Wichita Art Museum

Wichita Art Museum
Wichita, KS

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Wichita Art Museum
1400 West Museum Boulevard
Wichita, Kansas 67203-3296

E-mail: info@wichitaartmuseum.org


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Kansas Land: Farm Photography by Larry Schwarm and "The New Farmers Project" by Photographer Bryon Darby, Designer Tim Hossler, and Sociologist Paul Stock

Visions of the Plains

Over There, Over Here: American Print Makers Go to War, 1914-1198

Constellations: Stories in the Stars


Through April 14, 2019
Kurdian Gallery

Cityscapes features paintings and prints from the Wichita Art Museum's collection that explore the urban built environment. Artists from the early-20th century onward depicted crowded streets, dramatic skylines, and towering skyscrapers. Some used the city to explore the anonymity and isolation of modern life, others to celebrate American industry, and still others created nearly abstract paintings based on the repeating geometry of apartment buildings and street grids. While Kansas Land and Visions of the Plains feature images of the rural landscape, Cityscapes showcases its opposite--the city.

Kansas Land: Farm Photography by Larry Schwarm and "The New Farmers Project" by Photographer Bryon Darby, Designer Tim Hossler, and Sociologist Paul Stock
September 29, 2018 through March 10, 2019
Louise and S.O. Beren Gallery, John W. and Mildred L. Graves Gallery

What does the Kansas farm look like in 2018? What is life like for the fifth-generation farmer, working inherited land that has passed down over generations? What is life like for the first-generation, sustainable farmer?

Kansas Land features the recent work of two photographers, each working in collaboration with a team of researchers. Both Larry Schwarm's work on the National Science Foundation BACC:FLUD (Biofuels and Climate Change: Farmers' Land Use Decisions) project and photographer Bryon Darby's imagery on The New Farmers Project with sociologist Paul Stock and designer Tim Hossler chronicle the life of farmers and the land they work in light of the social, economic, and environmental challenges of 2018.

Larry Schwarm's photographs are part of the National Science Foundation BACC:FLUD project. Bringing together more than a dozen researchers from various University of Kansas departments--economics, engineering, and anthropology, as well as two professors from Kansas State University--BACC:FLUD researched farmers' decisions to grow biofuel crops as well as investigating responses to climate change. Schwarm, a Kansas farm kid himself, aims to "put a face on the farmers whose land-use decisions are being studied" as they adapt to increased mechanization, changing markets, and erratic weather. Schwarm's evocative photographs document what has changed and what remains the same for those earning a living on the Kansas prairie.

In The New Farmers Project, Darby, Hossler, and Stock investigated Kansans experimenting with what it means to be a farmer. Stock led the group in interviewing over 30 farmers and stakeholders, aiming to "understand who these people are that are entering farming in what is a very tough time to be a Kansas farmer." Darby documented these interviews with his photographs, while Hossler combined the photographs with interview text to create dynamic, immersive graphics. Together, they provide a vibrant picture of the "unceasing grind and constant wonder" of small-scale farming.

Both projects work to connect the arts and the land with the everyday lives of Kansans. WAM is eager to further this goal by organizing the exhibition and showcasing the projects together.

Visions of the Plains
Through February 10, 2019

For people who live on the American plains--the great grasslands of the central and western United States--the landscape is a familiar touchstone.

We can all picture the endless expanses of grass and sky, the unobstructed views, and the geometric patterns of farm fields and repeating rows of crops.

While less obviously dramatic than mountains or oceans, this landscape has inspired American artists for centuries.

Visions of the Plains features paintings that celebrate Midwestern landscapes, from the rolling hills of eastern Kansas to the flat farmlands around Chicago. The works explore the variety of emotions inspired by the countryside, from loneliness and isolation to feelings of freedom and oneness with nature. Visions of the Plains joins the documentary photography exhibition Kansas Land, opening September 29, in investigating life and art in the American Midwest.

Over There, Over Here: American Print Makers Go to War, 1914-1198
July 28 through February 17, 2019

Historian R. J. O. Adams tells us that World War One "changed in some way the lives and futures of every man and woman on the planet." American writer Gertrude Stein, who lived in France during the 1914–1918 conflict, characterized the abrupt cultural shift the war generated by stating that it was only after the war's end that "we had the twentieth century."

Over There, Over Here: American Print Makers Go to War, 1914–1918 explores the little studied phenomenon of American print makers and their artistic responses to the watershed cataclysm of WWI. The exhibition includes powerful images of soldiers on the battlefield, while also showing the effects of the war at home--including the prints of those artists in Wichita and in Kansas who artistically reflected the city's booming aviation business in 1914 and following.

On the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of the Great War, WAM is pleased to collaborate with guest curator Barbara Thompson to reconsider the resonance of WWI--in the United States and in Wichita. Thompson is the granddaughter of Wichita printmaker C. A. Seward (1884–1939), the artist who was the driving force behind the Prairie Print Makers. In our museum's continuing study of art in Wichita, the Prairie Print Makers and the group's activities and impact remain very significant.

With the special WWI exhibition, Thompson has authored and produced two related publications. Over There, Over Here: American Print Makers Go to War: 1914–1918 and Wings Over the Prairie: A Brief History of the Aviation Industry in Wichita, Kansas are elegant, informative volumes with rich illustration and vital print history. They are available for purchase in WAM's Museum Store.

Constellations: Stories in the Stars
Through October 14, 2018

For ancient people, the night sky was full of stories. Looking up, people did not see balls of gas burning light years away. Instead, they saw shining pinpoints of light that formed shapes when joined together--shapes of hunters and wild beasts, sailors and ships, fair maidens and handsome heroes. Each culture brought their own stories to the various clusters of stars, and often they named them after a character or location in the story.

Around 2,000 years ago, the astronomer Ptolemy mapped and named many constellations, linking them with the Greek and Roman myths popular in his time. Constellations: Stories in the Stars explores many of the myths Ptolemy and other ancients paired with the stars. Featuring objects from the Wichita Art Museum's permanent collection, the exhibition brings the myths of the night sky to life

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