Marcus Jansen (American, b. 1968) finds inspiration in the world around him. Regarded as a pioneer of “urban landscape painting,” Jansen uses his upbringing in both the United States and Germany, and places he was stationed during his time in the army, as influence for his paintings. Drawing inspiration from New York Abstract Expressionism as well as graffiti, Pop art, and Surrealism, Jansen employs practices from these art forms to create paintings that make social commentary.
Sweet On is a site-responsive installation by Texas-born, New Jersey-based artist Paul Henry Ramirez. Ramirez drew inspiration for this work from a quotation attributed to R. Crosby Kemper Jr. (1927–2014) in the anniversary publication Marking 20 Years: Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art: “Joy is to be surrounded by beauty.”
Abstracted Wonders: The Power of Lines presents a selection of abstract works from Kemper Museum’s Permanent Collection. The featured artists employ artistic approaches from kinetic art, geometric abstraction, Color Field, and Op (optical) art. Geometry and patterns in geography like those made by land and water inform horizontal, vertical, and perpendicular lines in these two- and three-dimensional works.
Flaw(less) explores themes of identity, stereotypes, and perception across cultures in works from the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection. These works, dating from 1920 to 2013, present an opportunity to consider our shared experiences in the ways we present ourselves, how we are perceived, and what we may consider to be flaws in our appearance as we are subjected to the gaze of others through generations.
In this Moment presents figural works of art from the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection that feature a range of techniques used to convey subtle gestures, instances of stillness, and contemplative states. Sally Michel Avery’s Long Nude (ca. 1976) references traditional representations of rest, showing the figure lying horizontally and elongated across the composition. In David Bates’s 97th Street Pier (1992), the figures on the wooden dock are angular, their limbs creating sharp right angles and triangular shapes throughout the composition.
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is proud to present Angela Dufresne: Making a Scene, a major museum exhibition comprising of more than thirty paintings and video works spanning nearly a decade. Focusing on her signature depictions of modern life, Dufresne (b. 1969) compositionally connects us to the history of painting and cinema.
This exhibition of works from the Permanent Collection of Kemper Museum is inspired by the poem “Water Music” by American poet and feminist literary critic Sandra M. Gilbert.
The poem describes qualities of water—clear, shapeless, changing—and its connection to our bodies. Just as the words of Gilbert’s poem elicit water’s connection to people, the paintings on view expand on water’s presence in the landscape.
For its participation in Open Spaces: A Kansas City Arts Experience, Kemper Museum presents a combination of new and older works by New York-based artist Kathy Butterly. Since the early 1990s, Butterly (b. 1963) has created distinctly evocative sculptures that contribute to and expand upon the tradition of studio ceramics. Through her practice, Butterly engages with concepts ranging from scale, materiality, and line to the history of the handmade vessel.
Worlds Otherwise Hidden features the work of three international artists who interpret the complexities—both beautiful and challenging—of cultures shaped by migration, immigration, displacement, and exile. Nevin Aladağ (b. 1972), Kimsooja (b. 1957), and Nari Ward (b. 1963) combine and transmute specific objects, designs, and symbols from divergent cultural contexts in their video and sculptural installations. They explore issues of fractured geography, creating new space for dialogue and revealing worlds otherwise hidden.
The BioNexus KC exhibition is Kansas City’s fifth annual Science to Art presentation of intrinsic images found in science. These works are often selected for display on the cover of medical research journals. The purpose of Science to Art is to provide a platform for regional scientists to display and describe their research through the visual arts. Each of these remarkable images tells a personal research story and poetically captures the fieldwork performed by the scientists and their teams.
Garry Winogrand (1928–1984), with his 35mm Leica camera, took to the streets of New York. Through his lens he captured the spirit of life, fashion, and energy of the city in the 1960s and 70s in thousands of black and white photographic images. Winogrand’s work has had an impact on the way street photography is perceived today and stylistic aspects of his viewpoint have had a lasting influence on the genre as well as others such as modern fashion photography.
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.
Kemper Museum debuts the second in a series of commissioned atrium projects: a solo site-responsive installation by Firelei Báez (b. 1981, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic; lives and works in New York). To See Beyond Its Walls (and access the places that lie beyond) combines a large-scale painting of a female figure with a reimagined interior of Sans-Souci Palace (1813) in northern Haiti, tracing conflicted histories and current political contexts of Hispaniola (the shared island of the Dominican Republic and Haiti) and America.
References from Western art history provide points of engagement with Kansas City and Chicago-based artist Patty Carroll’s photographic images, which employ distinctly modern elements of décor and consumerist culture to reveal psychological threads of domesticity’s sometimes overwhelming tenor.
Kemper Museum is pleased to present Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón (1967–1999). This landmark retrospective is the first in the United States dedicated to the work of Belkis Ayón—the late Cuban visual artist who mined the founding myth of the Afro-Cuban fraternal society, Abakuá, to create an independent and powerful visual iconography.
Stop / Motion is an exhibition of two-dimensional works from the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection that focus on the varying techniques used by artists to demonstrate both a sense of stillness and action. In addition to the figure present in each of these works, each artist’s composition reinforces either action or stasis.
Spreading out from the galleries walls as if seeping from underneath the Museum’s infrastructure, Polly Apfelbaum’s Split (1998) pulses with color. The sculptural installation’s two—almost touching—forms spread like trickling paint across the floor. The forms and fabric blotted with color remind us of the stained canvases of such Color Field artists as Morris Louis, Dan Christensen, Helen Frankenthaler, and Kenneth Noland, featured alongside Apfelbaum’s work in this exhibition.
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, in cooperation with the Kansas City Chapter of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), is proud to host Women to Watch | Metals June 16, 2017–January 28, 2018.
The Women to Watch exhibition series features emerging or underrepresented artists from the states and countries in which NMWA has outreach committees. From the ornamental to the functional, this year’s exhibition explores metal as a medium.
Every three years, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery invites artists across America to investigate the art of portraiture through The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Established in 2006, it is the premier national competition celebrating excellence and innovation in portraiture.