Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art Reveals New Works of Art in The Big RevealMassive Sculpture by Petah Coyne Will Captivate Visitors The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art celebrates new acquisitions to the Museum’s permanent collection in the exhibition The Big Reveal. It features works by 27 artists from around the world and is on view September 23, 2011–April 15, 2012, at the Kemper Museum. Since opening in 1994, the Museum’s permanent collection has more than tripled, a tremendous feat for any institution. Admission is free; however donations are welcome. The Big Reveal opens with a number of events, starting with a free, public reception 5:30–7:30 p.m., Friday, September 23. That night, artist Petah Coyne will speak at 6:30 p.m. in the Museum’s Meeting Room. At 1:00 p.m., Saturday, September 24, German-born painter Susanne Kühn will speak about her inspirations, processes, and body of work, including the Museum’s painting Regina arbeitet (the second painting by Kühn to enter the collection), in the Museum’s Meeting Room. The events are free, and seating is first come, first served. For a full schedule of programs, visit our calendar.
The exhibition features paintings, photographs, drawings, and more by more than two-dozen artists. The exhibition features more than thirty new acquisitions to the Museum’s permanent collection. Most have never been on view before at the Kemper Museum. The exhibitions works are by: Jose Alvarez, Barry Anderson, Francis Bacon, David Bates, Romare Bearden, Ed Blackburn, Jacob Collins, Petah Coyne, Robert Farber, Barbara Grad, Red Grooms, Susan Hefuna, Ana Maria Hernando, Liu Hong, Keith Jacobshagen, Roberto Juarez, Susanne Kühn, Robert Kushner, Magnolia Laurie, Willem de Looper, Richard Mosse, Michael Schultz, Hans Silvester, Esther Solondz, Yoshihiko Ueda, William Wegman, and Betty Woodman.
Chief Curator Barbara O’Brien notes, “The Big Reveal celebrates these additions to the Museum’s permanent collection, a collection that it is a foundation of the Museum and inspiration to all in Kansas City and beyond.” Some artists, including Barry Anderson, Francis Bacon, Richard Mosse, Betty Woodman, are new to the Museum’s collection. For others, the Kemper Museum is adding to its holding of works by these artists, including Romare Bearden, Ed Blackburn, Susanne Kühn, Petah Coyne, and Red Grooms, among others.
The dramatic focal point of the exhibition will be the massive acquisition by American artist Petah Coyne. The Kemper Museum acquired Untitled #1336 (Scalapino Nu Shu), 2009–10, a more-than-500-square-foot sculpture installation centered around a full-size, preserved apple tree with mounted peacocks and pheasants. For this dramatic work, she drew inspiration from the Chinese women’s secret language, called nu shu, and the writings of author Flannery O’Conner. Perhaps best known for her dramatic “chandelier” sculptures in black and white waxes, the artist created the work in tribute to her friend, the late American poet Leslie Scalapino (1944–2010), with whom she had a long letter-writing relationship. This is the second work by Coyne to join the Museum’s permanent collection. The Kemper Museum presented the exhibition Petah Coyne: Above and Beneath the Skin in 2005.
The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art opened in 1994 and at the core of the permanent collection is the Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, a gift from the Museum’s founders and the Kemper Foundations. With works dating from 1912 to the present, the Museum’s collection features paintings, sculpture, photographs, ceramics, and more by modern and contemporary artists from around the world, including Louise Bourgeois, Joan Mitchell, Claes Oldenberg and Coosje van Bruggen, Georgia O’Keeffe, Fairfield Porter, Matthew Ritchie, Frank Stella, Wayne Thiebaud, Andy Warhol, and Andrew Wyeth, among others. In addition, the Kemper Museum presents 10 to 12 exhibitions and welcomes 130,000 each year to its three locations—Kemper Museum, Kemper at the Crossroads, and Kemper East.