Thomas Hart Benton moved to Kansas City in 1935 to teach at the Kansas City Art Institute, where he produced the predictably controversial and indisputably sexxxy "Persephone," an American regionalist interpretation of the mythical story of the goddess of fertility. The work now hangs at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (see Thursday). This was just one milestone in a long, controversy-courting artistic career, and the Thomas Hart Benton House
at 3616 Belleview is an artifact of an era in which paintings could still produce outrage. It was in this Victorian house that Benton raised children and produced the bulk of his output. He died in the house's studio at age 85 while working on a mural depicting the history of country music. The house is preserved as a museum by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The studio, converted from a carriage house, remains as it was at the time of Benton's death, and visitors can view many of the artist's paintings at the site. The house is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guided tours cost $2.50 for adults or $1.50 for students; children 6 and younger are admitted free. Call 800-334-6946 for more information.
Thomas Hart Benton Home
$2.50 for adults, $1.50 for students
Art (General), Museum Exhibits & Events
Lawrence has one more reason to celebrate these days: Haskell Indian Nations University (155 Indian Avenue, Lawrence, 785-749-8404) has opened a new gallery dedicated to exhibiting works by American Indian artists. The Dick West Art Gallery is named after Haskell alumnus Dick West (1912-96), who was the first American Indian to receive a master of fine arts degree, according to the university. An artist, sculptor, lecturer, arts juror, administrator and teacher, West worked as a professor and administrator at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, before founding Haskell's art department in 1970. The current exhibition includes work by West (including his "Dreamshield," above) and Oklahoma's Ruthe Blalock Jones. West's series of oil paintings commemorates events in the life of Jesus. The exhibition runs through May 1. Open from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, the gallery will present four exhibitions a year organized by faculty member Donald Secondine.
Lectures, Museum Exhibits & Events
Art is confusing. Artists are inscrutable and weird, and their works are probably somebody else's business. Does this sound like anyone you know? Does it sound like you? If so, let the Slideshow Series at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (4420 Warwick) be the equivalent of a Dave Ramsey financial seminar for the bankruptcy of your artistic knowledge. Talented Kansas City artists command the floor on the second Wednesday of each month, illuminating their work and methodology with the same visually aided enhancement implied by the name of the series. From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The talks are free, but call 816-753-5784 to make a reservation.