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A single act of generosity by a collector and supporter of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City has resulted in the gifting of five more works of art, a handful of loans, and an installation celebrating Color Field painting. Luther W. Brady, M.D., one of the world’s foremost oncologists, gifted the museum with Jules Olitski’s Embraced: Yellow and Black, in the memory of his dear friend Joanne Lyon, a longtime supporter of the Nelson-Atkins. Inspired by that gift, an anonymous donor loaned the Nelson-Atkins Helen Frankenthaler’s Elberta, another quintessential example of Color Field painting.

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A singular and important gift of Native American art has been unanimously accepted into the collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City by its Board of Trustees. The collection of Joanne and Lee Lyon, acquired over decades, contains a number of masterworks, including a group of 14 Southeastern Woodlands and Delaware bandolier bags believed to be the largest such collection in the world.

“The tremendous generosity of Joanne and Lee Lyon represents a pivotal moment in the history of the Nelson-Atkins,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins.

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The Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri, which has trained or employed artists including Thomas Hart Benton, Robert Rauschenberg and Nick Cave and is celebrating its 130th anniversary, announced Tuesday that it had received a donation of $25 million, one of the largest gifts ever to an American art school.

The money, from a donor who has asked to remain anonymous, will be used to bolster the school’s general endowment, improve and renovate its campus adjacent to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and, in the form of a challenge grant of $6 million, sharply increase the number of scholarships the school is able to give out.

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A suburban Kansas City school district has found a new home for a Thomas Hart Benton painting that it was keeping locked up because it was considered too valuable to display at a school.

The painting "Utah Highlands" will be on long-term loan at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, starting in late April, the school and museum announced this past week.

The Shawnee Mission School District had kept the painting in a vault for safekeeping after it was appraised at $700,000. Students who donated the painting in 1957 as a class gift began asking where the painting was after The Kansas City Star reported earlier this year that it was no longer being displayed.

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A stunning presentation of American folk art made primarily in rural areas of New England, the Midwest, and the South between 1800 and 1925 opened at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City March 28. "A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America" celebrates art rooted in personal and cultural identity and made by self-taught or minimally trained artists and artisans. Drawn from the prestigious collection of Barbara L. Gordon, "A Shared Legacy" highlights 63 outstanding examples of American folk art. Vivid portraits, still lifes, and landscapes, as well as distinctive examples of painted furniture from the German American community, carved boxes, sculpture and decorative arts of the highest quality offer an introduction to more than a century of America’s rich and diverse folk art traditions and exemplify the breadth of American creative expression.

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“The Plains Indians: Artists of the Earth and Sky,” one of the greatest exhibitions of American Indian art you may ever see, opened Monday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The show was originated by the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (where I saw it) in Kansas City, Mo., and organized by the inestimable Gaylord Torrence, the Nelson-Atkins’s curator in the field and also the orchestrator of its acclaimed permanent collection galleries.

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On Thursday, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art will welcome its newest exhibit.

Robert Morris’ Glass Labyrinth sits on the south lawn of the museum, in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Garden.

Morris in an internationally recognized artist who is from the Kansas City area. The Nelson-Atkins Museum has wanted to include one of his pieces in its collection for many years.

“I think we were all thinking something indoors, but this is the perfect way to celebrate him and to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park,” said Jan Schall, Sanders Sosland Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

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Thursday, 30 January 2014 12:49

Nelson-Atkins Museum Restores El Greco Masterpiece

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO is in the process of restoring ‘The Penitent Magdalene’ by the Spanish Renaissance master, El Greco. The project, which began in the spring of 2013, has been made possible by the Bank of America Art Conservation Project.

The endeavor is being helmed by Scott Heffley, the Senior Conservator of Paintings at the Nelson-Atkins. Heffley has removed various layers of past restoration work, exposing the canvas' original paint. He will begin rebuilding the painting’s damaged surface so that El Greco’s original work will be brought to the forefront. The process is expected to take months. Once the restoration is complete, ‘The Penitent Magdalene’ will travel to Toledo, Spain so that it can be included in a 400th anniversary celebration of El Greco’s death.

To date, the Bank of America Art Conservation Project has funded the restoration of over 58 works in 26 countries.

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In honor of Art Museum Day, approximately 180 art institutions across the United States will offer free entry or reduced admission rates on May 18, 2013. The event, which is in its 4th year, was planned by the Association of Art Museum Directors and is meant to unite the organization’s members. Many institutions will also offer special events and programming in honor of Art Museum Day, which coincides with International Museum Day for countries outside of the U.S.

Participating institutions include some of the most renowned museums in the country such as the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the Phillips Collection (Washington, D.C.), the High Museum of Art (Atlanta), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), and the Frick Collection (New York). A full list of participating museums can be seen here.

This year’s Art Museum Day theme is museums (memory + creativity) = social change.

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Burst of Light: Caravaggio and His Legacy, which is currently on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT, is the first exhibition in over 25 years to focus on the legacy of the Italian master, Caravaggio (1571-1610). The show explores Caravaggio’s profound influence on 17th century European art and includes 30 works by followers of the artist known as “Caravaggisti.”

Burst of Life will present five original paintings by Caravaggio including the Wadsworth’s own Ecstasy of St. Francis, which was acquired by the museum in 1944, making it the first Caravaggio work to join an American museum’s collection. The other works on view are Martha and Mary Magdalen from the Detroit Institute of Arts, Salome Receives the Head of St. John the Baptist from the National Gallery in London, The Denial of St. Peter from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO.

Burst of Light explores Caravaggio’s renowned use of light, painstaking attention to detail, and emotionally captivating compositions. The exhibition will be on view through June 16, 2013.

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