Louise Bourgeois' supersized Spider dominates the front lawn of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art Museum. (Bourgeois was in her mid 80s when she created this arachnid,not bad work for an older lady!)
The Kemper's holdings are based on the collection of R. Crosby Kemper, regional banking magnate whose family are local bigwigs. (There's also a Kemper Arena in K.C.) The Kemper celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2004, and is a welcome addition to the K.C. art scene. It's location is convenient to the Plaza Shopping District, and it's just a short stroll to the Nelson-Atkins Museum and the K.C. Art Institute as well. And it's always free admission here.
The Museum was designed by noted architect Gunnar Birkerts in an uncompromisingly modernist style. The building is spare on the outside, but the dramatic inside spaces show off the collection and special exhibits nicely.
This museum is one of the best in the country. It houses exibits that span about 5,000 years. According to their website, the museum is especially known for it's Asian artifacts, notibly from China. The museum opened in 1933, and has been expanding it's collection ever since. At the moment, they are doing some rennovations, so there may be some delays in seeing some of the exhibits.
The Nelson has 33,500 pieces of art. They have American, Chinese, Japanese, Europe, and many other art paintings, sculptures, and woodworks and home decor. It is housed in an art deco-Federalist style building from 1933. An add-on contemporary was built for $200 million and dedicated in 2006. it houses the American sector of art. The structure and many items are from William Rockhill Nelson, owner of the Kansas City Star newspaper. He must have done quite well in publication. Original visits year one was 100,000. Today that figure is around 1 million. The new Bloch addition exhibits in the glass facade shows off the elegance. Admission is free, but parking in the garage is $5. The shuttle cock on the front grounds lets you know you have arrived.
Kemper family that owns the Commerce Bank, and other assets, has donated and funded museum of abstract art, and it really is a treat to see the items on display. It links with Kansas Art Institute next door. It is well worth a trip inside. This is one of the more unique museums featuring contemporary art works including paintings, sculpted pieces, and eclectic mix of other items.
So often art is locked away in intimidating museums. Not here. There is a great permanet collection. They have fantastic traveling exhibits. They have a film series every summer.
There is a good cafe' inside. It has a great reputation but it is pricey.
I stop by everytime I have a free afternoon it is just great.
I highly recomend it
They have a donation box by the doors plese give what you can.
The Kemper is Kansas City's other art museum. It has a nice collection of contemporary art. When I went there, the works of two California artists (Greg Rose and Jean Lowe) were on exhibit.
It is a relatively small museum. You should be able to see everything on display in an hour or two. They also have interesting sculptures on their grounds. The Kemper is near the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art--you can see both of them in one day.
Admission to the museum is free.
The Nelson-Adkins museum of art is just simply fantastic. No matter what kind of art you like they will have some excelent examples of it here. From Pollock to ancient China.
There is a super sculpture garden in the park that surrounds the gallery. It contains a huge collection of Henry Moore sculptures.
Get this IT IS FREE. If you use the parking lot that will run $5.00. I have always found parking on the side streets. This gives you an excuse to stroll through the sculpture garden on the way in.
Claus Oldenburg loves to make "oversize" objects. I love his spoon and cherry in Minneapolis; he's also done a gargantuan clothespin in Philadelphia. and a big baseball bat in Chicago. Here in Kansas City he's created a series of shuttlecocks which adorn the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins museum. Interestingly, the inscription on the museum above the shuttlecock reads "An image of the perfection of God. . ."
The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art is an accessible an interesting museum, even for those who aren't really intrested in art. I remember as a child being bored at the prospect of spending the day at an art museum, but once I was there I did not want to leave because the museum is not just limited to paintings on the wall. There are cleverly displayed collections of scuplture and functional art. I was smitten by the significant Asian collection as a child. There are also permanent collections of ancient, American Indian, African, American and European art in addition to temporary traveling exhibitions from around the world.
Don't miss the sculpture garden outside the museum. There is much more to it than the most famous element, the shuttlecock sculptures.
Entrance to the museum is FREE!
You will see those giant badminton balls...and when my nephew was visiting me, I decided to bring him there and started throwing his giggling self up in the air - carefully of course....(my sister took the picture).
"From ancient times to modern day, this encyclopedic museum is one of the best in the country, offering visitors the opportunity to explore civilization through the eyes of painters, sculptors, craftsmen, and many other artists."
Even just walking outside this Museum is a delight because of the nice gardens. And inside, they do have good food at the cafeteria after you have explored the art exhibits. They have an extensive Asian collection, and they continue to update their collection through donations and charitable contributions.
It's really nice to have a great museum like this in Kansas City!
4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64111-1873
Admission to the Museum is FREE for all visitors.
There may be a charge for special exhibitions.
General Public Hours:
Wed, 10 a.m.—4 p.m.
Thurs, Fri, 10 a.m.—9 p.m.
Sat, 10 a.m.—5 p.m.
Sun, Noon—5 p.m.
All great cities have their museum of art. Kansas City has the Nelson-Atkins. It is a big museum in terms of physical size and the size of its collections. You'll probably need a day to fully explore it.
Their collection is eclectic: Impressionist paintings, Henry Moore sculptures, modern and contemporary art, medieval European art, Ancient (including Egyptian) art, Asian art, etc. The museum also has excellent sculptures on its grounds.
Admission to the museum is free.
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