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Soaring Sculpture Melding Art, Science Celebrates Nelson-Atkins Anniversary


Venezuelan Artist Elias Crespin to Oversee Installation

Kansas City, MO. Feb. 7, 2024– A dramatic, ever-shifting, hanging sculpture will be installed in Bloch Lobby as The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City continues celebrating its 90th year. Grand HexaNet was created by Venezuelan artist Elias Crespin (b. 1965), who will be in Kansas City to oversee the installation in March.
“This highly nuanced choreographic sculpture constantly shifts and changes, bringing into question the concepts of space, time, movement, and form,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Director & CEO of the Nelson-Atkins. “Crespin’s work is both mezmerising and complex, inviting us to see and appreciate the architecture of the Bloch building in new ways.”

Grand HexaNet is a large, hexagonal network of red anodized aluminum tubes that extend from one central point of support. The tubes ascend and descend in space, driven by custom software-controlled motors, alternating between harmonious movements and the shattering of the original shape. Its bright red tubular elements move continuously to create a choreographed dance high above visitors’ heads.

“My largest sculpture so far, Grand HexaNet materializes complex mathematical figures, exploring the interaction between flatness and volume, order and chaos, continuity and rupture,” said Crespin. “The frail, bright red elements of the moving sculpture then draw a delicate ballet in the air and invite the viewer to stop and contemplate its dance, reconfiguring its perception of the exhibition space.”

Crespin’s sculptures have been shown around the world and have entered collections of important institutions such as the Musée du Louvre, Paris, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and El Museo del Barrio in New York.

Grand HexaNet’s ability to gracefully transform and become something new again and again in the heart of the museum will become a signifier for the changes the institution itself has undergone during its nine decades as the heart of visual culture in Kansas City, as well serving as an emblem of evolutions to come,” said Stephanie Fox Knappe, Sanders Sosland Senior Curator, Global Modern and Contemporary Art and Head, American Art.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, he was trained as a computer engineer. His parents were mathematicians, and his grandparents were artists; Crespin’s work perfectly integrates these universes of science and art. Crespin lives and works in Paris.

Grand HexaNet was most recently on view at the Grand Palais in Paris and will be on view at the Nelson-Atkins on March 28. It was acquired through the generosity of the William T. Kemper Foundation and the William Rockhill Nelson Trust through the George H. and Elizabeth O. Davis Fund.

Crespin will be on hand on March 28 when Grand HexaNet is activated for the public for the first time.

Photo credit: Atelier Crespin

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America’s finest art museums. The museum opens its doors free of charge to people of all backgrounds.

The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access to its renowned collection of more than 42,000 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and Native American and Egyptian galleries. Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the Museum is a key educational resource for the region. In 2017, the Nelson-Atkins celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Bloch Building, a critically acclaimed addition to the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building.

The Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO. Hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission to the museum is free to everyone. For museum information, phone 816.751.1ART (1278) or visit nelson-atkins.org.

For media interested in receiving further information, please contact:

Kathleen Leighton, Manager, Media Relations and Video Production
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art