Art Course: Meet the Artists

Richard FarnanRichard Farnan

Project description: Edouard Manets’ Impressionist croquet party by the seaside in Normandy is transformed into “le partie de art golf”. Manet depicted his family and friends in elegant dress playing croquet at a fashionable resort on the coast. Manet frequently painted groups enjoying leisure activities in public spaces. Croquet was a relatively new pastime in 1870’s, perhaps surpassed in popularity by mini golf in the twenty-first century. The Nelson art golf project encourages family and friends to engage in leisure activity while exploring the Nelson collection.

Artist Statement: The Nelson Gallery’s le partie de croquet by Manet is an exemplary work in quality, provenance and placement in the Gallery. The lawn; the friends and family; and the game all combine to inspire a transformation for the Nelson ArtGolf project. We imagine many others may be so inspired. We hope our work is both respectful and playful.

Andrew WilsonAndrew Wilson
Physics and Engineering High School Teacher

Project description: This hole is inspired by Luis Tomasello’s Chromoplastic Mural in the museum’s Bloch Building. The instillation contains hundreds of seven-sided white polyhedron, with two faces painted red to create a vibrant effect against the plain wall.

Artist Statement: Minimalism, geometry, pattern and repetition. Tomasello constructs the kind of art that attracts me the most. My hope is for the shapes and forms of this hole to capture the visual interest of its players.

Parker StoryParker Story
Art Student

Project Description: This mini-golf hole is inspired by Marsden Hartley’s Himmel (1915). It brings the piece to life by pulling specific parts of the painting out and making them three dimensional. The placement of the pieces directly relate to the placement of shapes in the painting, such as the center barrel with the attached spiral staircase. The colors are also the same, and ideally, the painting’s texture could be replicated on the mini-golf hole to truly resemble a work of Marsden Hartley. In Himmel, Hartley merges the themes of childhood and war, so the idea of it becoming a mini-golf hole is truly fitting.

Artist Statement: Many people grow older and forget to bring fun to their day-to-day activities, so the main focus of my course is to grab interest and captivate the viewers in a whimsical way! Marsden Hartley’s bold use of color and shape perfectly translates into an epic putt putt course, and I focused on coupling those elements with a luck-based system of construction. The multiplicity of outcomes gives players of all ages an excitement of uncertainty when experiencing this piece. I hope it becomes a memorable experience for everyone and creates personal connections to Marsden Hartley’s Himmel.

Lisa Campbell ErnstLisa Campbell Ernst
Author & Illustrator

Project description: This mini-golf hole is based on Wayne Thiebaud’s painting, Jawbreaker Machine. The hole is hourglass shaped, with the machine dead center, filled with colorful golf balls. The slot that would normally dispense candy is a tunnel so the only way to travel from the tee off area to the ball cup is to go through the tunnel. There are also “scattered” golf balls/jawbreakers to create obstacles on each side of the machine. These balls are permanently placed.

Artist Statement: Wayne Thiebaud’s iconic images of sweets were reminiscent of his childhood, and connect with viewers for that very reason. Imagining an oversized jawbreaker machine on the lawn of the Nelson Atkins with the Shuttlecocks looking on makes me smile. I believe visitors of all ages would do the same.

Lee ErnstLee Ernst
Graphic Designer

Project Description: This is mini golf at the Nelson-Atkins. The hole is a replica of the Nelson-Atkins campus, complete with the buildings, Shuttlecocks and sloping Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park.

Artist Statement: What better way to launch mini golf at the Nelson-Atkins, than with this signature hole? Imagine the fun of getting to interact with these scaled down versions of Kansas City’s well known landmarks.

Kelly Batcheller-MummeyKelly Batcheller-Mummey

Project description: There exist a pair of twin dragons, one is mischievous and the other is obedient. They are from a time long ago and have traveled far to their current home. They were born at a time of greatness into a Dynasty for which they would forever carry its name. The dragons have remained together through many centuries.

United, their beauty is admired in the symmetry of their porcelain housing. They coil around with a voracious stare making anyone watching them uneasy. Yet one is not content with the complacency of mirroring the other on its porcelain domicile. The dragon hungers for that which it cannot have. It often breaks from its home to seek what it desires. The keepers of the vase have to continually hunt the dragon down and rebuild the vase over and over. The dragons live in familiar company from their ancestral home, but the one dragon’s hunger is strong, and it wants to leave. What it seeks is a pearl. There were many from where it came. They were prized for their perfection in its homeland.

The roguish dragon now has broken out again, waiting for the cherished rounded treasure. If it could find a place where the pearls are plenty and be away from the vase for just a little while…

Artist Statement: There is a story everywhere.

Jesse James Crupper  and Jacob HodsonJesse James Crupper and Jacob Hodson
Architect & Land Designer

Project Description: “Pedal” speaks to the child in all of us. Combining two pastimes of nearly everyone’s youth, the course is sure to inspire golfers to challenge each other. The use of a bicycle in the design emphasizes the Nelson-Atkins as a destination on Kansas City’s bicycle trail system. A bicycle’s beautiful lines and simplicity have a way of bringing out one’s youthful exuberance and has inspired photographers and artist throughout the museum’s collection.

Artist Statement: As cyclists and designers, we look for ways to get people out of the house to interact with nature and the built environment. A bicycle is one of the best ways to slow down and experience the world. It provides us with a means of transportation that is five time more efficient than walking and has no negative impact on our environment. We are both passionate about design and bicycling. We hope to inspire others in our community to see how life in Kansas City can be improved by pedaling and enjoying the outdoors.

John GlessnerJohn Glessner

Project Description: A replication of Kandinsky’s painting, raising certain elements to create a challenge in putting to the hole, while creating percussive sounds in honor of Kandinsky’s condition of synesthesia.

Artist Statement: Allowing the golf ball to tap various percussive effects, built into the painting, seems like just what Kandinsky would have done to bring his painting to life as a miniature golf hole! No doubt that children of all ages won’t be able to resist running their putter through the chimes, tapping the blocks or ringing the bells. This is a great opportunity for the public to interact with Kandinsky’s painting and understand what his inspiration really was.

Brett PaytonBrett Payton
Landscape Architect

Project Description: With Rumi, artist Mark di Suvero wanted to express his admiration for industrial construction with an abstraction of the Golden Gate Bridge. Additionally, he was inspired by the ancient Persian poet, Jalal al-din Muhammad Rumi, and the mystic characteristics of his work. Captivated by the dances of Whirling Dervishes, di Suvero manipulated steel beams that echo movement and celebration.

Zoomy is a mini-golf hole inspired by the sculpture Rumi. An orange bridge connects two landforms, identified as “Poetry Peaks”. Excerpts of Rumi’s poems are inscribed on these peaks in an effort to entice introspection and curiosity. The bridge hovers over a body of water, animated by arc’d steel cable segments. These cables represent the twirling fluidity of Whirling Dervishes and convey the movement of body and water. A mischievous field of rivets challenges the player as a final nod to the raw materials of bridge assembly. This deconstructed interpretation of Rumi is meant to inform, inspire, and cue visitors to the original piece located in Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park. Read. Interpret. Play. Putt. Zoom.

Artist Statement: From listening to my mom share nursery rhymes, to frumpy librarians reading aloud, to powerful first-person tales of heroic acts, everyone loves a good story…including me. Storytelling through art and design is essential for memorable work. Through research, interpretation, and spirit, I generate concepts rooted in abstraction of story.