New museum exhibit celebrates Thomas Hart Benton’s 125th birthday

Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
Feb. 21, 2014

The Kansas City Museum is set to celebrate the birthday of a Kansas City artist.

Beginning Saturday, Feb. 22, the museum, 3218 Gladstone Blvd., will open its newest exhibit, “The Kansas City Canvas: Thomas Hart Benton and Beyond.” The exhibit explores the artisan world of Benton, as well as other Kansas City artists though the collection of the museum.

As part of the exhibit, the museum will display Benton’s lithograph prints titled “Forward Pass, Benton Home” and many others. Denise Morrison, interim director and director of collections, said some of the work that will be on display have never been seen before. Other pieces were given by the Benton estate.

Morrison said the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site approached the museum about a year ago about hosting the exhibit. She said it took some time to determine which pieces by Benton should be displayed and “what story we wanted to tell from them.”

“There were definite pieces I had in mind right away,” Morrison said. “It was easy to design around the six [lithograph] pieces we had and expand from there.

The museum will also explore works of art from other resident Kansas City artists, including George Caleb Bingham, James Fitzgibbon, Daniel MacMorris and the WPA set of H.L. Pierre. An essay from museum staff, area historians and artists with musings on history, culture and art will accompany each piece they choose. Throughout the year, other Kansas City institutions -The National World War I Museum, Mattie Rhodes Art Center and Gallery, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site – will host Benton activities.

The exhibit is open to the public from Feb. 22 – June, 8, 2014. The exhibit, which is free to the public, is by tours only, starting on the hour. The museum is open from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday and 12 – 3 p.m. on Sunday. The last tour leaves at 3 p.m. The museum is close Monday and Tuesday. For more information, visit www.kansascitymuseum.org/BENTON.

benton Denise Morrison arranges pieces for the upcoming exhibit.

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