A sweeping show of contemporary Asian art tops a lineup of thought-provoking exhibitions coming to Kansas City and Lawrence this fall.
After being closed since April 2015 for a major overhaul, the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas is throwing a grand reopening party Oct. 15 and 16. The public is invited to see rehung, renovated galleries and a new glassed-in entry hall and light-filled central courtyard designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners of New York. The firm’s founder, I.M. Pei, designed the glass pyramid at the Louvre.
But the real fireworks come a month later, Nov. 11, when the Spencer debuts “Temporal Turn: Art and Speculation in Contemporary Asia,” which boasts 55 artists, including four international artists-in-residence: Konōike Tomoko (Japan), Rohini Devasher (India), Park Jaeyoung (South Korea), and Sahej Rahal (India).
Curator Kris Ercums, who has authored a full color catalog, promises a stunning show that encompasses a wall mural, two sculptural installations and sections devoted to themes of time, history, astrophysics, space travel and aliens.
The show also features the world premiere of the third and final part in a video animation trilogy, “The New Book of Mountains and Seas,” by Qiu Anxiong.
“It’s interesting to look at how artists embedded in Asian culture are seeing the future in terms of globalism and technology, gender identity and national identity,” Ercums says. “It’s going to be really relevant for Americans to become more culturally literate in a section of the globe that is going to dominate the politics, culture and economy for the next 100 years.”
Details: Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, 1301 Mississippi St., Lawrence. Grand reopening weekend, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 15 and noon-4 p.m. Oct. 16. “Temporal Turn: Art and Speculation in Contemporary Asia,” Nov. 11-March 12, 2017; opening reception 6-8 p.m. Nov. 10.
Here, in chronological order, are other top visual art offerings at area museums and galleries:
▪ Kemper at the Crossroads, 33 W. 19th St.
“2016 Charlotte Street Visual Artist Awards Exhibition,” Sept. 2-Jan. 8, 2017. The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art partners with the Charlotte Street Foundation to present new work by Charlotte Street 2016 Visual Artist Awards fellows Madeline Gallucci, Rodolfo Marron III and Shawn Bitters.
▪ Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 4420 Warwick Blvd.
“Siah Armajani: Bridge Builder,” Sept. 9-Jan. 22, 2017. Iranian-born, Minneapolis-based artist Siah Armajani draws visual and philosophical inspiration from bridges. This exhibition celebrates Armajani’s “Kansas City No. 1” (2000), given to the museum by the Sosland Foundation, by exploring the bridge motif that has captivated Armajani since the late 1960s.
▪ H&R Block Artspace at Kansas City Art Institute, 16 E. 43rd St.
“Dawit L. Petros: The Stranger’s Notebook,” Oct. 7-Dec. 14. New photography, video, installation and audio works by Eritrean-born Dawit L. Petros explore themes of identity and transnational migration and borders. Much of the work draws on a five-month road trek Petros made from Lagos, Nigeria, to Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
▪ Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park
“Domestic Seen …,” Oct. 20-March 26, 2017 (tentative closing date). New York-based Matt Bollinger, who grew up in Independence, is one of seven featured artists in this extensive examination of themes of how we live our lives at home. The show will take over galleries on two floors.
Also of note in the show is Los Angeles-based Ramiro Gomez. “Gomez riffs on David Hockney’s 1960s paintings of Beverly Hills homes and swimming pools,” says museum director Bruce Hartman. “These works, however, feature the ‘unseen’ laborers who make paradise possible.”
▪ Haw Contemporary, 1600 Liberty
“Mike Sinclair: The Nelson,” Nov. 11-Dec. 31. Exhibition of large-scale photographs in conjunction with the release of the book “The Nelson” by Kansas City artist Mike Sinclair. Opens concurrently with “Dylan Mortimer: Regeneration” and “Lisa Grossman: Plein Air Paintings.”
▪ Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St.
“Janet Cardiff: Forty-Part Motet,” Nov. 19-March 19, 2017. This sound installation by Janet Cardiff will transform a gallery in the Bloch Building with 40 high-fidelity speakers that will continuously play an 11-minute reworking of the 40-part motet Spem in alium (“In no other is my hope”) by Tudor composer Thomas Tallis (ca. 1505-1585).
“Multitude, Solitude: The Photographs of Dave Heath,” Nov. 19-March 19, 2017. Curated by Keith Davis, this show of 184 prints draws on the museum’s holding of Dave Heath’s work, the largest in the U.S. Heath is known for his starkly emotional, social-documentary portraits from the 1950s.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, nelson-atkins.org
“Cuba Bound: Photographs by Jesse A. Fernández,” Sept. 15-Dec. 31
“Surveillance,” Sept. 16-Jan. 29
“Multitude, Solitude: The Photographs of Dave Heath,” Nov. 19-March 19
“Forty-Part Motet’ by Janet Cardiff, Nov. 19-March 19
“In Beauty There Is Guilt” by Margaret Evangeline, Sept. 1-Oct. 29, Weinberger Fine Art. weinbergerfineart.com
“2016 Charlotte Street Visual Artist Awards Exhibition,” Sept. 2-Jan. 8, Kemper at the Crossroads. kemperart.org
Art Westport, Sept. 9-11, Westport District. artwestport.info
“Siah Armajani: Bridge Builder,” Sept. 9-Jan. 22, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. kemperart.org
Kansas City Chalk & Walk Festival, Sept. 10-11, Crown Center. kcchalkandwalk.org
Brush Creek Art Walk, Sept. 16-18, Country Club Plaza. missourivalleyimpressionistsociety.com
Plaza Art Fair, Sept. 23-25, Country Club Plaza. plazaartfair.com
Hallmarket, Sept. 24, Crown Center Square. crowncenter.com
UNplaza Art Fair, Sept. 24-25, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. peaceworkskc.org/unplaza.html
“2016 Visions of the Flint Hills,” Oct. 7-Nov. 25, Buttonwood Art Space. buttonwoodartspace.com
Summit Art Festival, Oct. 7-9, Downtown Lee’s Summit. summitartfest.org
Calendar compiled by Dan Kelly, email@example.com