The new exhibit Noble Synthesis features a collection of the Tulsa resident's drawings and crystallized creations, which marry his love of chemistry with his art. Thrasher practices a kind of alchemy, transforming and combining commonplace materials to render something brilliant. A dead cicada, or an animal skull, takes on a macabre beauty with the adornment of colorful crystals grown by the artist.
The enchanting works, curated by recent Kansas City Art Institute graduate E.K. Harrison, make up the latest in a yearlong series of Library exhibits curated by KCAI students. It is underwritten by the Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts and Pam and Gary Gradinger.
Will Eisner towers over the field of comics, his imprint ranging from his iconic crimefighting hero The Spirit in the 1940s and ’50s to his pioneering graphic novel A Contract with God in the late 1970s. The latter forever changed the way comics writers and artists approach
their craft, ushering in a new era of personal, longer-form stories touching on mortality, religion, sexuality, and other adult topics.
Eisner’s innovative storytelling, layouts, and art inspired a generation of cartoonists including Jules Feiffer and Mad magazine’s Al Jaffee.
His work is spotlighted in the traveling exhibit Will Eisner: The Centennial Celebration, a collection of 86 giclees (fine art digital lithographs) reproduced from his original artwork.
A special Library exhibit, It Finally Happened Here, looks back at that tumultuous episode in the city’s history and the effectiveness of efforts – up to today – to address its causes.
The exhibit, now on display at the downtown Central Library, will move to different Library locations throughout the year. Images and research materials were drawn from the collections of the State Historical Society of Missouri-Kansas City Research Center, LaBudde Special Collections at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, The Kansas City Call, The Kansas City Star, and the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections. Southeast Missouri State University history professor Joel Rhodes led the research, with contributions from Derek Donovan of The Star, Rachel Forester of the SHSMO, Kelly McEniry of the LaBudde Special Collections, and Donna Stewart of The Call.
The project follows the March 26, 2018 program Strife in the Streets: Kansas City Remembers 1968, which the Library co-presented with KSHB-41 Action News and KCPT-Kansas City PBS.
A professor of visual art at the University of Kansas, his work in this collection is designed to orient our thoughts toward the impermanence of the landscape and the record-keeping system that guides our knowledge of historic events. Time is blurred, for example, by the proximity of 1960s hippies and characters from the American Revolution. Quiet renderings of rock, tree, and sky express a sense of vastness. Human forms are dwarfed by infinite depths and changing geological structures.
The exhibit is curated by Baron Mattern, a rising senior pursuing a degree in painting at KCAI. It is underwritten by the Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts and Pam and Gary Gradinger.
Just a four-minute walk from Kansas City’s old First National Bank – now the home of the Central Library – some of the biggest names in American entertainment once made their way to a small photography studio and a man they trusted to cast them in just the right light.
From 1915 to 1930, Orval Hixon photographed hundreds of rising stars of vaudeville, stage, and early film. More than two dozen of them would be immortalized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Their images, as captured by Hixon, are featured in the Library’s latest exhibit of his work in the gallery named for Hixon on the lower level of the Central Library.
Co-presented by James R. and Joyce A. Finley, Charles David and Linda Hixon, and the Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts – Commerce Bank, Trustee.
Efforts in Kansas City to combat blight and “renew” the city through redevelopment took off after World War II. But visionary ideas came at the expense of established neighborhoods, architectural landmarks, and sense of community.
Featuring before-and-after photographs, maps, and other documents, this new exhibit examines the origin and implementation of urban renewal and its long-term, segregative effects on the city. Officials and developers tried to create a “city of tomorrow.” Their decisions remain a part of our lives today.
The exhibit, researched and curated by Michael Wells of the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, is on display on the fifth floor of the Central Library.