I Heart KC Art
That's right, there is great art in Kansas City. Let me start by saying that I am no stranger to the region. I grew up in Kansas (leaving off the "City" on purpose, for those sticklers for geography), and since leaving it behind for college 15 years ago, a lot has changed. For example, the suburbs have grown beyond belief, the downtown area is no longer a place you go to get shot, and you can eat excellent food that isn't BBQ. Although I don't know why you would do the latter. But more importantly to you, a reader of this blog and I assume an art lover, KC has a robust and continually growing art scene. I only got a taste during my recent visit, but figured there was more than enough to share. I was fortunate enough to stop by the Nerman Museum, Dolphin Gallery, Bill Brady Gallery, and Plug Projects, places I would consider "Must-Sees" while visiting the city. - Andrew Katz, Associate Publisher (And Kansas Native)
Aside from the long-running Nelson-Atkins and Kemper Contemporary Art Museum, newer institutions like the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Johnson County, KS, have really impressed me over its very brief history. It's worth the trip out to the 'burbs because the Nerman has its finger on the pulse. Thanks to Bruce Hartman, Museum Director, and donations by Marti and Tony Oppenheimer, if you want to see what's relevant now in the contemporary art scene (regionally and nationally speaking), and perhaps even the future, this is the best place around. By the way, it's a beautiful building that happened to land on the edge of the stark and once empty landscape surrounding the Johnson County Community College campus. Yes, I may have attended a few art and tennis camps at "JCCC" as a pre-teen, and no, the Nerman was not there to inspire at the time...But I digress. While the museum is only about 6 years old, it's currently celebrating the 20th year anniversary of the Oppenheimer Collection, the foundation of the Nerman permanent collection.
Unfortunately my camera was left behind on my visit to the Nerman, so you'll have to settle for iPhone pictures. Hopefully they still do the work justice.
While I know there are more galleries in the city, I could only make it to a few.The Dolphin Gallery had a nice show called "Liberty!" and I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few New American Paintings artists participating, like Corey Antis (NAP #57), James Brinsfield (NAP #29), David Ford (NAP #71, #89), and Archie Scott Gobber (NAP #77).
I was shocked to learn that Bill Brady, owner of the legendary ATM Gallery in NYC, had opened a space in his hometown. He isn't fooling around either, the gallery is enormous and he is bringing in some major talent. His current show features Huma Bhabha, Jason Fox, and Joe Bradley. I hope the KC folks appreciate what he is trying to do in the midwest.
Finally, I made it over to Plug Projects (on Bill's recommendation), which according to their website is "a curatorial collaboration by five Kansas City artists who share the mission of bringing fresh perspectives and conversation to the local art community." I met co-owner Misha Kligman, who showed me around the gallery, told me about their history and what they are doing for the KC art community. It turns out that Amy Kligman, his wife, is featured in our current Midwest Issue (#101). Caleb Taylor and Nicole Mauser, two other Plug Projects operators, have also been featured in the magazine. Small world! In the gallery space there was an ambitious installation by artist Carrie Scanga which covered the ceiling and most of the walls with folded tissue paper.
Looking forward to my next trip home! I'll be sure to follow up with these great galleries, and make it to the others.