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Wall Street Journal Names Nelson-Atkins Picasso Exhibition One of 2017’s Best

Kansas City, MO. Jan 17, 2018– The groundbreaking exhibition Through the Eyes of Picasso, which explores Pablo Picasso’s life-long fascination with art of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, was named one of the country’s top exhibitions of 2017 by The Wall Street Journal. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City is the only U.S. venue for the exhibition, which closes April 8.

“The overwhelmingly positive response to this exhibition, which is close to my heart, has been immensely gratifying,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins.

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Karen Wilkin called the exhibition “mesmerizing”, and wrote: “The powerful effect of non-Western art on Pablo Picasso, after he visited the Ethnographic Museum of the Trocadéro, in Paris, in 1907, is a fundamental assumption of the history of modern art… Through the Eyes of Picasso showcases some of the artifacts he encountered at the museum and in friends’ collections, and many of the more than 100 African, Oceanic and Meso-American works he collected and lived with, set among paintings, drawings and sculptures he made in response. The informative combination replaces speculation with hard evidence, clarifying our perceptions of Picasso’s innovations.”

Nearly 50 thousand visitors have seen the exhibition since its opening in Kansas City Oct. 20.

The exhibition was curated by Yves Le Fur of Quai Branly, in partnership with Musée national Picasso-Paris. Zugazagoitia organized and adapted Through the Eyes of Picasso for the Nelson-Atkins, which remains on view until April 8, then concludes its run at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (May 7 to Sept. 16).

Upcoming programs related to this exhibition:

All Eyes on Picasso: The Art of Appropriation


Saturday, January 20

1­–2:30 p.m.

Atkins Auditorium


Join us for an insightful panel discussion that wrestles with questions of appropriation, appreciation, and inspiration as those concepts apply to Picasso’s work and 21st-century art and culture.



Dr. Delia Gillis, Director of the Center for Africana Studies, University of Central Missouri



  • Michelle Tyrene Johnson, playwright and diversity speaker
  • John Lukavic, Curator of Native Arts, Denver Art Museum
  • Nii Quarcoopome, Co-Chief Curator, Curator of African Art & Department Head, Africa, Oceania and Indigenous Americas, Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Chico Sierra, artist, musician and poet


The Mystery of Picasso


Saturday, February 3

1–2:30 p.m.

Atkins Auditorium


See Picasso in action in The Mystery of Picasso (1956, 78 minutes, French with English subtitles), the famous film that demonstrated the artist’s profound abilities in real time.


Speaker Series

All talks 6–7 p.m.

Atkins Auditorium


Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins and exhibition curator, has invited three prominent French scholars and museum leaders to share perspectives on Pablo Picasso, his creative interests and relationship with the arts of Africa and the world.


Thursday, February 22

Picasso’s Collection of African and Oceanic Art

Julián sits down with Peter Stepan, pioneering scholar of African and Western art and author.


Thursday, March 22

Paris’ musée du quai Branly and the Display of African Art

Presented by Stéphane Martin, president of the musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, Paris


Thursday, April 5

The Musée Picasso: An Enduring Legacy

Presented by Laurent le Bon, president of the Musée National Picasso–Paris


Photo credit: Chris Mullins

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, which strives to be the place where the power of art engages the spirit of community, opens its doors free of charge to people of all backgrounds. The museum is an institution that both challenges and comforts, that both inspires and soothes, and it is a destination for inspiration, reflection and connecting with others.

The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access to its renowned collection of nearly 40,000 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and new American Indian 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 celebrates 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 Wednesday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Thursday/Friday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. 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