The way in which Congress has been hammering and sawing away at health care — how it’s managed and provided in this country — has heightened our collective awareness that most of us have some kind of pre-existing condition. Enter the ambitious and wide-ranging exhibition that Risa Puleo — inaugural curator-in-residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, Nebraska — opens this month in Kansas City. Care, A Performance is at Charlotte Street’s La Esquina (1000 West 25th Street), starting tonight.
Encompassing 18 artists, including Kansas City talents Hadley Clark, E.K. Harrison, Megan Pobywajlo and Samara Umbral, Care “uses choreography as a lens to think through questions of mobility and access in works made by artists with disabilities, chronic illness or entanglements with the medical industrial complex,” according to gallery materials. That description sounds a lot like “pretty much everyone,” but the fact that some illnesses are rare, unseen or stigmatized — not to say complicated and frustrating to live with — makes this exhibition exceptionally timely.
Using handrails, collecting gowns as mementos of medical visits, clocking the time spent on hold with insurance companies or in doctors’ waiting rooms, facing the bill for a facial alteration — these are just some of the aspects that Care‘s artists address. What’s it like to be a long-term care giver? It’s a toll, and Stuart Horodner shows us how. What are the challenges of Tourette’s syndrome? An opening-night performance by Ben Gould compares studied sustained stillness with uncontrollable movements. (At 2 p.m. Saturday, July 8, Puleo gives a tour of the many aspects of the show, and Pobywajlo and Olivia Clanton lead a conversation.)
More information and a schedule of upcoming programs here.
Other First Friday events and openings below, open tonight except as indicated.
Artist & Craftsman Supply Kansas City, 229 Southwest Blvd.
New paintings by Taylor Fourt, on view and for sale.
ArtsKC, 106 Southwest Boulevard
Latest paintings by Joe Bussell, through August 24.
Jasper Johns: Prints
Belger Arts Center, 2100 Walnut
Dozens of prints spanning 40 years of the artist’s output are out of storage and on view through September 2.
Ready to Ware
Belger Crane Yard Studios, 2011 Tracy
A curated exhibition of contemporary studio potters whose work focuses on dinnerware, through July 8: Jake Bond, Julie Bond, Brin Baucum, Dale Baucum, Chandra DeBuse, Erica Iman, Meredith Host, Paul Donnelly, Lauren Smith and Alex Watson.
Bridges and Gaps: The Annual Red Star Resident Exhibition
Belger Crane Yard Studios, 2011 Tracy
An exhibition of functional and sculptural ceramic work by Emily Connell, Kelly Lynn Daniels, Christina Erives, Hiromi Iyoda, Wen Dan Lin and Sarah Jewell Olsen. On view through August 5.
FLOWER invitational exhibition
Blue Gallery, 118 Southwest Boulevard
Works by Stanley Bielen, Stephen Dinsmore, Joe Ramiro Garcia, Anna Harney, Anna Kincaide, Lisa Lala, Lisa Noonis, Kelly Porter, Carlos Ramirez, William Rainey, Anke Schofield, Ruth Shively, Teresa Stanley and Heinrich Toh. Through July 31.
Art of War: Gifts of Peace
The Box Gallery, 1000 Walnut
The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College was established in 1881 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and happens to have a collection of more than 3,800 items in its art collection. This annual show presents a selection of works reflecting commerce and the school’s dedication to building international relations. The gallery is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and the show is on view through July 28.
Homage to Josef Albers & the Square
Cerbera Gallery, 2011 Baltimore
This intimate showcase of select items (giclees, editions and unique works) by one of the most well-known Abstract Expressionists draws from his Homage series, more than 1,000 related works made from 1949 until his death in 1976; extended through July 30.
Past and Present
Consulate of Mexico, 1617 Baltimore
After helping Tom Deatherage mange show promotion at the Late Show (RIP, Tom), Mauricio Zúñiga is working with the consulate’s exhibition program. His work goes first; on view throughout the month during consulate hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday) and tonight.
Femin • Is
Counterpoint, 1903 Wyandotte
The visual component of Rachelle Gardner-Roe’s yearlong project, this salon-style series of portraits derives from interviews with “creative self-identifying women” Gardner-Roe has shared on the KC Art Pie podcast, using their own essays, poetry and other expressions to delve into their influences and inspirations. Included are Shea Gordon Festof, Elisabeth Kirsch, Janet Kuemmerlein, Jennifer Lapke Pfeifer of Rightfully Sewn, Linda Lighton and Paula Rose. Also: women of Rosy’s Bar & Grill: Joyce Downing, Linda Kay Davis, Carol Smith, Tamara Severns; and the Wild Women of Kansas City: Geneva Price, Millie Edwards, Nottingham, Lori Tucker and Gloria Vando Hickok.
Flora & Fauna
Fraction Print Studio, 130 West 18th Street (inside Oracle)
A three-person drawing show — Alessandra Dzuba, Avery Fowles, Ash Miyagawa — is based on the simple act of illustrating the natural world; through June 30.
Front Space Gallery, 217 West 18th Street
A monthlong of programming starting with a print drop; meet members of the collective, have a drink, get issue No. 3 of the We Stole This zine and see the launch of the projection series running throughout July. Programming details here.
It’s Not Black and White: Trish Elting
Gallery 504-Crossroads KC, 504 East 18th Street
Hilliard Gallery, 1820 McGee
Chuck Miller says of his paintings: “I grew up in a time that real women had curves. I don’t subscribe to society’s perception of what a woman has to be, but I do have a view on what I consider beautiful, classic, and strong.” A collection of his nudes is on view through August 26.
Jones Gallery, 1717 Walnut
A new solo show of Sandra Conrad’s paintings and sculptures opened July 3.
KCAI Crossroads Gallery, 1819 Grand
Two series by Sonié Joi Thompson-Ruffin: one in conversation with poet Glenn North; the other, My Mother’s Club: March on Kansas City, created during an Art Omni residency and including a documentary film by Rodney M. Thompson about the history of African American women’s social clubs here. In the north gallery, two new large-scale paintings by 2005 Charlotte Street Award Fellow Max Key are what he likens to “meta-landfills” that are inspired by our culture’s excess and gluttony and ” the desire to find beauty and color in that blurry grey area between ‘need’ and ‘want.’ ” Open through August 4.
Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, 2012 Baltimore
The Hand celebrates its fourth anniversary with a selection of prints (see above) and photographs by artists who are featured in the pages of the latest issue, No. 17. Adam Finkelston and James Meara present work by 45 artists from Kansas City, the Midwest, California, Texas, Germany and more.
Also new July 7: a selection of work by 21st-century American clay artists Ben Bates, Susan Budge, James Ibur, Jeff Whyman and Allan Winkler.
Our Changing Landscape: Studio Art Quilts Associates presents contemporary fiber art, featuring 32 pieces by 21 artists; through July 29.
Love in Summer
Main Street Gallery, 1610 Main
Teresa Dirks, Chris Frye, Angie Jennings, Dee Thurn and Jodi Vander Woude, on view through August 4. Jeff Foster’s photography and digital art is also on view through July 28.
First Friday at MOD
MOD Gallery & Space, 1809 McGee
Painter Jon Munden and DJ Ray Velaszquez. Pop-up shows by Joe Harter, Craig Mildrexler, Crystal Ramirez and Martina Ramirez. At the Backdoor Gallery is artwork by Richard Day and Brian Ousley, and music by DJ Kyle Maggart.
Night Blooms Darkroom, Bookstore and Coffee, 529 Southwest Boulevard
Solo exhibition by Chris Edwards, whose series of photographs documents various points and the democratic processes during the presidential election cycle. On view through July 29.
At Home, Out of Place by Beth Lo
Summer Invitational group show
Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, 2004 Baltimore
Ky Anderson, Jane Booth, Marcus Cain, Patty Carroll, Laura Fayer, Damon Freed, Rain Harris, Molly Herman, Curt Hoard, Michiko Itatani, Jun Kaneko, Mike Lyon, Ethan Meyer, and Carol Stewart. Beth Lo’s ceramics and mixed-media collages are about family, identity and fitting in or being perpetually uncomfortable due to straddling cultures as an Asian American. Through August 19.
Connotations and Manipulations
Todd Weiner Gallery, 115 West 18th Street
The gallery is overtaken by Patrick Schmidt: paintings on the walls reflect the shapes in sculptures viewers will weave around as tape installations run floor to ceiling and out the windows — a metaphor for exploring identity in the digital age.
New July 7 in the second studio space: Anxiety by Zach Arlan, dimensional line paintings. Both run through July 29.
In for a Penny, In for a Pound
Vulpes Bastille, 1737 Locust
Max Crutcher, Fredy Gabuardy, Kyra Gross, Justin Mellon, Kylie McConnell, Zane Smith and Annie Woodfill, curated by Thomas Luna.
Plops, Kinks & Spills: Brett Reif
Weinberger Fine Art, 114 Southwest Boulevard