Visual Arts

Nelson museum’s rare Bosch painting goes back on view this summer

This year’s Big Picnic will be July 23 at the Nelson.
This year’s Big Picnic will be July 23 at the Nelson.

The discovery that the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art owned an original Hieronymous Bosch painting made international news in 2016.

In the entire world, there are 25 paintings attributed to the Dutch Renaissance master, and of those, only five are in the United States. The Nelson purchased its piece in 1935 from a New York gallery, and it had been attributed to Bosch’s workshop. It was last displayed at the Nelson in 2003.

In February 2016, the Nelson’s “The Temptation of St. Anthony,” painted circa 1510-1520, was unveiled to a packed room at the Het Noordbrabants Museum in Den Bosch, Netherlands — Bosch’s hometown. Nelson executive director Julián Zugazagoitia and senior painting conservator Scott Heffley attended the event.

The Bosch Research and Conservation Project called the attribution “a significant addition to the small body of work produced by Hieronymus Bosch.” The Kansas City painting also played a role in the documentary “Hieronymus Bosch: Touched by the Devil,” released in fall 2016.

This summer, the public for the first time will be able to see “The Temptation of St. Anthony” in this new light, when “What Lies Beneath: Rediscovering Hieronymous Bosch and Albrecht Bouts” opens June 30. As the exhibit implies, the Bosch will be shown alongside Albrecht Bouts’ “Christ Crowned With Thorns,” another rediscovered original.

Here’s a look at what else is ahead in the world of visual arts this summer.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

▪ The Nelson is adding a celebration of African-American heritage to its busy cultural calendar with its Juneteenth Festival on June 10. Coinciding with the beginning of Juneteenth KC’s slate of citywide events, the Nelson festival will feature live music, artist demonstrations, poetry and a commemoration of the museum’s 1980 exhibit of the actual Emancipation Proclamation.

▪ On July 23, the Nelson hosts its annual Big Picnic, in which the public is invited to enjoy food, art, theater and lawn games at the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park. The day includes story times, origami art activities, puppets, a sculpture hunt and badminton demonstrations and games — presumably with normal-sized shuttlecocks.

▪ Summer also will be a perfect time for visitors to check out or revisit the new Bloch Galleries, featuring dozens of impressionist and post-impressionist works, many of which were donated by Kansas City philanthropists Henry and Marion Bloch. The galleries opened in February.

Visit to find out more.

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Several women artists will be celebrated at the Kemper this summer.

▪ “Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today,” opening June 8, features the paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and other works by more than 20 female artists of color. The exhibit was made possible with a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

▪ “Women to Watch: Metals” will showcase works by emerging metalwork artists from states and countries where the National Museum of Women in the Arts have outreach committees. The show opens June 16.

▪ Later this summer, the Kemper will unveil a site-specific work for the museum’s atrium created by Dominican-born artist Firelei Baez. At the public unveiling on Aug. 18, Baez will give a talk on her interest in anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity and women’s work.

Go to to find out more.

Art events

▪ KC’s summer nights can be brutally hot, but the temps don’t deter the crowds strolling around the Crossroads for First Fridays. Coming up at this week’s event on June 2: “Extrasensory” by John Lamberton at Leedy-Voulkos, 2012 Baltimore; “Laura Nugent/Lorrie Boydston” at the Late Show Gallery, 1600 Cherry; “Multiverse: Stories of the World and Beyond” at Kemper at the Crossroads, 33 W. 19th. All this plus a new work by KC muralist Scribe. For a full schedule, go to

▪ The Kansas City Art Institute will have its annual student art and design auction this week. It’s a great opportunity to see what some of the school’s young artists have done and maybe pick up an early work of someone who might one day be famous. June 3. More at

▪ The fourth year for the Art in the Loop series will bring music, art and performances to several metro locations: City Market Park, KC Streetcar stops, the Kansas City Public Library’s Central Library and the Green Roof on the parking garage at 1261 Main St. in the Power & Light District. For a full schedule, go to

The summer also brings several artsy festivals to the area. Some of the many worth exploring:

▪ Prairie Village Art Fair, June 2-4, Village Shopping Center.

▪ Stems Plein Air Art Fair, June 4, Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

▪ Arts in the Park, June 9-10, Macken Park, North Kansas City.

▪ River Market Regional Exhibition, July 14-Sept. 22, Kansas City Artists Coalition.

▪ Art Westport, Sept. 8-10, Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue.

David Frese: 816-234-4463, @DavidFrese

More visual arts events

“Dignity vs. Despair: Dorothea Lange and Depression-Era Photographers, 1933–1941,” June 23-Nov. 26, Nelson-Atkins Museum.

Jessica Kincaid, July 1-Sept. 17, Kansas City Public Library-Central Library.

International Miniature Paintings and Sculptures Art Show, July 3, Miami County Historical Museum.

“Pollock and Motherwell: Legends of Abstract Expressionism,” July 8-Oct. 29, Nelson-Atkins Museum.

“Nature Morte/Still Life: 19th and 20th Century Prints and Drawings,” Aug. 2-Feb. 4, Nelson-Atkins Museum.

“Portal” by Emily Nickel, Aug. 4, Sept. 30, Leedy-Voulkos Art Center.

Compiled by Dan Kelly,