This exhibition of works from the Permanent Collection of the Kemper Museum was inspired by the poem “Autumn Twilight, Dwelling Among Mountains” by the eighth-century Chinese poet Wang Wei.
The poem describes nature’s introduction of the twilight atmosphere— new rains, moonlight through the trees, wind through the bamboo leaves, and withering blossoms. Just as the words of Wei’s poem elicit images of a landscape, the selected works on view show the artists’ attention to light and composition.
Dark Days, Bright Nights: Contemporary Paintings from Finland gathers together and investigates the inspirations, methods, and practice of Finnish painters. Dark Days, Bright Nights presents 43 works of art—stylistically disparate and often visually dazzling—from 13 artists ranging from the post-WWII generation to those who have come of age squarely in the 21st century. The exhibition features 41 two-dimensional paintings, a sculptural installation, and a projected video installation.
Exhibition features 30 inmate portraits and images by photographer Nick Vedros.
Prisons are hard, unforgiving places, built for incarceration not rehabilitation. If inmates hope to change, they need to find the will, courage and strength to do so, against long odds.
Inside Kansas Correctional Facilities, men and women are doing just that through an intense program of weekly transformative meetings that has greatly reduced recidivism rates. Inmates freely confront each other (and their own inner demons) with unflinching honesty, often for the first times in their lives.
The second in a series of exhibitions presented at Kemper at the Crossroads, The Center is a Moving Target addresses the evolving rhythm and elusive modern definition of “regionalisms” in contemporary art. Artists living and working within a two-hundred-mile radius of Kansas City along a central corridor of the Midwest—from Iowa, through Kansas City, and to Oklahoma—address the history and peculiarities of place in projects that explore architectural concepts of our time.
Uruguayan artist Marco Maggi’s ambitiously scaled paper installation Great White Dialogue (2000) reveals an encoding of the world in macro and micro, linear and aerial perspectives. From a distance, the stacks of thousands of sheets of paper (24,549 total) that are set out in a grid onto the floor suggest a landscape, circuit boards, or an architectural model for an imagined city. Viewed more intimately, delicate sculptural forms have been cut and raised from the top layer of paper, creating shadows that extend along the paper’s surface.
The ever-changing light cast from the sky reflects patterns onto the earth’s surfaces—ripples on the surface of water, buildings and windows, and people’s bodies as they bask in the sunshine. In this selection of works on paper from the Kemper Museum’s Permanent Collection, artists capture the sky’s illumination, creating abstract or representational images of their perceptions. Together, these observations enhance the artists’ deep explorations of the phenomenological connections between earth and sky.
Inspired by Hew Locke’s large-scale photographs from the series How Do You Want Me?, this exhibition presents portraits and self-portraits from the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection that emphasize the complexities of a dynamic dialogue between artist and subject. In Locke’s large-scale photographs, an oblique, almost imperceptible form of self-portraiture playfully addresses what is both hidden and revealed as the viewer sorts through an elaborate array of objects that adorn the body of the artist in his studio.
American Montage draws on Brooklyn-based artist Adam Cvijanovic’s merging of influences from nineteenth-century American landscape painting and twentieth-century cinematic techniques. The exhibition features installations and paintings on his signature Tyvek surfaces from the past fifteen years. Cvijanovic’s methods of fracturing, cutting, layering, and sequencing imagery to collapse space, time, and narrative demonstrate a montage of American visual perspective.
Making a mark can be an expression of an artist’s signature style, the literal result of the artist’s gesture interacting with the surface of a work, or more simply the manipulation of material. Make Your Mark features ten works from the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection that emphasize the individual tropes and gestures employed by a selection of artists in making their signature mark. This exhibition celebrates the distinctive marks that define the identifiable styles of these individual artists.
Depth and Meaning: 20th Anniversary Gifts presents a selection of works of art gifted to the Kemper Museum by artists and collectors, dealers, and other friends to commemorate and celebrate the Museum’s twenty-year milestone. These extraordinary gifts also add depth and meaning to our understanding of the styles and influences of contemporary artists whose works are already a part of the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection.
The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art presents New York-based artist Xaviera Simmons's Number 16 (2013; 60 min. loop). Simmons's work spans a range of media including photography, performance, video, sound, and installation, and exmaines "process with attention to aesthetics and beauty." In the performance as video work Number 16, Simmons makes her studio process visible, closing the gap between the artist, audience, and performer to inspire an inclusive experience in real time.
Depth and Meaning: 20th Anniversary Gifts presents a selection of works of art gifted to the Museum by artists and collectors, dealers, and other friends of the Museum. The works on exhibition in the Meeting Room and Sally Kemper Wood galleries have been gifted in honor of the Museum’s twenty-year milestone. Additionally, these extraordinary gifts add depth and meaning to our understanding of the styles and influences of contemporary artists whose works are already a part of the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection.
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.
Reflecting on the poetics of place, Barry Anderson’s single-channel video installation Pigeon (2001) (7:37 minute loop) engages the viewer in both the activity and stillness of a site. In this digital film of a pigeon moving under an arch of flowing water in the Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy, Anderson focuses on the quiet mystery and humor of the everyday. Accompanied by the existing sounds present in the piazza the video grounds us in a sense of real-time for a brief and unexpected exchange.
The exhibition Summoning Ghosts: The Art of Hung Liu is the first comprehensive survey of the artwork of Hung Liu—one of the most prominent Chinese painters working in the United States today. Featuring paintings, as well as personal ephemera such as photographs, sketch books, and informal painting studies from private and public collections around the world, the exhibition celebrates Liu's career accomplishments and includes work completed in China before the artist arrived in the U.S.