Why we went to Kansas City

Johannes_Vermeer_-_The_Astronomer_-_WGA24685Since Alison plans to see every Vermeer in the world, she paid attention when an exhibit with two Vermeers was announced for Boston and Kansas City.  Though one was from the National Gallery, which we have seen repeatedly, the other, The Astronomer, was from the Louvre.  Maybe we saw it on our visit, but since neither of us has a clear memory of it, it doesn’t count.  Boston in the winter?  Nah, on to Kansas City in the spring!

After our visit to a famous quilt shop, we settled in to our hotel in Country Club Plaza, walking distance from the Nelson-Atkins Museum.  Too weary to drive to Gates Barbecue, we went at the suggestion of the hotel guy to this placeIMG_20160420_203450

where we had more meat than was good for us.  Yum, the burnt ends!  Alison was happy even before dinner began:IMG_20160420_192952

The next morning we took a walk around the Plaza, which is more interesting than it sounds.  Built in the 1920s in a style that borrows heavily from Spain and Italy, it’s filled with upscale national chain stores but also has some interesting architectural details.DSC06905DSC06911

Had we met this guy in Florence?  Yes, we had.

More Spanish influence:

The weather was raw and damp, and soon enough it was raining.  We scurried down the street to the imposing art museum.

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sculptures by Claes Oldenburg

We walked up the steps to this classic old-style temple of art, though the shuttlecocks give you a hint that there’s something else going on here.  In the imposing atrium was the exhibit banner, and the art-lover whose expression hints at what was to come…DSC06922

The exhibit was in the modern addition, a huge space that is seamlessly attached to the side and back of the old building.  We walked and walked and walked, and finally got to the exhibit itself.  Since no photos were allowed, I can only say that it was a fascinating exploration of class through 17th century Dutch art from museums around the world.  You can read more about the original show in Boston and peek at a few pictures here.

But as we came to the end, the Vermeer-lover looked around in confusion.  Where was The Astronomer??  No one could tell us, so we went up to the information desk and asked there.  Much to-ing and fro-ing, although both guides swore that there had only ever been one Vermeer in the exhibit.  In the end, we determined that between Boston and Kansas City, four paintings had been removed from the collection.  Insurance reasons?  Other bookings? Who knows.  Alison vows to contact the curator and determine what happened, but what can you do?

To make us feel better the guide encouraged us to view one of their jewels, the Caravaggio St. John the Baptist.  This will get us ready for Rome and Malta!  Isn’t he dreamy?Caravaggio_Baptist_Nelson-Atkins_Museum_of_Art,_Kansas_City

We enjoyed their Renaissance collection and their lovely cloister, and then had a ladies’ lunch in the stunning atrium cafe.  IMG_20160421_123702

I can only imagine the generations of Kansas City children who have been taken to the museum and then on to a special lunch or bite of cake here.

And now for something completely different, this stunning piece that looked like a quilt but wasn’t.  Created by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, it’s made from bottletops.DSC06923

See more here.  Quilt designs are everywhere, you just have to look.

2 responses to “Why we went to Kansas City

  1. After seeing one of El Anatsui’s works at the DeYoung Museum in SF, I made a special trip to Denver to see a retrospective. It was super and really expanded my knowledge of how his style evolved. I left with a video and a book so when you visit, I can share those with you.

  2. So incredibly cool that you know all about him! He is brand new to me. Are you taking bookings for 2017??

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