I have spent many days roaming the halls of the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum. To say it is fantastic is a bit of an understatement. Mixed in with this story are some of my favorite pieces from the art museum and if you read the story on the facility’s miniature golf course, you might recognize a few of the originals the holes were based on.
I took my friend, Carl, grudgingly to see the Museum. We stood in one of the main galleries, and I said, Carl have you heard of Manet? He said yes. I pointed at a painting behind him and said, that’s a Manet. Have you ever heard of Van Gogh, yes, he replied, I pointed to the side, and said that’s a Van Gogh, I asked him if he had heard of Roy Lichtenstein, he said of course, and I pointed at yet another piece, and said that’s a Lichtenstein! From that moment I had him hooked. The idea of a bunch of boring paintings hanging on the wall took on a different meaning when he could see works done by some of the biggest names in art.
My friend Justin liked to walk through art museums and pick out his favorite piece. Once everyone is done looking around, we go back to thay art piece and tell the other why we liked it. I use that same concept with Jeremy who has turned into someone who appreciates art. You don’t have to understand the deeper meaning of the artist and all that. I think you should just be able to look at a piece and say I like that; I would hang it in my house (if I could afford it).
If you are curious, take a moment to read the description. If it adds another element to the story, great, if not, move on. But don’t think that art is stuffy or pretentious. It’s objective. In my art classes we would spend an hour debating whether something was art or not. There were no hard fast answers. And remember that is the truth here too.
Let’s look at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum. First off, a little history about the Museum.
The Nelson-Atkins Art Museum was founded in 1933 by two Kansas City philanthropists, editor of the Kansas City Evening Star, William Rockhill Nelson and former teacher Mary McAfee Atkins. The two wanted to create a cultural center that would inspire and educate the people of the city.
The museum was built on the grounds of Oak Hall, Nelson’s home. It was his estate that helped purchase the artwork along with a donation from Atkins, who’s husband was a real estate speculator. They envisioned two separate museums, but the decision was eventually made to create one beautiful building.
That building opened in December 1933 at the cost of almost three million dollars. A second building was added in 2007, known as the Bloch building Addition. How sad is it, that this was the first time to see the new addition? I guess it has been longer than I thought since I have visited this place.
Next time you are in Kansas City, you should set aside some time and visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Look at the sculptures, get up close to the art and look at the details. Find something you like, they might have a copy of it in the gift shop. Then you can take it home and enjoy it. Did I mention the best part of the museum? It’s free!
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