Kansas City artist Michael Sinclair is virtually an art star.

Kansas City Strip 

Kansas City artist Michael Sinclair is virtually an art star.

Moo-ving up in the world: Paris' historic Left Bank has nothing on Kansas City if the Web site NextMonet.com is any gauge. The site has been auctioning the work of Kansas City artist Michael Sinclair, whose most recent exhibition was at the H&R Block Artspace earlier this year. Sinclair's colorful photographs of such public gathering places as Worlds of Fun and the Iowa State Fair are available for $500 apiece -- not a bad deal compared with some of the Web site's other offerings, such as Joe Stefanelli's "The Playful Martinet" for $24,000.

Raechell Smith, director of the H&R Block Artspace, says she wasn't aware that Sinclair's work was available on the Internet. But his cachet as a virtual art star doesn't surprise her: "Mike is going to do the second project wall for me -- 'Oceanside,' a large photograph of a group baptism in Oceanside, California, that, with its water and sand, brings an ocean horizon to Kansas City." It will replace Zik Muniz's "Two Cows," the image that has adorned the building's west side since shortly after the space opened last year.

John O'Brien of Dolphin Gallery, which handles Sinclair locally, was surprised when we told him that his artist's work was for sale on NextMonet. "It is?" he asked before clarifying Dolphin's relationship with its artists. "It's nice for the artists to get out there and push themselves. We don't feel we own the artists, and I feel lucky to have him here with the gallery. Some galleries are possessive; we just don't operate that way."

Sinclair says he would prefer that local collectors use Dolphin rather than NextMonet. "That is for sales outside Kansas City," he says of the Web site. "I've been on there for three or four months and so far have sold one photograph -- of a 4th of July gathering in Independence to a buyer in New York."

And while Sinclair's ocean scene will replace the Artspace's cows, other local cattle seem destined to live on despite the departure of Kemper Museum director Dan Keegan, who becomes the director of California's San Jose Museum of Art in November. After milking controversy with the cow parade project, Keegan leaves the fiberglass menagerie out in the pasture. Will it go on as scheduled? "Dan was just one person behind it," says Karen Holland, advisory member of the Municipal Art Commission and volunteer with the project. "It will not miss a beat."

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