile approach to examining modernist motifs like the cube by breathing life into industrial and found-object materials in asymmetrically isolated vignettes, such as Night Friend (2012).

Layering black on black marks with ink, charcoal, pastel, and marker, Nigerian-born, New York–based artist Toyin Odutola (b. 1985) creates portraits that illuminate the notion of depth often neglected in perceptions of blackness. Kara Walker (b. 1969) employs her signature silhouetted imagery in her series of etchings An Unpeopled Land in uncharted Waters (2010), to reveal scenes linked to the lives of female slaves transported across the Atlantic to the antebellum South.

New Delhi–based artist Vibha Galhotra (b. 1978) addresses the shifting topography of the world under the impact of growth and globalization in her large-scale work composed of thousands of metal ghungroos. New York–based Jeffrey Gibson (b. 1972) cloaks a familiar Everlast punching bag (a recognized symbol of masculinity) with fabrics, beads, and fringe to render the object gender neutral. He carries this practice into his recent figurative sculptures that exude both fetishism and beauty. Incorporating layers of material and process in the mixed-media work Landscape Majestic (2010), New York–based artist Mickalene Thomas (b. 1971) creates a lush landscape recalling influences from the Hudson River School to Édouard Manet as she explores traditional and pop culture aspects of beauty.

All of the objects in Piece by Piece were selected to highlight a cross-section of the Gautreaux collection, which reflects an interest in process and material. Other artists included in the exhibition are Sanford Biggers, Nick Cave, Nathaniel Donnett, Andrew Erdos, Teresita Fernandez, Theaster Gates, Michelle Grabner, Hayv Kahraman, Glenn Kaino, Bharti Kher, Katrin Korfmann, Aimé Mpane, Vik Muniz, Angel Otero, Mariana Palma, Ebony G. Patterson, and Jen Stark. Together the works form a global conversation of established and emerging artists from Africa, Afro-Caribbean regions, Europe, India, Latin America, and the United States.

Piece by Piece is organized by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by Erin Dziedzic, curator and head of adult programs. Many programs, including a talk by artist Nathaniel Donnett, have been organized in conjunction with the exhibition. Please visit www.kemperart.org to view all scheduled programs and times. All Kemper Museum programs are free.


About the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Kansas City’s renowned FREE contemporary art museum, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art opened in October 1994 and draws 120,000 visitors each year. The Museum boasts a rapidly growing Permanent Collection that uniquely bridges modern and contemporary works of art featuring artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Georgia O’Keeffe, Keltie Ferris, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Richard Mosse, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. The Museum hosts special exhibitions, installations, lectures, as well as children and families programs and workshops.

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (4420 Warwick Blvd.) is open 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Tuesday–Thursday; 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m., Friday–Saturday; and 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Sunday. Café Sebastienne serves lunch 11:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday; and dinner 5:30–9:00 p.m., Friday–Saturday. The Museum and Café are closed on Mondays and major holidays. Kemper at the Crossroads (33 W. 19th Street) is open 5:00–9:00 p.m., Friday; noon to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, and the galleries at Kemper East (200 E. 44th Street) are open 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., Tuesday–Friday. Admission is free at all three locations.

Thank you
Support for the Kemper Museum is generously provided by members and donors, especially: ArtsKC; The H&R Block Foundation; Curry Family Foundation; Francis Family Foundation; Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee; Karen and Jack Holland; Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation; David Woods Kemper Memorial Foundation; William T. Kemper Charitable Trust, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee; Kirk Foundation; Missouri Arts Council; National Endowment for the Arts; ArtWorks; Miller Nichols Charitable Foundation; Portman Charitable Trust, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee; Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts; Jo Ann and William Sullivan; and the Women’s Foundation.

For more general information about the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, visit www.kemperart.org.

For high-resolution images, exhibition checklist, or media inquiries please contact:

Kent Michael Smith, ksmith@kemperart.org | 816-457-6132