The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

On this December arts show: the story behind "Uplift," a new exhibit that's inspired by ladders, and a local science fiction writer on her book, which takes place in the aftermath of the second civil war in the United States.

Plus: pajamas and punk rock at the museum? The Nelson hosts a pj party for grown-ups, featuring the music of The Architects. We catch up with drummer Adam Phillips ... and talk about fuzzy onesies.

Guests:

courtesy: Wikipedia Commons

Editor's note: After this story was published on November 14, 2017, the Nelson-Atkins Museum expressed concerns to KCUR about how the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation had reported financial information cited in the article. Based on additional information, this story was updated on December 11, 2017. 

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on Monday announced to employees that 23 staffers would be leaving, taking advantage of an "enhanced benefit option for retirement."

Public Domain

Vincent Van Gogh loved to paint "en plein air" which meant battling the elements: rain, wind and ... grasshoppers? Today, we speak with the painting conservator at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art who found a century-old grasshopper embedded in Van Gogh's Olive Trees. But first, we learn about the history of a Kansas City hero, Primitivo Garcia.

Guests:

The Nelson-Atkins Museum campus with an illuminated Bloch Building on right.
Charvex / Public Domain

It's been a decade since the Bloch Building began illuminating the east side of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and its architect, Steven Holl, says it remains one of his most important works.

The sentiment was echoed by Time magazine in 2007, when it dubbed the structure that year's top "architectural marvel."

Look at Vincent Van Gogh's Olive Trees closely enough, and you'll find the subtle intricacies of his play with color, his brushstrokes, perhaps even his precise layers of paint atop the canvas.

You'll also find a grasshopper. Well, parts of one, anyway.

Courtesy The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art announced on Wednesday that it had acquired more than 800 photographs thanks to a $10 million grant made two years ago by the Hall Family Foundation.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum campus with an illuminated Bloch Building on right.
Charvex / Public Domain

When the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art opened the Bloch Building, its "lens" architecture was so different from the existing museum that many didn't see how the two could stand side by side. Today, the architect of the addition, Steven Holl, talks about returning to his building ten years later.

Tiffany Matson / James Beard Foundation

When Beck Weathers' climbing group joined other expeditions summiting Mount Everest in May of 1996, no one knew eight mountaineers would not return. Today, we speak with Weathers about his survival story, and learn about an opera depicting the deadly climb. Then, we catch up with three Kansas City chefs lending their prowess to a high-profile culinary event hosted by the James Beard Foundation.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

It's not every day you see — well, hear about — a set of 17-foot-tall, 4 1/2-ton gilded doors, but today is that day. We broadcast live from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and get the rundown on just such a set of doors, originally sculpted in the 15th century by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

Courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's grassy lawn has hosted many things through the decades. Picnics, puppet shows, soccer games, wedding photos, badminton tournaments and tai chi, to name a few. 

Coming in late spring of 2018: Nine holes of mini-golf. 

Rob Bertholf / Flickr -- CC

It's one of the best times of the year to be outside. It's officially fall on the calendar, and after a hot September, it has finally cooled down.

In that spirit, KCUR’s Food Critics searched out the best outdoor dining spots on Friday's Central Standard. From a see-and-be-seen sidewalk café to something that's more secluded and romantic, they found a plethora of spots in and around KC to enjoy the outdoors with food and drink in hand.

Here are their recommendations:

Tim Samoff / Flickr — CC

What is art?

There’s always the textbook definition: The manifestation or presentation of creative talent and imagination.

But here’s another, looser, far more time-sensitive answer: This weekend. Because art may be where you find it, but it never hurts to set a deadline.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Julián Zugazagoitia came to Kansas City in 2010, to take a job as CEO and director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The new guy from Mexico by way of New York and Paris made a fast impression as a lanky intellectual with a worldly resume and a lot of energy.

The Midwest made an equally large impression on him.

"Coming to the Midwest definitely was as foreign a country as I have ever been," he jokes.

Kansas City initially felt like a tiny village.

Karen Almond / Dallas Opera

Young Friends of Art, a networking group for The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, has been around for more than two decades. Then there are a few upstarts, like Kansas City Symphony's new Maestro KC, which "connects people to the music they love and the musicians who make it possible." 

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Julián Zugazagoitia runs a classic Kansas City institution, but his own story is international. His grandparents fled fascism in Europe, and he grew up in Mexico as the son of a renowned actress. Hear more of his story.

Guest:

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

At dusk on Friday, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art celebrates the Bloch Building's 10th anniversary with dance, sound sculpture and light. The free, outdoor event features around 40 dancers, musicians and technicians from the performance art collective Quixotic

courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

This Monday, August 21, the moon will cover the sun in a rare total solar eclipse across a 70-mile path of the United States.

The eclipse starts at 11:40 a.m. and reaches totality around 1:06 p.m. in parts of Kansas and Missouri. 

Some of the exciting stuff on KC's arts calendar this month: an artist residency at the Nelson-Atkins; a three-person, 90-minute version of Macbeth; and a chat with soul singer Julia Haile.

Haile will be performing Gen Listen KC's Stockyards Sounds on Tuesday, August 8.

Guests:

Anne Kniggendorf / KCUR 89.3

Paul Benson says he can’t help but assess the outdoor art he passes every day on his way to work as a conservator at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. A lot of it is dirty. Some of it’s broken.

Just recently, he noticed that marble statues near 68th Terrace and Ward Parkway of Diana, Roman goddess of the hunt, and Hippocrates, “Father of modern medicine,” weren’t looking so hot. Fortunately, he’s in a position to help.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

In small, incremental steps, a crew from Belger Cartage Service, Inc., on Thursday carefully moved Gates of Paradise into the Bloch Building at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The two, 17-foot-tall bronze doors weigh 4 1/2 tons, and installation is expected to take about six weeks. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

After months of stops and starts, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art now has the go ahead for the first phase of its master plan. On Thursday, the Kansas City City Council approved a zoning change for the museum's 29-acre property. 

Outdoor sculptures will take the place of the tennis courts of the former Rockhill Tennis Club along Rockhill Road. The clubhouse will be available for sale as a residence. The museum will expand offices, as needed, to the four historic houses it owns along 45th Street. 

Danny Wood / KCUR 89.3

Visitors to art galleries usually aren't there to look at picture frames. But frames at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art recently got some unusual attention, and one independent art specialist says they should get even more.

How a Congolese sculpture, now on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, inspired one American artist to explore a new style and tap into her own spirituality.

Plus why self-described "adventure artist" Steve Snell set sail on the Missouri River . . . in a cardboard boat.

Guests:

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

After coming to an agreement with its neighbors about a re-zoning request, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has now received approval from the Kansas City Plan Commission. 

Last year, such approval seemed uncertain. The Nelson wanted to turn houses it owned along 45th Street into administration and staff offices, and reuse some of the former Rockhill Tennis Club site as a sculpture garden and for overflow parking. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is mending fences with its neighbors. 

The museum has reached an agreement with two neighborhood associations about its properties. In dispute were the site of the former Rockhill Tennis Club and four houses on 45th Street just north of the museum. 

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The new Bloch Galleries at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art showcase European art from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. This includes masterpieces of Impressionism and post-Impressionism collected by Marion and Henry Bloch — artists such as Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh.

But visitors to the galleries might also be dazzled by some of the technological upgrades from sound to lighting. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The Bloch family has given a lot to Kansas City, including a donation of 29 masterworks by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists of the late 19th century to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Today we're live from the Bloch Galleries, previewing the collection's new home inside the museum. 

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a much-loved institution in Kansas City. What many Midwesterners may not know, though, is that the Nelson also has a world-renowned reputation among artists and scholars of Asian art. With more than 7,000 works spanning 5,000 years, the museum boasts one of the most celebrated collections of Asian art in the West.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

After a carol from the Heartland Men's Chorus, we delve into The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art exhibition featuring a 16th century piece of music you have to hear to believe. Then, we explore how museums serve as places for community congregation, not simply as repositories for art.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, Gift of the Hall Family Foundation.

When Dave Heath died in June at the age of 85, The New York Times described him as a "photographer of isolation."   

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has the largest institutional holding of Heath's work in the United States, and the museum's new exhibition Multitude, Solitude: The Photographs of Dave Heath — with nearly 200 photographs from the late 1940s to 2007, from black and white to color — explores themes of loneliness and the desire for connection. 

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