Martine Gutierrez’s “Demons, Chin ‘Demon of Lust,’ p93 from Indigenous Woman” (2018) is part of “Adorned,” opening Sept. 8 at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.
Many Shows Open in Conjunction with Start of New Semester
Kansas Kicks it Off
Voices: Women Artists in the Era of Second Wave Feminism, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University, Aug. 9, 2022 – Dec. 16, 2023, beach.k-state.edu
Featured artists include Lee Krasner, Louise Nevelson, Jenny Holzer, Shirley Smith and Alice Baber.
“Power to the People: Mexican Prints from the Great War to the Cold War,” Wichita Art Museum, Aug. 20 – Dec. 31. wichitaartmuseum.org
“Watercolor Now,” Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery, Aug. 21 – Oct. 23. Also on view: sculpture by Danielle Robinson, works by Clive Fullager and drawings by Prairie Print Maker Maurice Bebb (1891-1986), sandzen.org
“Cheryl Pope: Variations on a Love Theme” and “Myths of the West: Narrating Stories of the Land and People through Wichita Art Collections,” Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Aug. 25 – Dec. 3, ulrich.wichita.edu
Martha Cooper, Salina Art Center, Sept. 14 – Oct. 23, and ReCONSIDER: Frank Shaw, Sept. 28 – Dec. 31, www.salinaartcenter.org.
Adorned, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Sept. 8, 2022 – Feb. 5, 2023, www.nermanmuseum.org
The items we drape over our bodies, fasten around our necks or pull onto our feet are more than just functional. They are cultural, social and expressive in a way that may not be clear to every onlooker, but that send a signal to those who are tuned into the right frequency.
JoAnne Northrup, executive director and chief curator of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, and Boi Boy, artist and communications and volunteer coordinator at the Charlotte Street Foundation, co-curated “Adorned,” where fashion and art intersect to explore the ways humans decorate their bodies. From jewelry to piercings, the sanctified robes of religiosity to the blissfully tacky and over-the-top drag, the way humans adorn themselves is as thick with significance as it is with playfulness.
Northrop invites us to dive into this playfulness, saying, “We live in an incredibly conflict-filled time that is dangerous and frightening and confusing. We want people to enter “Adorned” and be able to partake in visual pleasure and forget all the nonsense for a time.” Viewers will be able to experience the work of 30-plus national, international and local contemporary artists, including a significant loan from the Gautreaux Collection, 50 bolo ties from a local collection, and styled mannequins from JCCC’s vast fashion collection.
“Adorned” is layered yet accessible to anyone. “You can come into this show and just see beautiful work and feel the adornment of the gallery, or you can dig deeper and deeper and find levels of complexity and different conversations,” Boy Boi explains. “It balances both of those worlds — this healthy form of escapism in a time of chaos; also, playing into this deeper conversation of class and race and what it means to adorn yourself and prepare space.” — Emily Spradling
Spencer Museum of Art Reinstalls Permanent Collection Galleries
“Displacement,” “Empowerment,” “Intersections,” “Illumination,” Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, fall 2022, www.spencerart.ku.edu
These four theme exhibits, each organized by a team of Spencer Museum staff and student staff from multiple departments as well as regional scholars, are part of a major reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection, the first in more than a decade. Following a soft fall opening, the reinstallation will continue through the end of the year and be completed by January. The project is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Shows to See in KC — And Highlights Around the Region
Another blowout show of fashion and adornments puts garments and diverse makers at the fore.
“Handiwork: Art, Craft, and the Space Between,” Charlotte Street Foundation, Aug. 12 – Sept. 24. For more exhibitions and events, charlottestreet.org
Jedel Family Foundation Curatorial Fellow Kimi Kitada highlights artists who “remix and upend tradition through unexpected material approaches,” in this exhibit of works by Summer Brooks (Kansas City, Mo.), Brandon Chavis (St. Louis, Mo.), Galen Gibson-Cornell (Kansas City, Mo.), Melissa Joseph (New York, N.Y.), Tamiko Kawata (New York, N.Y.), Clarissa Knighten (Kansas City, Mo.), Erin Latham (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Hùng Lê (Kansas City, Mo.), Kevin McClay (Omaha, Neb.), Lily Mueller (Kansas City, Mo.), Nishiki Sugawara-Beda (Dallas, Texas), and Casey Whittier (Kansas City, Mo.).
“Peter Callas: An Enduring Legacy” and “Elaine Henry: 50 Bowls, 50 States, 50 Woodfires,” Belger Crane Yard Gallery Sept. 16, 2022 – Jan. 7, 2023, belgerarts.org/overview
Mona Chalabi: Squeeze, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Sept. 9, 2022 – Feb. 12, 2023,
Data journalist, writer and artist Mona Chalabi is an advocate, basing her imagery and writing on statistics. In her data visualizations she illustrates subjects that include facts on abortion rights and the 100 most common leaves found in New York, the latter of which is a site-specific installation at the Brooklyn Museum’s Plaza, titled “The Gray-Green Divide.” Working with data about trees from NYC Parks, Chalabi draws attention to environmental pressures on precious resources. The data also suggests the inequality of green space throughout New York, including which neighborhoods have the most trees, demonstrating critical economic inequities.
For the St. Louis project, Chalabi focuses her data and attention on endangered species, including animals and plants. In her illustration “Endangered Species on a Train,” she has squeezed a variety of threatened animals into a train car, showing the painful fact that the remaining population of a particular species can fit in one single train car.
Chalabi’s style is playful and engaging but speaks with a direct voice to each of her various topics — from the whimsical to the serious. She has illustrated data on permanent teeth and the age they “erupt,” the difference between the average parking space and the size of a solitary prison cell, and the strikingly different voter wait times for whites, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos and African Americans, and more.
Unmanipulated statistics don’t lie, and Chalabi’s provocative drawings amplify basic facts about our policies, economics, culture and social services that we might otherwise simply skim over in a column of numbers and printed data.
In America’s current state of affairs, Chalabi’s voice, visualizations and dedication to facts are more critical than ever. — Dana Self
Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, Sept. 10, 2022 – Jan. 30, 2023, crystalbridges.org
“Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour,” the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s first fashion exhibit, aims to cover a lot of ground. Pieces from more than 90 different designers, ranging from Ralph Lauren to Western-inspired fashion to a Lisa Perry dress printed with Roy Lichtenstein’s “No Thank You,” will be arranged into seven themed sections.
The exhibit pays homage to the iconic clothing labels synonymous with style while elevating tastemakers that have gone historically underappreciated. Telling a comprehensive and inclusive story was a central part of curator Michelle Tolini Finamore and the Crystal Bridges team’s vision for the exhibit. It emphasizes the contributions of women and Black and Native American designers to the national fashion landscape.
“I always think of Crystal Bridges as a platform for inclusive storytelling, and we are thrilled to present our debut fashion exhibition boldly focused on the diverse origins and untold narratives of American fashion,” says Olivia Walton, museum board chairperson. “Fashion is very much the art of our everyday lives, a medium of self-expression and culture, a wellspring of creativity and vision. We are so excited to bring these voices and stories to the heartland of America.”
In “Abstraction: Kiowa by Design,” Teri Greeves uses traditional Kiowa beading to create sparkly red stiletto sneakers. A dazzling amalgamation of style, Greeves’ sneakers epitomize the inherent cultural overlap that distinguishes American fashion. Of course, the Wild West will also feature prominently. On loan from the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives, a photograph from Paris’ All American Fashion Show of 1947 shows Pat and Priscilla Emery in metallic cowgirl getup.
Not only does “Fashioning America” span a wide breadth of history, it also offers a glimpse into fashion’s future. It will include the first ever “interactive digital garment” to be part of a museum exhibition, designed in collaboration with self-described “bionik pop artist” Viktoria Modesta. — Rachel Robinson
Barbara Chase-Riboud Monumentale: The Bronzes, The Pulitzer Arts Foundation Sept. 16, 2022 – Feb. 5, 2023, pulitzerarts.org
This fall, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation will be presenting the first retrospective of the work of Barbara Chase-Riboud in 40 years. Curated by Stephanie Weissberg, associate curator at the Pulitzer, the exhibit features some 50 sculptures and 20 works on paper from the 1950s to the present, along with examples of the artist’s highly regarded poetry.
Chase-Riboud was born in Philadelphia in 1939 but has lived most of her adult life in Paris, France. She was the first African American woman to receive an M.F.A. degree from Yale. Her career successes have not been limited to the realm of visual art, as she published her first book of poetry in 1974; her acclaimed (and controversial at the time) novel about Sally Hemings, a slave of Thomas Jefferson, appeared in 1979. She has published numerous other books as well.
Best known as a sculptor, the artist often combines a rigid material such as bronze with softer media such as silk or other textiles. Chase-Riboud’s sculpture “Malcolm X #20,” from 2017, continues the series she began in 1969 to memorialize the slain civil rights leader. The work is an elegant fusion of armor and fabric; it is referred to as a “stele,” derived from a Near Eastern tradition of creating an upright monument to commemorate a special event or to mark a gravesite.
Chase-Riboud has traveled extensively throughout Asia and Africa — she was the first American woman to visit the People’s Republic of China after the Cultural Revolution, and her work reflects the influence of African and Oceanic art.
“I think our civilization is minimal enough without underlining it,” the artist has said. “Sculpture as a created object in space should enrich, not reflect, and should be beautiful. Beauty is its function.” — Nan Chisholm
Norman Akers and Heinrich Toh, Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, St. Joseph, Sept. 18 – Nov. 6, albrecht-kemper.org
2022 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Arts Awards, H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute, Oct. 5 – Dec. 10, kcai.edu/artspace. The annual award-winners exhibition features new work by Andrew Mcilvaine, Harold Smith Jr. and Johanna Winters.
Found in Translation: Explorations by 8 Contemporary Artists, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Oct. 8, 2022 – Aug. 20, 2023, www.nelson-atkins.org
Eight Asian American artists from in and around Kansas City and the region navigate and narrate the self across and between countries and cultures. Their work shares an idea of the interdependence of memory, experience, the tropes of migration, and the relationship of our bodies with the objects and places of daily life. Here, sometimes working from their archives, they may reexamine and aggregate their visual and emotional experiences.
Multimedia artist Priya Kambli, who teaches at Truman State University, combines decorative and patterned motifs with photography and other media to examine nuances in the immigrant experience, retelling stories mined from memory. Kansas State University’s Shreepad Joglekar translates the experience as one of suspension and essential powerlessness, further defined by uncertainty and waiting. Kathy Liao’s paintings similarly suggest the heaviness inherent in the uncertainty of dislocation. Printmaker Heinrich Toh’s multilayered works traffic in dislocation and memory. His disparate images and processes collapse the distance between what was and what is and suggest an immigrant experience can be one of longing to belong.
While visually dissimilar, Noriko Ebersole, Yoonmi Nam and Hong Chun Zhang share an interest in the everyday, broadly speaking. Ebersole’s 3,000 tiny daily self-portraits over 10 years’ time is a study in autobiography and a self-critical look at coping with literally every single day. Zhang’s work begins with redefining objects and space as the intimacy of hair, while Nam replicates objects such as plastic bags, cups and the detritus of everyday life, creating a purposeful stillness — a gesture that feels timeless and even prayerful. Hyeyoung Shin’s naked body is a locus of emotion and vulnerability, with her hair often draped around her face and shoulders as a protective gesture. She has often combined Korean traditional paper crafts with her body images.
Racially provoked hate crimes have created a tense and dangerous couple years for Asians, so this exhibition feels more than timely and welcome. — Dana Self
Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, Oct. 9 – Dec. 31, www.trumanlibraryinstitute.org
This touring exhibit of oil paintings by President George W. Bush features 66 portraits and a four-panel mural of members of the United States military he came to know personally.
Christian Ruiz Berman: Hortus Inconclusus, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Oct. 14, 2022 – March 5, 2023, www.kemperart.org
Christian Ruiz Berman populates his paintings with mice, egrets, birds and images that represent his Mexican American heritage along with a pictorial matrix of abstract passages and patterns. He notes, “My stylistic influences are wide, from the perspective and mood in Japanese ukiyo-e printing, to the direct and tragic-comic nature of mariachi ballads and Mexican folklore, to the confrontation of Indigenous, European, and even Tibetan Buddhist spiritual symbology.” As a person of migration, having been uprooted from Mexico as a child, Berman’s various narratives are a simultaneity of those influences embedded in his psyche.
Connectivity underlies his symbolic paintings, in which the flattened imagery aims to equalize time, space, living beings and things. The repetition of the images and the paintings’ compressed space suggest a desire to hold and preserve. In “Adar Rhiannon (Time Keepers),” brilliant blue birds dangle pocket watches in their beaks, literally holding time. Berman further seems to suggest that our reliance on technology and alienation from nature may be redressed if we understand the symbiosis of our shared experiences and our physical and emotional space. He notes, “Even as the symbols, architectures, and snippets of stories that I employ are deeply personal and autobiographical, I want my paintings to embody a shared experience.”
Berman creates a narrative of past, present and future in his fantastical paintings, where everything seems to coexist in an environment of simultaneity. — Dana Self
“Yvette Mayorga: What a Time to be,” The Momentary, Bentonville, Arkansas, Oct. 29, 2022 – March 12, 2023, themomentary.org
Pink acrylic piping enlivens much of Yvette Mayorga’s work, infusing the Chicago-based, first-generation Latinx artist’s portraits with decadent femininity. It engages and empowers traditional notions of feminine labor, confection and beauty.
“The color pink holds so much weight that is tied to fragility and prescribed to femme identity and gender norms,” Mayorga said in an interview with the Chicago-based art and visual culture blog, “Colossal.” “Piping and baking labor is also very gendered and constitutes a perceived notion of labor,” she added. “I am saying that pink and baking labor is powerful. The hyper femme is powerful.”
Her exhibit at the Momentary, “What a Time to be,” will reimagine Rococo portraiture with images from the artist’s own life, questioning what constitutes belonging and what is included in the canon of art history. Laced with references to ’90s nostalgia, Midwestern life, and immigration, Mayorga’s pink frosted scenescapes weave items including acrylic nails, false eyelashes, plastic gummy bears and rhinestones into compositions incorporating luxury fashion iconography. Drawing from François Boucher’s “Madame de Pompadour,” Mayorga’s “Resting Scrolling” combines gilded Rococo decadence with modern-day status symbols. A woman reclines in a Louis Vuitton Monogram gown, scrolling on a smartphone with hands adorned with jeweled acrylic nails. “The Reenactment with Nike Air Jordans After the Last Supper” portrays sneakers as an object of worship in a capitalist utopia.
“What a Time to be” is Mayorga’s first solo exhibition, following showings of her work at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Monterey Park, California, El Museo del Barrio in New York City, and the Art Institute of Chicago’s fall 2019 presentation of the exhibition “Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again,” among other venues. — Rachel Robinson