Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Central Standard
12:56 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

One City, Many Art Neighborhoods: The Nelson-Atkins Cultural District In Context

Before First Fridays took off, most people in Kansas City would have been hard-pressed to identify a local arts district. But the Crossroads district has since attracted attention from throughout the city and beyond. And other arts districts have popped up around it. How will the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's plans for a midtown cultural district fit into the bigger picture?


Read more
Central Standard
4:32 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Searching For Complexity: Portrayals Of American Indians In Film

"Daughter of the Dawn" is the first film in a series of Friday night screenings at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art this fall.
Credit Courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

"We're still here," says Gaylene Crouser of the Kansas City Indian Center. That's one of the many things she'd like people to understand about American Indians, a detail they might not pick up from mainstream movies. How have recurring characters on-screen shaped our perceptions of what it means to be indigenous in America? 


Read more
Arts & Culture
10:05 am
Fri September 19, 2014

A Nelson Curator's Favorite Works In 'The Plains Indians' Exhibition

Gaylord Torrence, senior curator of American Indian art, stands at the entrance to the exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

The new exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, The Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky, includes nearly 140 masterworks from private and public collections across North America and Europe. 

There’s a 2,000-year-old pipe, 18th century-painted robes and beaded designer shoes from 2011. 

Some curators might find it offensive if someone asked them to choose a few favorite works — well, actually, just two — from an exhibition they'd worked on for nearly five years. 

Read more
Arts & Culture
5:30 am
Sun August 31, 2014

After 35 Years, A Nelson Security Guard Calls It A Day

Henry J. ("Hank") Raya, 82, watches over the museum's collection of South and Southeast Asian art Friday at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The oldest, and longest-serving, employee at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art retired on Aug. 31.

Henry J. ("Hank") Raya studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and served in the U.S. Navy before working for two decades as an illustrator at The Kansas City Star. Then he stepped into a new career: as a security guard at the Nelson-Atkins, where he's helped the visitors and protected the art for 35 years. 

Read more
Arts & Culture
2:41 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Nelson Responds To The Onion, 12 Picassos In Collection

A photograph of Pablo Picasso, taken in 1957 by David Douglas Duncan. In 2013, Duncan donated 161 inkjet prints of Picasso to the museum.
Credit Courtesy Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art / Gift of the artist

The parody news site, The Onion, targeted the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., last week in a story with this headline: "Museum Proudly Exhibits Picasso Shitty Enough To Be In Kansas City."

The article poked fun at the museum and its fictional acquisition of a Picasso pencil sketch, a "forgettable piece-of-shit doodle" filling up an entire wall. 

Read more
Arts & Culture
3:17 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Nelson-Atkins Director Says Arts District Plans Are Decades Old

A rendering from the Nelson-Atkins shows a foot bridge leading into the sculpture park over Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard.
Credit Courtesy / Nelson-Atkins

Earlier this month, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art released its preliminary plans for a cultural district surrounding its Midtown Kansas City neighborhood through an article in the Kansas City Star. The vision was expansive, conceivably stretching as far north as Hyde Park, south to Brookside, west to the Country Club Plaza and east to the Paseo.

Read more
Up To Date
11:52 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Nelson-Atkins Envisions Creation Of Cultural District

The Nelson-Atkins grand vision of expansion includes a bridge over Brush Creek near what is now Theis Park.
Credit Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has unveiled plans for a bold expansion. The museum is talking about greater green spaces, walkways, and more sculptures as part of a gleaming cultural district. The new district would extend a mile in every direction from Oak Street and Emanuel Cleaver Boulevard. It’s a huge statement that could carry some pain as pieces of nearby historic neighborhoods would vanish to make way for this new vision.

Read more
Central Standard
3:45 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

The Awkward Business of Surveilling The Nelson Shuttlecocks

James Hymes, one of the guards at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, asks visitors to stay off the Shuttlecocks.
Credit Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Kansas City residents have been known to, as Michael Cross likes to say, “cuddle,” on the grounds of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

What many of these lovers may not realize, is that there are always guards monitoring the museum and the lawn, both on foot and via video cameras.

Michael Cross, manager of security facilities and visitor services for the Nelson-Atkins, has been keeping an eye on the grounds for seven years.

“As long as nobody’s interfering with the artwork we try to leave people alone,” Cross says.

Read more
Arts & Culture
1:05 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Slideshow: Artist Robert Morris Tours New 'Glass Labyrinth' In Sculpture Park

Kansas City native and artist Robert Morris experiences the labyrinth for the first time.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Robins hopped on the manicured lawn at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on Wednesday as New York-based artist Robert Morris and a small entourage previewed his new work, "Glass Labyrinth." The 7-foot-tall triangular sculpture consists of one-inch thick glass plate walls topped with bronze.

The official opening of "Glass Labyrinth" takes place Thursday in a public ceremony on the museum's south lawn. It marks the 25th anniversary of the 22-acre Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park.

Read more
Central Standard
10:05 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Unearthed Treasure: The Ethics And Aesthetics Of Displaying Tomb Relics

Two museum exhibitions currently in Kansas City are using tomb relics to bring ancient times and faraway places to life.  These artifacts have survived journeys of thousands of miles and thousands of years.

Read more
Arts & Culture
8:07 am
Thu April 24, 2014

New Nelson-Atkins Exhibit Brings Saudi Prince To Kansas City

Prince Sultan bin Salman visited Kansas City, Mo., this week for the opening of an exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Credit Courtesy: Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA)

There are more than 200 works in the traveling exhibition, Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, from the fourth millennium B.C. to the 1930s.

The exhibit, now at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., features prehistoric tools and figures sculpted by early inhabitants, as well as ceramic vessels, jewelry, coins, tombstones and sculptures — ranging in size from small to monumental.

Read more
Visual Arts
7:43 am
Thu March 20, 2014

The Nelson-Atkins' Art Conservator On What It's Like To Restore An El Greco

Scott Heffley, senior conservator of paintings at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, furrows his brow between brush strokes.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Imagine spending a year – or more – restoring an artwork, trying to bring back the touch, or the brushstroke, of a master. That’s what Scott Heffley, senior conservator of paintings at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, has been doing with an El Greco painting (ca. 1580-1585) called The Penitent Magdalene

Art and science do mix

Read more
Arts & Culture
10:51 am
Thu March 13, 2014

An Engaging Sculpture Taking Shape At The Nelson-Atkins

The site of the sculpture 'Glass Labyrinth,' in 2013. The work will be mounted on a concrete slab.
Josh Ferdinand Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

If you’ve walked or driven by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art recently you’ve probably noticed a flurry of activity on the southeast corner of the grassy lawn. Work is underway to ready the site for the installation of a new sculpture, Glass Labyrinth, a triangular-shaped, glass-walled labyrinth designed by artist Robert Morris, a native of Kansas City, Mo.

Read more
Arts and Culture
7:16 am
Fri February 21, 2014

U.S. Sen. Blunt Travels Missouri Touting Legacy Of Monuments Men

Nicole Myers, associate curator of European painting and sculpture, talks to U.S. Senator Roy Blunt about Nicolas de Largilliere's 1715 oil painting (at left) recovered by the Monuments Men.
Credit Laura Spencer / KCUR

During World War II, nearly 350 men and women, known as the Monuments Men, worked to protect and restore millions of cultural artifacts. This group of art curators and historians recovered sculptures and paintings looted by the Nazis, from artists such as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Read more
Up to Date
10:32 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Saving Art From War: The Monuments Men

Laurence Sickman, Paul Gardner and James Reeds were all Kansas City Monuments Men.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and The James A. Reeds Family

They were a group of soldiers with something in common — a knowledge of art and how to preserve it.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk about the Monuments Men, a special division from the Allied forces during World War II who braved the battlefields to save priceless art and architecture from the ravages of war.

Read more
Visual Arts
9:00 am
Tue January 14, 2014

The Story Behind The Pictures Of Picasso At The Nelson-Atkins

Gjon Mili, American (b. Albania, 1904–1984). David Douglas Duncan with Pablo Picasso, 1960.
Gift of David Douglas Duncan

In October 2013, photographer David Douglas Duncan, a native of Kansas City, Mo., donated 161 photographs to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Some of these photographs document the Korean War, but most were taken over nearly two decades at the home of artist Pablo Picasso.

Read more
Visual Arts
5:00 am
Thu October 17, 2013

An Impressionist Journey Through France

Claude Monet, French (1840-1926). The Promenade with the Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil, 1874.
Courtesy: Saint Louis Art Museum

A new exhibition, Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art examines the relationship between landscape and national identity. There are more than 100 paintings and photographs, from 1850 to 1880, including works by artists such as Manet, Monet and Le Gray, as well as artists well-known at the time but not today.

Photographers and painters construct "an idea of nation"

Read more
Visual Arts
5:00 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Portraiture, In The Gallery And Online

Visitors to the museum can view two exhibitions - one online and one on the gallery walls.
Credit courtesy Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

How do you define portraiture today?

It’s a question posed by the exhibition About Face: Contemporary Portraiture at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art – and one explored by the nearly 40 photographers whose images are on display on the gallery walls. An online exhibition Making Pictures of People, keeps the conversation going outside the museum walls.

Read more
Visual Arts
1:54 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Philip Heying, Taking Portraits On Sept. 11

courtesy of the artist

There are probably certain images that come to mind when you remember the September 11th terrorist attacks: the approaching plane, the two towers of the World Trade Center in flames, clouds of smoke, and people walking en masse across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Photographer Philip Heying is now based in Lawrence, Kan., and works as an adjunct instructor in the photography department at Johnson Community College.

Read more
Central Standard
12:37 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

New Islamic Art Exhibit At The Nelson

Credit Kayti Doolittle

When we hear about the Middle East and the cradle of Islam, many will no doubt think of news or politics-- about a war  in Syria or civil unrest in Egypt. But that would be only a partial picture. There are major cultural and artistic elements that have been created within the region.

Read more
KC Currents
11:36 am
Mon July 15, 2013

The Tempestuous Relationship Between Frida Kahlo And Diego Rivera

Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954). Diego en mi pensamiento (Diego on My Mind), 1943. Oil on Masonite, 29 7/8 x 24 inches.
Credit The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art. The Vergel Foundation. / Conaculta/INBA. © 2013 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

This summer, Kansas City is plastered with the iconic image of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Her face, with its dark braids, thick eyebrows and hint of a mustache, is on billboards and buses promoting the Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The centerpiece of the exhibit, which is based on the collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman, is a set of paintings by Kahlo, and her husband, Diego Rivera. 

The relationship

Read more
Visual Arts
12:02 pm
Sat June 1, 2013

[VIDEO] Voices From Frida Kahlo And Diego Rivera Opening Reception

Diego en mi pensamiento (Diego on My Mind), 1943. Oil on Masonite.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art celebrated the opening of "Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection" on May 31, 2013, with an opening reception for museum members.

The exhibition showcases more than 100 paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings collected by the Gelmans in their adopted homeland of Mexico.

Read more
Up to Date
8:56 am
Fri May 31, 2013

A Passionate And Prolific Relationship: Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera

Frida Kahlo is part of in Diego Rivera's mural 'Panamerican Unity' at San Francisco City College.
Credit Joaquín Martínez Rosado

They’ve been immortalized in museums, history books and on film. Their rocky marriage and ties to Communism made for fascinating lives. So how did Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s tumultuous relationship influence their colorful creations of Mexican culture?

Read more
12:48 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Board Leadership Change For The Kansas City Symphony

Shirley Helzberg steps down as the Chair of the Kansas City Symphony Board.
courtesy: Kansas City Symphony

After nearly 20 years as the chairwoman of the Kansas City Symphony's board, arts patron Shirley Helzberg is stepping down. Bill Lyons, civic leader and former CEO of American Century Companies, Inc., succeeds Helzberg on July 1.

Read more
Visual Arts
5:58 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

New President And CEO For The National World War I Museum

New President and CEO, Matthew C. Naylor, PhD.
courtesy National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial

The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial on Monday announced Matthew C. Naylor, PhD, a native of Australia, as its new President and CEO.

Read more
5:00 am
Fri May 10, 2013

A Puppet Festival Of Colossal Proportions

Heather Nisbett-Loewenstein directs a massive puppet in preparation for the show.
Julie Denesha KCUR

This Sunday, the lawn of The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art will be transformed into the main stage for the larger-than-life puppets of StoneLion's puppet pageant "Mother’s Day for Mother Earth." 

Read more
Visual Arts
5:27 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Kemper Founders Step Down From Museum Board

Crosby and Bebe Kemper in front of the artwork, 'Prince Patutszky Pleasures' (1962) by Jules Olitski.
Photo: Dan Wayne Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

The founders of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art are stepping down from museum leadership.

Read more
Visual Arts
3:49 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

The Nelson's Kansas City Sculpture Park Renamed For Donald Hall

Magdalena Abakanowicz's Standing Figures (Thirty Figures), 1994-1998.
Mark McDonald Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Kansas City Sculpture Park, the more than two dozen sculptures outside the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, opened in 1989. In honor of the park’s 25th anniversary in 2014, the museum will change the park’s name to reflect its roots.

Read more
Up to Date
6:00 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

An Art & Theater Fusion

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte buy Georges Seurat

Take a stroll through an art gallery, and you just might find yourself humming a Sondheim tune.

Read more
Central Standard
2:02 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Inventing A World With A Pinhole Camera

Liberty Head, Illinois, 1978, from the series Expeditions.
Ruth Thorne-Thomsen, American (b. 1943) Courtesy: Nelson-Aktins Museum of Art

A pinhole camera is a simple tool – and it can be constructed with basic materials. You could even make one at home with your child on a snow day. All you need is cardboard, tape, and aluminum foil. But, it’s the eye behind the camera that draws a line between child’s play and the potential for photography.

Read more