Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Price: Admission free
Hours: Open 10am-4pm Tue.-Thur., 10am-9pm Fri.-Sat., 11am-5 pm Sun.
The sleek exterior of Kansas City’s Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, designed by Gunnar Birkerts, only hints at the activity within its walls. The open, light-filled atrium provides a striking setting for art activities in the Museum, which is accessible to all, free of charge, year-round. The permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, free public programs, special events, and the ever-popular Café Sebastienne provide endless opportunities for education and entertainment.
Since opening in 1994, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art has become a leader among modern and contemporary art museums in America. The Museum has always had a strong commitment to its mission: to present contemporary art of the highest quality and significance through a permanent collection and a balanced exhibition program, and to stimulate dialogue, understanding, and appreciation of contemporary art through free educational public programming. With nearly a dozen special exhibitions each year featuring works by well-known, mid-career, and emerging artists, the Kemper Museum almost always offers visitors a chance to experience something new.
The heart of the Museum is its permanent collection, which has more than tripled to nearly one thousand works in just over ten years time. At the core of the permanent collection is the Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, a gift by the Museum’s founders R. Crosby and Bebe Kemper and the Kemper Foundations. Encompassing art created from the time of the 1913 New York Armory Show to today, the collection includes works by such renowned artists as Dale Chihuly, Petah Coyne, Morris Louis, Georgia O’Keeffe, Fairfield Porter, Jaume Plensa, Matthew Ritchie, Wayne Thiebaud, and Andy Warhol.
The Museum’s celebrated Café Sebastienne serving lunch, dinner, and brunch has won high praise, including its inclusion in Zagat Guide’s Top American Restaurants. The unique environment of the Museum along with Executive Chef Jennifer Maloney’s artful creations also make the Museum an extraordinary place for special events. The Café serves lunch 11:00 a.m.2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday; dinner 5:30 9:30 pm. Friday and Saturday; and brunch 11am 2:30pm, Sunday. For reservations, call 816-561-7740.
Museum admission and parking are free. To learn more, visit www.kemperart.org or call 816-753-5784.
4 out of 5 stars
Chris A. - Kansas City, MO
1. It's FREE! I mean, come on, what have you got to loose? That alone pushed it from 3.5 stars to four in my book.
2. There are a few of very interesting/appealing works. It's not the best collection but enough to hold your interest.
3. It has a nice cafe' with a good menu if you feel a need to grab a bite. Perhaps opening a little earlier would be nice.
4. Museum has very good schedule. Easy to fit it into a busy day for a nice, peaceful visit.
5. Hidden Treasure! Here's the part that is a must see. The cafe walls are ADORNED with some of the best work in the place! Think Sardi's where the actors are interpreted works representing 'the greats' in kind of a German Expressionist format (e.g. Renoir interpreted by Ernst L. Kirchner, Picasso by Kirchner, Matisse by Kirchner) :-)
If you're crazy about Kirchner (as I am) it's a real treat.
1. Parking is tricky to find. If you're in a hotel off the plaza, you're set. If you're in a car trying to find anything nearby you're going to be searching a bit.
2. Big museum, not many pieces. Some installations take up quite a bit of real estate for very little impact, others so little space but say much more. Is it a good thing to leave feeling like you want more or expect a wider representation of contemporary art and get so little? I like a lot of voices rather than just the 'big names'.
3. A security guard asked me to move my backpack from two shoulder to one in order not to bump into the art. Mind you, the place is about as wide as the Grand Canyon with very little art. Kind of made me chuckle. Sometimes the staff is friendly, sometimes they seem a little overbearing.
4. Cafe hours aren't conducive to low traffic times (i.e. best times to visit).
Definitely worth a visit... if you can find a place to park. Heheheheheh.
Good for a while.
3 out of 5 stars
John R. - overland park, KS
I thought it was a very good museum with some great art, but even taking my time I made it though in about 45min. I would say it's not worth much of a drive but if you are already in the KC area and are looking for something to do it is worth a thought.
Great Musuem but not for kids
2 out of 5 stars
Kia P. - Grove, OK
I visited my friend in K.C. on vacation, we were looking for something fun to do for the kids but cheap. Under Just for Kids the Kemper Musuem came up and it was free addmission, I love art and figured it would be a great experience for my son. As soon as we walked through the doors of the musuem I felt really out of place for one, nobody greeted us and I saw no friendly faces instead I felt they followed us, which we had four kids total and they were full of awwws and ohhh and whats that! I'm sure they were making sure none of them touched anything and I understand that. We ended up just leaving the place, it was a bad choice and wasted our time. So it's a great place to visit they have some awesome pieces, but just dont' take the kids!
4 out of 5 stars
Lindsay M. - Rogers, AR
Very nice museum with friendly staff. Very close to Country Club Plaza. (We walked from our hotel!)
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