Sparks! The William T. Kemper Collecting Initiative

Sparks! The William T. Kemper Collecting Initiative

May 3, 2008—July 20, 2008

Location: Bloch Building, Gallery L13, L14

This exhibition celebrates the 36 modern and contemporary works acquired through the generosity of the William T. Kemper Collecting Initiative to date.

William T. Kemper was passionate about all art, but in particular championed contemporary art of his own time. To honor his spirit of curiosity and imagination, the William T. Kemper Foundation — Commerce Bank, Trustee in 1999 presented the Nelson-Atkins with a remarkable gift: $1 million each year for 10 years to be used for the acquisition of modern and contemporary art.

It was a transforming gift, allowing the Museum to buy an average of four significant works of art each year since 1999 including works by artists Marcel Duchamp, Adolph Gottlieb, Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois, Kerry James Marshall, Bridget Riley, Anish Kapoor, Kiki Smith, Felix Gonzales-Torres and many others. The collecting effort will continue into 2009.

The collecting initiative has been a collaborative effort led by Jan Schall, Sanders Sosland Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and, as of 2003, Robert Storr, Dean of the Yale School of Art and former Senior Curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

View selected objects in the exhibition

This featured exhibition will be ticketed.


Image: Louise Bourgeois, End of Softness, 1967. Bronze. Purchase: acquired through the generosity of the William T. Kemper Foundation Commerce Bank, Trustee.

This exhibition is sponsored by the William T. Kemper Foundation — Commerce Bank, Trustee. Midwest Airlines is the official airline sponsor.

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