I recently visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on a trip to Kansas City and had to share some of my amazing experience. My friends and I spent over three hours admiring displays and I’m still not convinced that we saw everything.
By: Andy Warhol
Cool because: Warhol actually had a series of 32 Campbell’s soup cans (you can find some selling online for $35,000) that are iconic images of his pop art reign. This one was surprisingly small in-person at about 20″ x 16″.
By: Tom Price
Cool because: My favorite collection had to be “Presence & Absence: New Works by Tom Price.” On display were several coal sculptures that resembled half-burnt people (top left). I found out that Price was inspired by the people of Pompeii, who’s bodies were simultaneously burnt and preserved by lava. In an interview with the Kansas City Star, Price said:
“Coal is carbon in purest form. I liked the idea of using carbon as a fundamental building part of life and what we return to afterward…the paradox presented by its ability to both sustain life and threaten life.”
I also love his resin pillar (right). The fragmented crystal interior seems like a frozen moment of movement with shards of color juxtaposed with clouds of black tar. It creates a beautiful visual dissonance.
By: Dorothea Lange
Cool because: Lange was one of the most influential photojournalists during the Depression-era. Most people recognize her iconic photo “Migrant Mother.” It was exciting to see one of her photos in-person and be so close to that kind of greatness.
In this particular photo, (please ignore the reflections on the glass frame) called “White Angel Breadline”, a man slouches with his back to the crowd, empty cup in front of him. The photo portrays the sense of disconnectedness and emptiness that was at the center of the depression.
By: Claude Monet
Cool because: Monet is a highly famous French artist who helped found a new style of art: impressionism. You may have seen his water lilies or sunrise impression. This style focused on evoking emotions over depicting accurate details, which is why the images often seem hazy or out of focus. The image isn’t the art, the moment is.
Native American art
By: Several different tribes of Native Americans
Cool because: I’ve always been intrigued by Native American art, which played a huge part in their overall culture. They used elements of nature to create pieces that were useful (practical art, score!) and depicted special tribal patterns or homages to spirits and animals.
I’m always impressed with the intricacy to their bead work and the earthy tones paired with vibrant pops of color. And you can’t deny that they know how to accessorize!
I had such an amazing time and I highly suggest this museum to anyone who finds themselves in Kansas City with some time to spare. Do you have a favorite artist or museum?