Announcing Shinique Smith Artist Talk and Live Performance for Juneteenth

Announcing Shinique Smith Artist Talk and Live Performance for Juneteenth

A First Time Collaboration presented by JuneteenthKC, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art

Still from Shinique Smith’s film,
Breathing Room: Moon’ Marked Journey

(Kansas City, Missouri—June 1, 2022) — JuneteenthKC, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art are pleased to bring Shinique Smith to Kansas City for a live performance and artist talk celebrating Juneteenth. Breathing Room: Evocation, taking place at the Nelson-Atkins on June 11, is a performance that functions as an extension of an earlier iteration of Smith’s film Breathing Room, which is an essential element of her new body of work, STARGAZERS, currently on view at the Nerman Museum through July 31, 2022. To coincide with the performance, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art will host an artist talk by Smith on June 10, at which the artist will provide context and insights into the development of the work.

The live performance will be led by artist Shinique Smith and will feature talented local performers and yogis as they breathe, sing, and create movement while draped in swaths of billowing fabrics and shades of indigo. The audience is invited to participate by breathing along with the performers at the beginning and end. Evolving from Smith’s Breathing Room series and created especially for this Juneteenth commemoration, this multidisciplinary piece will challenge and inspire conceptions of ritual and transformation. 

“Evocation is an extension of my ongoing Breathing Room projects which have served as an exchange between performers, audience and myself to provide space to revere Black people, ancestors and ourselves through breath and focused intention, ” said Shinique Smith.


Artist Talk
Friday, June 10,  6–7 p.m. | Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Q&A following the lecture.
Free tickets required; reserve at

Saturday, June 11, 11–11:40 a.m. │ Atkins Auditorium, Lobby Level, Nelson-Atkins Building 
Q&A following the performance.
Free tickets required; reserve at

On view through July 31 | Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art
Free; learn more at

The Nerman Museum’s current exhibition STARGAZERS highlights the breadth of her practice, focusing on her studies in spirituality and spiritual identity; geometry, the cosmos and cosmic patterns; and the role of clothing and cloth in personal freedom and identity. 

“We are thrilled to be partnering with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Kemper Museum to bring Shinique Smith’s performance to life,” said JoAnne Northrup, Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. “We could not be more excited for Smith’s original performance that incorporates movement, and breath, as well as imagery from her recent film and gestures performed in her studio, for an immersive and transformational audience experience.”


Shinique Smith’s multidisciplinary practice includes painting, sculpture, video, photography, installation and performance. Exploring ideas of transformation and ritual through materials such as fabric, clothing, and personal belongings, breath, bundling, collage and gesture, Smith has built a complex visual vocabulary that resonates on intimate and social scales. Born in Baltimore, residing in Los Angeles, Smith’s work has been exhibited by many prestigious institutions including Baltimore Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, LACMA, and Studio Museum in Harlem.


Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Traditionally Juneteenth is known as a cultural event that celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in America in 1865. Brought to Kansas City in 1980 by Horace M Peterson III, founder of the Black Archives of Mid-America INC, JuneteenthKC is an annual heritage celebration and platform that celebrates the emancipation of enslaved Africans in America and provides the backdrop to pay tribute to the founders of our community.


Located in Kansas City, MO, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits, collects, and educates in a free and welcoming environment for all. The museum’s growing Permanent Collection aims to reflect the vitality, complexity, and unfolding patterns within modern and contemporary art and culture. Special exhibitions, installations, lectures, and workshops, as well as youth, teen, and intergenerational programs provide resources for communities to engage with the issues of our time, discover outlets for self-expression and dialogue, learn directly from living artists, and bring deeper meaning to their lives. Admission, programs, and parking are always free.


The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America’s finest art museums. The museum opens its doors free of charge to people of all backgrounds. The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access to its renowned collection of more than 42,000 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and Native American and Egyptian galleries. Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the museum is a key educational resource for the region. In 2017, the Nelson-Atkins celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Bloch Building, a critically acclaimed addition to the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building.


The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (NMOCA) has one of the top internationally acclaimed collections of emerging and established artists today. Public Art Review magazine named JCCC as one of the top 10 university/college campuses for public art in America, citing the sculptures, paintings, ceramics, photography and works on paper installed throughout the campus. The museum presents many of the region's most important exhibitions of leading-edge contemporary art, as well as dynamic and diverse educational programming.


Louise Forster (she/her/hers)
Marketing and Communications Manager
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
816.457.6132 |
4420 Warwick Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64111