Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art to receive $40,000 grant from National Endowment for the Arts

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art to receive $40,000 grant from National Endowment for the Arts

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KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – December 13, 2016—In a statement released today, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $40,000 to Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in support of Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today, an upcoming exhibition to open at the Kemper Museum June 8 through September 17, 2017 with opportunities to travel thereafter. The exhibition is organized by Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, and co-curated by Erin Dziedzic, Director of Curatorial Affairs at Kemper Museum, and Melissa Messina, Independent Curator and Curator of the Mildred Thompson Estate, Atlanta, Georgia.

This award marks the third consecutive year Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art has been the recipient of this prestigious grant from the NEA. Two years ago, the first NEA grant was awarded to Kemper Museum in the amount of $20,000, in support of the 2015 exhibition Adam Cvijanovic: American Montage. Last year, the Museum was awarded $40,000 in support of the 2016 exhibition, A Whisper of Where It Came From.

Executive Director Barbara O’Brien said, "Receiving national recognition through NEA’s Art Works grant for the third consecutive year validates the forward-facing view of the art and engagement with the artists of our time created by my hard-working and dedicated colleagues. We strive for the end result to enrich, inform, and bring meaning to Kemper Museum visitors’ lives.”

The Art Works category of NEA grants focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer.”

About the Exhibition

Magnetic Fields marks the first U.S. presentation dedicated exclusively to the formal and historical dialogue of abstraction by women artists of color.

In the June 2014 ARTnews article “Black Abstraction: Not a Contradiction,” Hilarie M. Sheets aptly notes, “The contributions of African American artists to the inventions of abstract [art] have historically been overlooked…” Magnetic Fields expands this historical conception with a focus on non-representational art making by women artists of color. In so doing, it reframes the art historical narrative to convey a more complete presentation of American abstraction than has ever previously been examined. Intergenerational in scope, Magnetic Fields presents a select group of prolific creators born between 1891 (Alma Thomas) and 1981 (Abigail DeVille) whose work demands deeper examination and collectively demonstrates a broader interpretation of American abstract art making from the last half-century.

The exhibition introduces the work of twenty-one exceptional artists in conversation with one another for the first time. With works in a range of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and drawing, the exhibition showcases a diverse range of unique visual vocabularies within non-representational expression. By highlighting the artists’ individual approaches to form, color, composition, material exploration and conceptual impetus within hard-edge and gestural abstraction, Magnetic Fields provides an expanded history of non-pictorial image- and object-making.

"Magnetic Fields amplifies the lives and work of twenty-one extraordinary artists whose dedication to non-representational art making contributes to the reframing of American abstraction,” said Director of Curatorial Affairs, Erin Dziedzic. “Intergenerational in scope, the exhibition is conceptually grounded in illuminating the formal conversations amongst the artists' works from the 1960s to the present."

Magnetic Fields features a range of works, including early and later career examples, those of specific series, several exhibited for the first time, and the long- awaited reappearance of iconic works such as Mavis Pusey’s large-scale painting Dejygea (1970) in The Whitney’s 1971 exhibition Contemporary Black Artists In America. Also drawn in part from the Kemper Museum’s Permanent Collection, the exhibition features Chakaia Booker’s rubber tire sculpture El Gato (2001).

An exhibition advisory group has been assembled to engage in broader dialogue throughout the planning of the exhibition. A variety of thought-provoking educational programming has been designed to complement the themes within Magnetic Fields, and will be offered free of charge to engage learners of all ages. A complete list of Museum programs and times relating to this exhibition can soon be found at kemperart.org.

Exhibiting Artists

Candida Alvarez (b. 1955)
Chakaia Booker (b. 1953)
Lilian Thomas Burwell (b. 1927)
Nanette Carter (b. 1954)
Barbara Chase-Riboud (b. 1939)
Deborah Dancy (b. 1949)
Abigail DeVille (b. 1981)
Maren Hassinger (b. 1947)
Jennie C. Jones (b. 1968)
Evangeline “EJ” Montgomery (b. 1930)
Mary Lovelace O’Neal (b. 1942)
Howardena Pindell (b. 1943)
Mavis Pusey (b. 1928)
Shinique Smith (b. 1971)
Gilda Snowden (b. 1954, d. 2014)
Sylvia Snowden (b. 1942)
Kianja Strobert (b. 1980)
Betty Blayton Taylor (b. 1937, d. 2016)
Alma Thomas (b. 1891, d. 1978)
Mildred Thompson (b. 1936, d. 2003)
Brenna Youngblood (b. 1979)

Image Credit: Mildred Thompson, Magnetic Fields (triptych), 1990, oil on canvas, 70.5 x 150 inches. Courtesy and copyright of the Mildred Thompson Estate, Atlanta, GA

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ABOUT KEMPER MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

Kansas City’s renowned FREE contemporary art museum, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art opened in October 1994 and draws 100,000 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. Special exhibitions, installations, lectures, as well as children, teen, and family programs and workshops are hosted at the Museum regularly.

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

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

For high-resolution images or media inquiries please contact:
Kent Michael Smith, Director of Marketing and Communications
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
ksmith@kemperart.org | 816-457-6132

Images and downloadable materials are also available online at: http://www.kemperart.org/press-kit

 

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