Kemper Museum’s fifth commissioned installation in the Atrium Projects series is Divergences by Dominican Republic-raised New York-based Black Latinx artist Joiri Minaya (born 1990). Minaya’s work often focuses on decolonizing imposed histories, cultures, and ideas. For this Atrium Project installation, she was inspired by the idealized Midwest, complete with lush greenery and river scenes, having made a site visit to Quindaro Townsite in January 2020.
Please note that Kemper East is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19.
All first-year medical students from Kansas City University participate in the Art, Observation, and Medicine (AOM) course at Kemper Museum. Guided by volunteer docents, students analyze select works of art using the Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) method. VTS uses research-based methodology prompting viewers to work together to solve complicated visual puzzles, beginning with the question, “What is going on in this work of art?”
Photographer Dan Budnik (American, 1933–2020) was known for his documentary photography, especially of changes taking root in America in the 1960s civil rights movement. He studied at the Art Students League in New York with Charles Alston (American, 1907–1977), the first African American supervisor for the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project. Budnik credited Alston for his interest in documentary photography.
This exhibition of the work of Chicago-based photographer and educator Dawoud Bey (American, born 1953) features selections from his recent black-and-white photographic series Night Coming Tenderly, Black. These images reimagine sites along the last stops of the Underground Railroad from Cleveland and Hudson, Ohio, to Canada, a free country for self-liberated African people. Bey finds inspiration for this series in the soft tones and significant subjects—African Americans and New York City jazz musicians among them—depicted by photographer Roy DeCarava (1919–2009).
The first major museum exhibition to focus on the work of contemporary artist Elias Sime (Ethiopian, born 1968), Tightrope features more than two dozen works of art in varying scales and showcases brightly-colored tableaux and sculptural assemblages rooted in both the figurative and abstract modes of modern Ethiopian art.
In 2019, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art celebrated twenty-five years of extraordinary collecting, exhibitions, and programs. As the only collecting contemporary art museum in the state of Missouri, Kemper Museum is grateful to those who have helped grow and enhance the Permanent Collection through generous gifts of art. The exhibition, Gifts of Art: 2019 Acquisitions, debuts a selection of gifts received in the past year, celebrating the artists who created them and recognizing their generous donors.
Selections from The Last Supper presents eleven works from the eponymous series of thirteen large-scale prints (1999) by Damien Hirst (British, born 1965). These label-like images are derived from pharmaceutical packaging––a theme Hirst has employed since the late 1980s––where he uses the names of foods traditional to working class British cafe culture, such as "beans and chips" or "steak and kidney" to replace the names of various medicines. Hirst transforms the food into his own brand by adding decorative logos containing variations on his name.
Diario is the debut of a new, commissioned installation by New York-based artist Angel Otero (b. 1981), the fourth in a series of Atrium Projects at Kemper Museum. The artist’s largest painting to date, Diario underscores the personal and universal significance of leaving a mark somewhere.
In Blood, Sweat, and Tears, artist Summer Wheat’s vibrantly colored paintings depict a community of heroic females doing the “heavy lifting and running things.” Using an inventive process of pushing paint through aluminum mesh, Wheat’s large-scale paintings resemble medieval tapestries showing female figures as hunters, fishers, and beekeepers. These women rewrite historical imagery through themes such as labor, discovery, and expressions of joy where traditionally only men were present.
Misunderstood highlights work from the Kemper Museum Permanent Collection in conversation with themes from the current iteration of Prospect New Orleans, a citywide contemporary art triennial. Prospect.5, which opens in October 2020, is titled Yesterday we said tomorrow, and addresses the social body and the individual, the deferral of structural and political change, and a polyvocal retelling of history that is attuned to our complex era.
This/That brings to light ways of understanding art by methods of comparing and contrasting. Curated by the Kemper Teen Arts Council, the exhibition displays works of art from Kemper Museum’s Permanent Collection in pairs to encourage purposeful analyses and conversations. The Kemper Teen Arts Council has worked to create a space within the gallery that encourages questions and includes interactive elements that allow viewers to analyze these works of art in a meaningful and accessible way.
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to host the 2019 Charlotte Street Visual Artist Awards exhibition, presenting recent works by three Kansas City-based artists: Boi Boy, Megan Pobywajlo, and Fatimah Tuggar. A jury of arts professionals selected the artists to receive this prestigious award as a testament to their practice and achievements in the visual arts. Each artist has risen to the challenge of presenting a selection of new work and expanding individual presentation methods at Kemper Museum.
Hew Locke: Here’s the Thing is the most comprehensive exhibition to date of work by British artist Hew Locke and involves a wide range of media: painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and installation. Locke explores the languages of colonial and postcolonial power and the symbols through which different cultures assume and assert identity. Activating his awareness of colonial impact, Locke modifies historical source material and artifacts to focus attention on the United Kingdom, its monarchy, and his (then newly independent) childhood home of Guyana in South America.