When the BNIM architectural firm took up residence in a new space last January, it marked the end of an unfortunate chapter but also what now seems like a thrilling new beginning. In the midst of a community dispute over public tax subsidies for developers, the firm had been forced to abandon its ambitious plan to lease and remake a drab Crossroads Arts District warehouse into a sustainable energy showplace.
As a painter, Stuart Davis (1892-1964) represented a trailblazing strain of 20th-century American optimism. His jaunty canvases extended European modernism over a wide range of territory and human subject material. He celebrated urban streetscapes, shorelines and mundane life with an eye-popping sense of jazz-influenced rhythm and invention.
Most museums have learned in recent decades that to survive and prosper they have to respond to the times. Change, grow or die. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art certainly has been on that path since the late 1990s, when its leaders chose to build a major expansion.