Current Perspectives

The Kansas City Art Institute is pleased to announce the fall 2015 lineup of artists, designers and scholars who will speak as part of the college's "Current Perspectives" series. Stay tuned for updates.

Unless otherwise noted, all lectures are free and open to the public and will be held at 7 p.m. Thursdays in Epperson Auditorium, Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.

Fall 2015

Thursday, Aug. 27: Master Sculptors from Studio Nong Collective

KCAI and Asian Studies Certificate Program are pleased to welcome four master sculptors from the GuangXi Arts Institute, who are also members of the Studio Nong International Sculpture Collective and Residency Program. The artists will speak in Epperson Auditorium in Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus as part the of the College's "Current Perspectives" lecture series.

Studio Nong, which is currently in-residence at the KCAI ceramics department, is a partnership that pairs four Chinese artists and educators from the GuangXi Arts Institute in China with four American counterparts, three of them from KCAI. Together, they will be creating life-size human sculptures, made out of 7,000 pounds of donated clay. The residency develops an ongoing cross-cultural exchange between educational institutions.



Thursday, Oct. 15: Oleksandr Mykhed

Oleksandr Mykhed (born 1988) is a Ukrainian writer, literary scholar and curator of collaborative multimedia art projects. He is a research fellow at the Institute of Literature of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He has published two novels and a collection of short stories, and he is the curator of _Amnesia project: an open platform_, a literary and artistic multimedia project which was shortlisted for 7 best world projects at “SOUNDOUT! New Ways of Presenting Literature” festival (May, 2014, Berlin, Germany). Selections from his work have been translated into English, German, Italian, Polish, Serbian and Russian. In 2014, he guest-edited a portfolio of contemporary Ukrainian literature in English translation for the online magazine _Words without Borders_. He also translates from English and Russian in Ukrainian (including authors as different as Salman Rushdie and Boris Akunin). Currently, Mykhed is working on a novel about the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe which will combine documentation with a fictional story of two brothers. In the fall of 2015, he is spending five weeks in Lawrence as a writer-in-residence at the University of Kansas thanks to the support from CEC ArtsLink.

Thursday, Oct. 22: Scott Noel

Scott Noel is a professor of painting and drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of the FIne Arts in Philadelphia. He has taught and exhibited in Philadelphia for 30 years and has exhibited in New York and nationally with over 34 solo shows to his credit.

Noel's studio project centers on observational painting developing themes in still life, the portrait and nude, and urban landscapes as well as a series of large, mythic figure compositions. 2012's "Eurydice," an altarpiece-scaled image, features 16 figures, 10 of which are airborne.

Noel has received fellowships from the Bader Foundation, the Independence Foundation and the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris. His work has been included in numerous museum and corporate collections. As an active writer and curator, Noel has developed catalogue essays on Lennart Anderson, Larry Day and numerous fellow painters. He mounted "Imaginative Affinities: Echoes of Edwin Dickinson in Contemporary American Painting" at the Pennsylvania Academy and, most recently, "Urban Nature" at the Duke Gallery in the Wallingford Art Center outside Philadelphia.

Thursday, Oct. 29: Joshua Shannon

Dr. Joshua Shannon; associate professor of contemporary art history and theory at the University of Maryland; will give the talk "Photorealism: A History of Surfaces."  Shannon's talk will be on material from his current book project, forthcoming from Yale Univ. Press, titled "The Recording Machine: Art and Fact, 1968."

Thursday, Nov. 5: Simone Leigh

Influenced by feminism, African art, and ethnographic research, Simone Leigh creates surreal juxtapositions that subvert traditional iconographic systems and the power structures they support. In 2012, she was a facilitator at the roaming Asiko programme organized by Bisi Silva at The Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos, Nigeria in 2012 and in Dakar, Senegal in 2014. Leigh has received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award, a Creative Capital Grant, and the Joan Mitchell award for Sculpture. She was an Artist In Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2010-201. She has had solo exhibitions at The Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles; The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Georgia, U.S.; and The Kitchen, New York City. She has appeared in group exhibitions at the Sculpture Center, Queens, New York; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; L’Appartement22, Rabbat, Morocco; and the AVA Gallery, Cape Town.
Pictured: "Stack," Simone Leigh, 2014.



Thursday, Nov. 12: Sahej Rahal 

Mumbai-based artist Sahej Rahal’s installations, performances and films are elaborate extensions of his personal mythology drawing from sources that include local legends and science fiction. In addition to discussing his practice, Rahal also introduces the work of a range of contemporary Indian artists. His visit is organized in partnership with the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas. In late 2016, Rahal will return to install a commission for the exhibition "Temporal Turn: Art and Speculation in Contemporary Asia at the Spencer Museum of Art." Pictured: Still from Rahel's film, "Forerunner"

Thursday, Nov. 19: Jill Downen, Misha Kligman and Rashawn Griffin

(2015 Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Award winners)

Jill Downen

Jill Downen’s art is a focused investigation of the symbiotic relationship between the human body and architecture expressed in temporal installations, drawings, and models. Her art envisions a place of interdependent relation between the human body and architecture, where the exchanging forces and tensions of construction, deterioration, and restoration emerge as thematic possibilities.

Significant awards include: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship, Studios Inc Residency in Kansas City, MacDowell Colony National Endowment for the Arts Residency, and Cité International des Arts Residency in Paris. Downen has created site specific installations for museums such as Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Oklahoma City Museum of Art and American University Art Museum at the Katzen. Downen has been invited to lecture about her work extensively, including the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and the Luce Irigaray Circle Philosophy Conference in New York. Her art has been reviewed in publications including Art in America, Sculpture, Art Papers, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York Times. Downen lives and maintains her studio in Kansas City, and she is represented by the Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis. She holds a B.F.A. degree from the Kansas City Art Institute and an M.F.A. as a Danforth Scholar from Washington University in St. Louis. Downen is currently an assistant professor of sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute.

“The body is the primary vehicle one has for understanding the world. I want to offer viewers immersive environments that heighten the senses and ways of knowing that are often private and experiential. I see architecture as an extension of the body; a metaphoric prolongation of self. In my visual language, the city is flesh and both people and buildings embody the nature of temporality. I see human culture as being in a state of need for stillness and quietness. My art offers audiences a place to slow down and alter their perceptions in order to see and think in new ways.”
Pictured: "Alignment," Jill Downan, 2014, site specific installation American University Museum of Art, Katzen Center, Washington D.C.

Rashawn Griffin

Rashawn Griffin works in painting, sculpture, and installation.  With materials ranging from fabric and tassels to paint and cookies, his practice uses poetic relationships between objects and painting, highlighting the “strangeness and beauty” in-between.

Griffin was born in Los Angeles, California and he received a MFA from Yale University in 2005. Griffin was a 2005-2006 resident of the Studio Museum in Harlem’s AIR program. Since then, his work has been exhibited widely, including the 2008 Whitney Biennial, a two-person exhibition at the Studio Museum (RSVP), as well as “Freeway Balconies” at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, Germany and “Black Now” at the Longwood Gallery in the Bronx, New York, curated by Collier Schorr and Fred Wilson respectively.  Recently the subject of the solo exhibition “A hole-in-the-wall country” at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kansas, his work has been included in the exhibition “Minimal Baroque” at Rønnebæksholm in Næstved, Denmark, as well as the exhibition “30 Seconds off an Inch” at the Studio Museum in Harlem.  Pictured: "Untitled;" Rashawn Griffin; 2014; fabric, wood, foam.

Misha Kligman

Misha Kligman’s work is self-reflective insofar as it originates from the examination of the subjective experience. However, each body of Kligman’s work points to larger themes such as the tension between death and duty, thought and action, empathy and justice, and generally the relationship of art to one’s life.

Misha Kligman received a B.F.A. degree in painting and drawing from University of Kansas in 2009 and a B.A. in Art from Cleveland State University in 2001. Most recently Kligman’s work has been exhibited at 1522 Saint Louise, Kansas City and appeared in New American Painting, issue #119. Reviews of Kligman’s work have been published in The Kansas City Star, Lawrence Journal-World and The Cleveland Plain Dealer among others. Kligman is a participant in the curatorial collaborative Plug Projects and is currently an adjunct associate professor of art at the Johnson County Community College. He lives and works in Kansas City where he shares a studio with his wife, painter Amy Kligman.
Pictured: "Untitled (Man)," Misha Kligman, 2014, flashe on linen.

Thursday, March 24: Fred Moten  (more information to come)

Fred Moten is an author, poet, and professor of English at the University of California, Riverside.

Thursday, April 28: Ellen Fullman  (more information to come)

Ellen Fullman is an American composer, instrument builder, and performer.