Editor’s Weekend Calendar Picks, April 5-8

Time for weekend calendar picks from KC Studio editor Alice Thorson! This is your last weekend to see Through the Eyes of Picasso, on view at the Nelson through Sunday, and The Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City‘s production of the rock musical Passing Strange. Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey will be presented performances tonight through Saturday at the Folly from the renowned Ailey II.  And tomorrow night, there will be a host of First Friday offerings from galleries in the Crossroads and throughout the Kansas City area. Also Friday night, The Friends of Chamber Music presents Dover String Quartet at the 1900 Building. Or stop by La Esquina for the opening performance of Belfast Girls, co-produced by Fishtank Theatre and Charlotte Street Foundation (running through April 29). Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Kansas City Ballet presents “Diamonds” at the Kauffman Center. The annual Kansas City Art Institute BFA exhibition opens at the H&R Block Artspace on Saturday. Saturday and Sunday, Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College presents TAO: Drum Heart. And Sunday night, stop by Park University for a free concert featuring cellist Daniel Vies and pianist Helena Veisova.

For more events this busy spring weekend, visit Kansas City’s most comprehensive arts calendar at kcstudio.org/events.

Through the Eyes of Picasso

October 20, 2017 – April 8, 2018 | $18
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

This major exhibition will explore Pablo Picasso’s life-long fascination with African and Oceanic art, as well as works from the Americas, uniting his paintings and sculpture with art that fueled his own creative exploration.

In addition to paintings, sculpture, and drawings by Picasso, the exhibition will feature significant works of African and Oceanic art that transformed his artistic vision when he encountered them at the Musée d’ Ethnographie du Trocadéro (now Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris) during the early part of the 20th century. For Picasso, the allure of these masks and sculptures was in the artists’ exploration of line, abstraction of the human body, and representation of metamorphosis.

Visitors also will see works Picasso collected, lived with, and kept with him through numerous studio moves, still owned by his family, and others that are in the Picasso Museum in Paris.

Passing Strange

March 21, 2018 – April 8, 2018
The Gown Gallery

Passing Strange is a comedy-drama rock musical about a young African American’s artistic journey of self-discovery as he travels through Europe!

Ailey II – The Next Generation of Dance

April 5, 2018 – April 7, 2018
Folly Theater

The talented dancers of Ailey II are renowned for captivating audiences and translating their strength and agility into powerful performances. Under the artistic direction of Troy Powell, this critically-acclaimed company presents vibrant performances and innovative community programs across the country and internationally. The Ailey spirit shines as these artists perform an exhilarating and diverse repertory that includes Alvin Ailey’s timeless classics and thrilling new works by today’s outstanding emerging choreographers.

First Fridays in the Crossroads (and beyond)…


January 5, 2018 – April 30, 2018
MLB Designs & Boutique

Featuring: Several dozen African masks, sculptures, objects and textiles will be presented for sale in an exhibition curated by Douglas Drake with loans and consignments from various collectors and dealers around the country. Drake has been dealing with African and other ethnographic art since 1984, mounting two encyclopedic African shows in Kansas City in the 1980s and one in his New York Gallery in 1990.


April 6, 2018 – April 26, 2018 | Free
Thornhill Gallery, Avila University

Layers, is an exhibition of the work of 9 area women artists. Each brings a unique and seasoned individual voice to the theme, exploring layers, in both media and meaning, through paintings, photography, printmaking, and assemblages. These artists, known collectively as Re:Generation, include Donna Bachmann, Sharon Hunter-Putsch, Susan Lynn, Jane Pronko, Lynn Richardson, Catherine Vesce, Diana Werts, Megan Wyeth and Carol Zastoupil. The reception is at Thornhill Gallery 11901 Wornall Rd. KCMO 64145 and is open to the public on April 6 from 5:00 to 7:00pm. Layers will be on exhibit until April 26. Gallery hours are 9 AM – 3 PM Monday – Thursday and by appointment For more information, contact 816-501-3762 or thornhillgallery@avila.edu

Nor Boat Nor Fish No River/By the Missouri

April 6, 2018 – May 5, 2018
KCAI Crossroads Gallery: Center for Contemporary Practice

The KCAI Crossroads Gallery: Center for Contemporary Practice in partnership with the college’s Current Perspectives Lecture Series is pleased to present Nor Boat Nor Fish No River/By the Missouri.

The installation is the outcome of a detailed workshop led by artist, Winifred Lutz. The content and forms presented come from Lutz’s interest and research about the Missouri River system, its history, and ecology. Her engagement with KCAI Fiber and Painting courses resulted in the fabrication of dozens of forms included in this site-specific gallery installation. The small gallery presents a curated selection of process samples, methodologies, and prototypes related to her papermaking practice and this project. This project was initiated by KCAI faculty members Marie Bannerot Mcinerney and Corey Antis.


April 6, 2018 – May 19, 2018
Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art

Jun Kaneko is a citizen of the world and an internationally recognized sculptor. Born in Nagoya, Japan in 1942, Kaneko came to the United States in 1963 to continue his education and has been based in Omaha, Nebraska since 1986. This year, Kaneko was awarded the 2018 Gold Medal for Consummate Craftsmanship from the American Craft Council in recognition of a lifetime of achievement. Gold Medal awardees represent the extraordinary among a field of elite.

Jun Kaneko’s sense of exploration, innovation and experimentation is legendary. Scale and surface are perfectly matched in his well-known forms: dangos, heads, and wall pieces. For many years, Kaneko has been working in his studio to develop an elusive glaze that he first encountered twenty years ago at the European Ceramic Work Center in The Netherlands. Last year he successfully realized this blue flowing glaze and created a stunning body of work where it is prominently featured. In addition, Kaneko has been working at the Cuernavaca Raku ceramics studio, in Mexico, experimenting with new glazes and the unpredictability and possibilities of raku. Both series of this exciting new work will be featured in – Jun Kaneko: SOLO at Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art.

A list of Jun Kaneko’s current and past achievements is truly extraordinary. He has completed over sixty public art commissions and his work is included in more than seventy museum collections. Over the course of his career he has worked at experimental studios in The Netherlands, Japan, Mexico and the United States. Partnering with industrial facilities to realize large scale, hand-build sculptures Kaneko has created perhaps the largest high fire ceramic sculpture in the world.
In addition, Kaneko has designed sets and costumes for three operas: Puccini’s Madame Butterfly (2006), Beethoven’s Fidelio (2008), and Mozart’s The Magic Flute (2012). All three operas have toured throughout the United States.

In 1998, Jun Kaneko and his wife Ree formed KANEKO, a non-profit cultural organization to serve the community as an open space for creativity. KANEKO is headquartered in landmark, turn-of-the-century warehouses in the Old Market District of Omaha, Nebraska.

Currently, Kaneko is featured in two large public outdoor exhibitions in Phoenix, Arizona. Over 20 large-scale works are installed throughout the spectacular setting of the Desert Botanical Garden. In addition, at the David and Gladys Wright House, an exhibition of sculpture is throughout the grounds of the property and around this historically important Frank Lloyd Wright house. In July, Kaneko will exhibit a variety of sculptures at the historic Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

Art of Comics

April 6, 2018 – May 31, 2018
The Box Gallery

Since their first appearance in newspapers in the late 19th century, comics have shaped American popular culture. In 1970, two charismatic visionaries founded a company that challenged the convention of the medium to give voice to the groundbreaking comic storytellers and cultural commentators of their day. This exhibit explores the evolution of the funny pages, from Doonesbury—the strip that started it all—to Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side, to the new frontier that is web comics, all through the lens of the company that resulted from that legendary partnership. The comics presented in this show represent some of the most groundbreaking, monumental and impactful to come from Andrews McMeel Universal throughout its 47-year history.

Self – Hattie Odell

April 6, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm | Free
Mid-America Arts Alliance

M-AAA is pleased to present the exhibition Self, new work from artist Hattie Odell, for First Friday April 6 and May 4 from 6:00–8:00 p.m. at 2018 Baltimore in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District.

In navigating through an inherently subjective world, Self searches for a way to implement objectivity and remove intuitive expressionism when approaching portraiture. Devoid of color, excessive decoration, or irrational decisions, this series elevates the language of numbers as an ideal representative tool.

Odell studies sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute. Self will be on view for First Friday on April 6 and May 4 from 6:00–8:00 p.m., with other hours by appointment. It closes May 4.

Belfast Girls

April 6, 2018April 29, 2018 | $25 – $30
la Esquina

Fishtank Theatre is partnering with the Charlotte Street Foundation to present the regional premiere of Belfast Girls, a play by Jaki McCarrick at La Esquina in April 2018. A free, First Friday Open House and artist talk will take place on Friday, April 6, 2018 and 17 live, public performances will take place from April 7 through 29, 2018.

The production is directed by CSF Fellow Heidi Van and features a cast consisting of Rasheedat Badejo, Annie Kalahurka, Erdin Schultz-Bever, Lindsay Lillig, and Kaitlin Gould. The writer, Jaki McCarrick, won the 2010 Papatango Prize for New Writing for her play Leopoldville. Belfast Girls was developed at the National Theatre Studio, and was shortlisted for the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the 2014 BBC Tony Doyle Award.

The Fishtank, founded in 2009, presents contemporary experimental live theatre that challenges the way theatre meets its audience. Material performed by the Fishtank is fresh, its content progressive and its writers and performers committed to the aesthetic of risk-taking.

Working with set designer, Mark Exline, Belfast Girls will be staged aboard a multi-level ghost ship, resembling a skeleton, and the skin and bones of the population a government let starve.

La Esquina white box walls provide a projection surface for the voyage from Ireland to Australia where the set will be completed by images of the night sky, circling birds, the sea horizon, and, finally, the destination.

Kansas City Ballet Presents “Diamonds”

April 6 & 7, 2018 @ 7:30 pm
April 8, 2018 @ 2:00 pm
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

In the first weekend of Kansas City Ballet’s Celebration of Dance, you’ll enjoy three ballets including a KC premiere by Matthew Neenan. George Balanchine’s Diamonds recalls the order and grandeur of Imperial Russia and the Maryinsky Theater, where Balanchine was trained. It is the third and final ballet of Balanchine’s Jewels and is a glorious culmination of beauty and elegance. Petite Mort, translated from French, means “little death” and it passionately depicts the vulnerability of our lives. Jirí Kylián holds world-wide acclaim and has been one of the most influential voices in the progression of dance in the past decades, and this tour de force is an absolute “must see” with its Kansas City premiere. All music performed by Kansas City Symphony.


April 6, 2018 @ 7:30 pm
1900 Building

Haydn String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 20, No. 5, Hob.III:35​
Schoenberg String Quartet in D Major
Mendelssohn String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 80Joel Link, violin
Bryan Lee, violin
Milena Pajaro-Van de Stadt, viola
Camden Shaw, cello

2018 BFA Exhibition at H&R Block Artspace

April 7, 2018 – May 5, 2018 | Free
H&R Block Artspace

The 2018 Annual BFA Exhibition at H&R Block Artspace runs April 7 through May 5, 2017. This invitational exhibition presents new work throughout the Artspace galleries created by graduating seniors earning their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Kansas City Art Institute. The college awards B.F.A. degrees in 13 major fields of study: animation, art history, ceramics, creative writing, fiber, filmmaking, graphic design, illustration, interactive arts, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 6 and a closing reception on Friday, May 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. In connection with the exhibition, curator Jennifer Baker will host public gallery talks with exhibiting artists at noon on Fridays, April, 13, 20, and 27. Co-presented with the department of liberal arts, a public program on Friday, May 4 at noon will feature art history and creative writing students reading from Compendium 2018, an anthology of their writings. Artspace will host a First Friday Meditation Series at 11:00 a.m. on April 6 and May 4.

TAO: Drum Heart

April 7 & 8, 2018 @ 7:00 pm | $38 – $55
Carlsen Center – Yardley Hall

TAO has performed in over 22 countries and 400 cities around the world. After its first performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, TAO sold out every show of its first North American tour.

Direct from Japan, TAO wields athletic bodies and contemporary costumes combined with explosive Taiko drumming and innovative choreography. TAO: Drum Heart has critics raving about TAO’s extraordinary precision, energy and stamina.

With hundreds of sold-out shows and more than 7 million spectators, TAO has proven that modern entertainment based on the timeless, traditional art of Japanese drumming entertains international audiences again and again.

The men and women of TAO live and train at a compound in the mountains of Japan, reaching the highest level of virtuosity only after years of intensive study. The performers each bring nontraditional flair to the group by drawing on their diverse backgrounds — one as a hard-rock musician, another as a gymnast and another as a composer. With whirlwind martial arts displays and pulsating beats, the drummers bring a young and vibrant style to this authentic show.

Park ICM Masters in Concert Featuring Daniel Veis, Cello, and Helena Veisova, Piano

April 7, 2018 @ 7:30 pm | Free
Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel-Park University

Daniel Veis has been widely recognized as “the finest Czech cellist” since winning the Silver Medal at the prestigious 1978 Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow. Prior to winning the Tchaikovsky, he won the First Prize at the 1976 Prague Spring International Competition. Veis, along with his wife, Helena Veisova, will be presenting two works at the picturesque chapel on the grounds of Park University.

KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

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