In KC, enter the new ‘Labyrinth’ at the Nelson-Atkins
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: Two buildings and a park filled with art, including a new walk-in glass “Labyrinth” by internationally renowned KC native Robert Morris opening May 22, await visitors to the Nelson-Atkins, one of the country’s top art museums.
The permanent collection of more than 33,500 objects ranges from ancient Egyptian mummies to works by the world’s major contemporary artists. The Bloch Building, where you can see the “Roads of Arabia” exhibit of recently excavated archaeological finds from Saudi Arabia through July 6, is an architectural marvel.
The original 1933 Nelson-Atkins building houses impressionist masterworks and the museum’s world-renowned collection of Asian art. Dine in at the museum’s popular Rozzelle Court Restaurant. Admission is free (additional charge for “Roads of Arabia”).
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art: This museum, two blocks west of the Nelson-Atkins, presents special exhibitions and has a permanent collection ranging from Arthur Dove and Andrew Wyeth to Polly Apfelbaum and Robert Mapplethorpe. The museum is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with an exhibit designed to “spark dialogue” with works from the collection.
The Kemper’s Cafe Sebastienne is a favorite stop for lunch or dinner, and the museum shop features a choice collection of items by local and national artisans. Admission is free.
Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art: See cutting-edge work by local, national and international artists in a stellar building designed by Korean-born architect Kyu Sung Woo on the campus of Johnson County Community College in Overland Park.
The permanent collection is distinguished by the works of Do-Ho Suh, Kerry James Marshall, Dana Schutz and other well-known names, as well as top Kansas City artists and a prime selection of works by contemporary American Indian artists. The special exhibitions explore a range of relevant issues and topics, from suburban sprawl and environmental responsibility to the role of religion in contemporary life.
Don’t miss the coconut cake at the museum’s Cafe Tempo. Alas, the museum’s shop closed recently. Admission is free.
First Fridays: It’s a carnival of sights, sounds and smells every first Friday of the month in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District.
Warm weather brings outdoor concerts to a menu of attractions that includes dozens of art openings, street vendors and plenty of people-watching. The area is loaded with bars and restaurants, with many offering specials.
| Alice Thorson, The Kansas City Star
St. Louis Art Museum is showing off its new addition
St. Louis Art Museum: This Forest Park attraction has a new wing and new amenities, with more space for exhibitions. This summer, those include “Life Cycles: Isabella Kirkland’s Taxa” through June 15; “Mother Earth, Father Sky: Textiles From the Navajo World” through June 22; “Impressionist France: Visions of Nation From Legray to Monet” through July 6; “Currents 108: Won Ju Lim” through July 27; “Anything but Civil: Kara Walker’s Vision of the Old South” through Aug. 10; and “Flowers of the Four Seasons in Chinese and Japanese Art” through Sept. 1. SLAM is also swapping (temporarily) four works by Gerhard Richter for four by Mark Rothko (May 24-Sept. 14). Admission is free.
The Contemporary Art Museum: This museum, in the Grand Center arts district, will feature the Great Rivers Biennial this summer, including work by Brandon Anschultz, Carlie Trosclair and Cayce Zavaglia, along with “Katharina Fritsch: Postcards” and “Audible Interruptions: Van McElwee and Cameron Fuller and Sarah Paulsen.” Free admission.
CityGarden: Explore two blocks of fun and art on the Gateway Mall downtown: fountains, more than 20 sculptures (with work by Mark di Suvero, Keith Haring and Niki de Sainte-Phalle), a giant video screen and an upscale lunch spot, Death in the Afternoon.
Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts: “Art of Its Own Making,” through Aug. 20, includes sculpture, film, video and performance and sound works by artists including Tony Conrad, Hans Haacke and Nam June Paik. 3716 Washington Blvd. Free.
Laumeier Sculpture Park: Situated on 105 acres in St. Louis County, Laumeier includes more than 60 outdoor sculptures, plus an indoor gallery, walking trail and plenty of educational opportunities. Free.
| Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch