I said I’d show you a few of my favorite exhibits at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and this seems like a good day for it. I have some stresses at the moment, and looking at art that has been in my life for so long brings me a feeling of calm, if only for a few moments.
Collage by Joseph Cornell. A Pantry Ballet for Jacques Offenbach, using found objects. It references both the cancan scene in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld and the Lobster Quadrille in Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I really don’t know why I like this one, it’s weird, but I do like that he used found objects and layers to create something fascinating.
The Museum Guard by Duane Hanson. This piece was installed in the 1970’s when the guards actually did wear that uniform. He usually stands in the modern art area, but recently they’ve been moving him around. This one was my dad’s favorite piece to show visitors from out of town, as he looks exactly like a real person. Duane Hanson‘s works are extraordinary.
This jade piece is Chinese. It was the design on all the buttons that the museum used to give away to visitors in the old days. It’s about 8 inches across. I was going to photograph the information for it, but someone was standing in the way explaining to her friend, “B.C. means Before Christ, and C.E. means… Christ Exists.” (C.E., for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, has replaced A.D. (Anno Domini) and stands for Common Era.) Anyway, I was too busy laughing to get the photo, but it’s hundreds of years old and is a great example of this kind of work.
Shiva. In the Indian art rooms. Shiva is the god/goddess of change, which is why I named my kitty Shiva. She’s been through so many changes in her life, from being a stray living in New Mexico, moving to KS, moving back to NM, moving to TX, and moving back to KS. Sorry, I don’t have the information on the actual statue. But I always stop in that room and give her a wave. Him? I don’t know.
And my favorite, Guanyin of the Southern Sea, Liao (907-1125) or Jin Dynasty (1115-1234).
Chinese . This statue stands in a temple-like room with very low lighting, and the atmosphere is very calming. It’s extremely hard to get a good picture of it because of the low lighting and spacing and people moving through. The wall behind it is huge, from a temple. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve come and spent time just sitting here.
Naturally, there are many paintings and other kinds of art that I love there. There’s Van Gogh’s Olive Grove, and one of Monet’s waterlily panels. The special exhibits, which cost a mere $8 for admittance, are always fantastic. It’s one of the places that make living in the flatlands tolerable, and makes a great day out. So if you are in the Kansas City, Missouri area, don’t miss it!