In 1889, the Eiffel Tower in Paris served as the gateway into that World’s Fair. It remains a visible part of the Paris skyline. The Shedd Aquarium became a high point for the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago. While the Sun Pavilion on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art will not remain a permanent fixture on the park grounds, just like the other world’s fair exhibitions, this unique building captures the spirit and the very essence of any world’s fair – innovation, technology and education.
The building will be part of the Kansas City Sculpture Park family event July 15. Along with StoneLion Puppets presenting a show, newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble will also perform on July 15. Docents and staff will discuss selected sculptures. There will also be The Picnic Project, an interactive installation by Kansas City Art Institute instructor Alison Heryer.
The Kansas City Sculpture Park is a 22-acre oasis designed by internationally recognized architects Dan Kiley and Jaquelin Robertson, opened in 1989 and contains more than 30 sculptures, primarily from the 20th and 21st centuries. Many sculptures are Henry Moore works. Mike Kress, Partner + Chief Architect, Generator Studio, says he appreciates the chance to be among contemporary sculptures. The Sun Pavilion is down the hill from Roxy Paine’s Ferment and Ursula von Rydingsvard’s Three Bowls.
“We figured we needed to have fun with this. First and foremost, we have this cool sculptural element,” Kress says. The pavilion is made up of three shipping containers, just like the ones seen on cargo ships or being transported across the country by tractor-trailers. “We plan to either reuse or recycle every part of the Sun Pavilion. In this day and age, we took the temperature of current technology and a large consensus to see that much is reusable.”
Catherine Futter, The Helen Jane and R. Hugh “Pat” Uhlmann Curator of Decorative Arts says, “The pavilion is a natural extension of Inventing the Modern World, since world’s fairs have always been recognized for their innovative pavilions.” Kress says he wanted an approachable and complementary exhibit to Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs 1851–1939. The exhibition runs through Aug. 19. l