All Around Kansas City: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Riley Mortensen

Nelson-Atkins offers aesthetic fall exhibits

Patrons are drawn to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art with the thrill of finding new exhibits, including its current featured exhibitions: “Faces of China’s Past,” “Bonjour Picasso,” “Cabinet of Curiosities” and “Ives Maes: The Future of Yesterday.” The upcoming exhibit “Photographs of Terry Evans” opens Oct. 20.

“Terry shoots many aerials and lush visions of the prairie,” said Kathleen Leighton, the Nelson’s communications and media relations officer. “She also photographs urban settings such as Chicago.”

The first exhibition to catch would be “Ives Maes: The Future of Yesterday,” on display until late October. Maes’ exhibition is not part of the World’s Fair exhibition, but it offers a different perspective with its concentration on the architectural remains of the World’s Fair through photography. Following Maes, Leighton said there will be a huge sculptural piece by the artist El Anatsui.

“Bonjour Picasso” can be best explained by the Picasso quote on the wall near the exhibit: “For those of you who know how to read, I have painted my biography.” This exhibition allows patrons to step in to the life of Picasso during his time at his villa, La Californie, in southern France, where he lived from 1955 to 1961. The exhibition’s display of prints, photographs and drawings depict his life. Leighton said “Bonjour Picasso” has been extremely popular.

“Cabinet of Curiosities” is an exhibition featuring photography and specimens of what the brochure calls, “The unusual, unexpected, exotic, the extraordinary or rare.” From present day dating back to the 1850s, “Cabinet of Curiosities” gives relevance and meaning to scientific specimens of all kinds, from snowflakes to the first steam-powered mechanical man.

Leighton said “Cabinets of Curiosities” was the exhibition with the most potential to attract college-aged students.

“There’s a photo of a soldier showing off his gunshot wound, one of a man standing at a table with a pile of skulls and a microscopic blow-up of a crab louse,” Leighton said. “Very unusual subjects, and college students would find it both fascinating and creepy.”

The Nelson also features a number of exhibitions which are collaborative efforts, like “Faces of China’s Past.” In collaboration with the History of Art Department for the University of Kansas and the Spencer Museum of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum proudly welcomed this presentation. Although some of the exhibition’s paintings feature imagined or real subjects, not much is known about the whereabouts or names of the artists. However, with every face, there’s a story.

Leighton revealed that future exhibitions at the Nelson-Atkins will feature modern work by Frida Kahlo and Diega Rivera, as well as other modern art from Mexico.  The Nelson-Atkins team is also planning an exhibition of French landscape paintings.

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