For the sixth annual Atrium Project, New York-based artist Aliza Nisenbaum (born Mexico City, 1977) created large-scale portraits of individuals connected to Kansas City salsa music and dance communities.
Nisenbaum is known for her bright paintings and unique approach to portraiture. Nisenbaum has exhibited her work across the world, working with locals in each city—from Immigrant Movement International members in Queens, NY to staff of the Liverpool Alder Hey Children’s Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To mark Missouri’s Bicentennial, Kemper Museum invited an advisory group of 13 civic partners comprising curators, educators, artists, and cultural leaders to identify themes and through lines related to the state’s history and select works of art from the museum’s Permanent Collection that can illuminate these ideas.
Cityscapes and Indoor Spaces contrasts the bustling energy of the city with the quiet intimacy of indoor spaces, as depicted in selected works of art from Kemper Museum’s Permanent Collection. This exhibition highlights works that emphasize the personalities of the architectures of popular cities and interior spaces.
Well-Read: Artists Inspired by Literature highlights works of art in Kemper Museum’s Permanent Collection with a notable literary influence. American artists Romare Bearden (American, 1911–1988) and Ed Blackburn (American, born 1940) both find inspiration from the first book in the Bible: Genesis. Bearden’s collage Noah, The Third Day/Prevalence of Ritual (1974) illuminates the story of Noah, who created a vessel to preserve the world’s animals and his own family from a devastating flood.
Now, Then, and Tomorrow explores themes of past and future in response to the year 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. Curated by the Kemper Teen Arts Council, this virtual exhibition explores connections among works in Kemper Museum’s Permanent Collection that speak to our past and current realities as well as our hopes for the future.
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?”
Speaking to Relatives is a major solo exhibition of mixed-media works by Minneapolis-based artist Dyani White Hawk (Sičáŋǧu Lakota, born 1976). This ten-year survey of painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation presents White Hawk’s unique merging of the visual language of abstraction with Lakota art forms. Her work expresses a shared formal and conceptual practice and acknowledges the significance of Indigenous art as American art.
Abstract Expressionism is a form of abstract art developed by American painters in the 1940s and 1950s with several different subcategories, including Action painting and what would later be called Color Field painting. Pop art was an American movement that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, drawing inspiration from sources in commercial and popular culture. Dan Budnik (American, 1933–2020) photographed Abstract Expressionists and Pop artists in their studios during the height of these artistic movements.
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.