The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has a winner with “WWI and the Rise of Modernism,” an exhibit of 60 works including paintings, prints, sculpture and decorative arts. Drawn mainly from the museum’s permanent collection, the unpretentious show is striking a chord with viewers.
The Kansas City artist is known for his sculptural work, but switches gears in “Storms and Forms,” which continues through Jan. 31 at the Todd Weiner Gallery. In colorful and energetic ink abstraction Cail offers an expressive examination of limitations and how they can be manipulated, stretched, and reordered.
Seeing the St. Louis-based artist’s exhibit, which continues through Jan. 16 at the Kansas City Artists Coalition, one confronts the the man-made imbalance that threatens our habitat and sense of well being.
The 2015 season in the visual arts brings a look at the international contemporary art collection of Bill and Christy Gautreaux in a big show at the Kemper and the renowned folk art collection of Barbara L. Gordon at the Nelson-Atkins. Elsewhere quilts, live coral and cacti will play new roles at the hands of artists; this fall, stand by for a major exhibit at the Nelson exploring the influence of Hollywood on Thomas Hart Benton.
“Phenomena” group show of photography and video at the Epsten Gallery demonstrates multiple ways of visually presenting the world. Abstractions, altered landscapes and constructed environments examine themes ranging from environmental degradation and decay to the power of color and form.
The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center honors Kansas City artist David Goodrich, who died from heat exhaustion last summer, with “David Goodrich: Remembered,” an exhibit of his luminous figurative paintings based on myth and art history. Kansas City artist Martin Cail unveils colorful new ink on white board works at Todd Weiner.
Yordano Ventura quit school at 14 and was working construction until his big break: a tryout that led to a spot in the Kansas City Royals’ academy in the Dominican Republic. But even after making the major leagues and pitching in the World Series, Ventura wouldn’t live anywhere else than Las Terrenas, his hometown, where he trained on the beach and swam in the ocean.
2014 was a banner year for American Indian art in Kansas City and for thought-provoking exhibits from around the globe. A highlight of the year’s new acquisitions was the giant walk-in glass “Labyrinth” by Robert Morris installed in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
The Artists for Life Project, a major, artist-led effort to highlight gun violence and promote discussion about how to reduce it, placed numerous posters, designed by local and national African-American artists, in venues in Kansas City and beyond in 2014.
William Lobdell’s depictions of Kansas City landmarks, on exhibit through Dec. 31 at the Leopold Gallery, are an ingenious fusion of sculpture and painting, combining flat perspective drawing with small found objects like soda can pull tabs, bread clips and washers. The results are a compelling reflection on grandeur of our city and the rubbish that clutters its streets.
Kansas City artist Asheer Akram is a magician of materials and a poet of the human condition. The massive sculptures, large wall reliefs and smaller ceramic vessels in his “Sacred Spaces” exhibition at the Belger Crane Yard Gallery decode mystical experience into visual form. The exhibit is on display through Jan. 24.
“Loving After Lifetimes of All This,” the final show of Danny Orendorff’s 2013-14 tenure as Charlotte Street Foundation curator-in-residence, showcases his signature themes and interests, including social activism, gay history and craft. On view through Jan. 3 at La Esquina gallery, the exhibit features strong works by national and Kansas City talents.
“The Innumerable Anxieties: Studies in Disorder,” Wichita-based Patrick Duegaw’s exhibit at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, is an allegorical, circus-like embodiment of the ambiguous and sometimes surreal tension that lies between primal emotions and codes of “proper” conduct. In large, richly executed paintings, he visualizes the innumerable anxieties from which the exhibit takes its title.
A 2010 Kansas City Art Institute alum has emerged as one of the most promising of the city’s young talents. Rhoads’ work is inspired by the masterworks he handles in his day job at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Themes of quest and longing infuse Rhoads’ intense small paintings, including a series, “The Great One.”
The Kansas resident explores the mystery and magic of Flint Hills root cellars in an exhibit at the Box Gallery. Elsewhere on First Friday, holiday exhibits of affordable art abound, including the Kansas City Art Institute’s “end-of-semester student exhibition and sale” and a hot shop of works for less than $300 at Sherry Leedy Contempoary Art.
“Gilded Splinters (Devices I) by Academy Records,” a multimedia installation of video, found objects, terra cotta, milk paint, graphite and music at Rockhurst University’s Greenlease Gallery, keys off multiple sources, including Rockhurst’s Van Ackeren Collection of religious artworks, audio recordings by Academy Records collaborator Matt Hanner, a Fleetwood Mac LP and H.P Lovecraft’s “The Color Out of Space.” It’s up to the viewer to make connections.
Emerging artist Robert Howsare expands on his self-described, ongoing fascination with the "themes of possibility and wonderment within every material" in “Interference,” an impressive exhibit of new work on display through Dec. 31 at Beggar’s Table Church and Gallery.
Through Dec. 20, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art presents a companionable pairing with “Michiko Itatani: Cosmic Wanderlust” and “Ruth Borgenicht: Homesites.” Both artists’ work is warm, enigmatic and has a protective, slightly mysterious vibe. The gallery is also showing ceramic wall sculptures by Jun Kaneko and a selection of the noted artist’s popular tanuki or trickster figures.
In an exhibit of her performance videos at Block Artspace, Gilmore knocks down barriers and punches and kicks her way out of tight spots, countering traditional expectations of female behavior and demeanor.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art acquired Alberto Giacometti’s “Chariot” in 2000 as part of an 84-piece, $80 million gift. On Nov. 4, another “Chariot” in the edition sold at a New York Sotheby’s auction for $101 million. So a single piece from that gift to the Nelson is worth considerably more than the valuation 14 years ago for all 84 works.
Amy Kligman, Sean Starowitz and Garry Noland offer different takes on the past in the 2014 Charlotte Street Foundation Fellows show, which continues through Dec. 21 at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.
Michael Manning’s “Wild Fusion Vol. IV: Technoeconomicology,” which continues through Nov. 22 at the Bill Brady Gallery, is a dizzying installation of HD flat screens, power cords, wires, paintings and found objects. To appreciate this visually stunning installation is to worship before the altar of technology, in all its ecstatic, confusing splendor.