Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.Variant names
There was only one individual to hold an exhibition design related curatorship at the Museum. This was D. Craig Craven. Craven joined the Museum staff in March 1964 as the exhibitions designer. The following year the position title was changed to assistant curator of exhibitions. In 1970 Craven was promoted to curator of exhibitions. He left the Museum in 1973, after a short stint as the adjunct curator of exhibitions.
From the description of Curator of Exhibitions records, 1967-1972. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499190255
In the early 1970s, in an effort to improve its relations with the West, the Chinese government organized and circulated to various cities in Europe and North America The Exhibition of Archaeological Finds of the People's Republic of China. The exhibition consisted of 385 objects discovered after the Communist Revolution in 1949. In the spring of 1973 the exhibition opened in Paris, and traveled to London, Vienna, Stockholm, Toronto, and Washington, D.C. before coming to Kansas City. The Kansas City venue was secured by a combination of factors: Laurence Sickman's reputation, the Museum's Chinese collection, the city's central location, and assistance from Leonard Garment, a member of the White House staff. Attracting over 280,000 visitors, the exhibition, which showed from April 20 through June 8, 1975, was the largest exhibition ever to come to the Museum. In the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, fifteen exhibition rooms in the east wing and one-third of Kirkwood Hall was used for the display of the objects. Costs far exceeded anything previously attempted by the Museum and were offset by a nearly $500,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Marc Wilson, curator of Oriental art, was given charge of the exhibition and its ancillary activities, such as the editing of the illustrated catalog, design and construction of installations, advertising and promotion, and security.
From the description of The Exhibition of Archaeological Finds of the People's Republic of China records, 1974-1976. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 310470803
By the mid-1960s, almost all of the income from the William Rockhill Nelson Trust was being used for Museum operating expenses and little was left for acquisitions of art. Partly to compensate for the rising expenses and to preserve Trust funds for purchases, the Trustees authorized the establishment of the Society of Fellows of the Nelson Gallery Foundation. Begun on November 16, 1965, his new organization was modeled on the patron group of the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City. Herman Sutherland became the Fellows first chairman and Colonel C.M. Peeke the first executive secretary. Money collected from membership dues and fundraisers offered the Museum unrestricted income. These funds were to be used for special loan exhibitions, and educational programs and projects as well as for operating expenses. In return the members of the Fellows were given the chance to participate in activities that would increase their identification with the aspirations of the Museum such as dinners, special viewing of exhibits, collections, or recent acquisitions, and art-related travel opportunities
From the description of Society of Fellows records, 1962-2001. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499188958
Laurence Sickman was the first curator of Oriental art, beginning in 1935. He retired from the position in 1973, and Marc Wilson was hired to take Sickman's place. Wilson stepped down as curator in 1984. Wai-Kam Ho filled the vacancy and remained in the post until 1993.
From the description of Department of Oriental Art records, 1935-1993. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 122525074
In 1975, Ellen Goheen became the first curator of this department, then called twentieth century art. She resigned this position, and was replaced by Deborah Scott in 1983. Scott stepped down in 1999, and Jan Schall took over the department, now called modern and contemporary art, in 2001.
From the description of Department of Modern and Contemporary Art records, 1971-2005. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499188959
Following the suggestion of a friend, in 1972 Ralph T. Coe, the assistant director and curator of paintings and sculpture at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, mentioned to a member of the Arts Council of Great Britain that the British people might be interested in an exhibition of Native American art. The following year the Arts Council decided to mount such an exhibition within the framework of the upcoming American Bicentennial. The Arts Council asked Coe to act as curator of the exhibition. From 1973 to 1976, in addition to his duties as assistant director of the Museum, he traveled throughout North America and Europe locating Native American works of art and securing loan agreements with selected lenders. In the fall of 1976, the exhibition entitled Sacred Circles: Two Thousand Years of North American Indian Art showed at London's Hayward Gallery. This was originally intended to be the exhibition's only venue, but Coe thought that such a display of Native American art should be seen in its home continent and wanted a North American showing to be held at the Nelson. Yet, such an endeavor would prove to be difficult because of the fragility of the objects, the complexities of working with over ninety lenders in six countries, and the logistics of transporting the show from London to Kansas City and back again. Many of these obstacles were handled, however, with the assistance of the Arts Council, Hayward Gallery, and the cooperation of most of the lenders. The only thing then standing in the way of a Kansas City showing was the necessary funds to undertake such an exhibit. The financial constraint was overcome by large federal and state grants, a sizeable contribution from the American Can Company (chief among the many corporate donors), and through the efforts of local businessmen Morton Sosland and W. Coleman Branton, who helped raise over
From the description of Sacred Circles Exhibition records, 1972-1980. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499188954
The exhibition Sound, Light, and Silence: Art that Performs was held at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art from November 4, 1966 to December 4, 1966. This was the first and only venue for the show. Ralph T. Coe, the Museum's assistant director and curator of paintings and sculpture, planned and organized the exhibit. He used examples of Pop, Op, Kinetic, and Minimal Art, along with electronic and sound devices in an attempt to define points of "mergence" between many new styles of art. The exhibition featured twenty-four works by twenty-three artists. Many of the works had never before been exhibited and several were completed specifically for this show. Included was a happening staged by Al Hansen, entitled Max: Engineered Theater: Kansas City '66. This was performed just once, on November 18th. Sound, Light, and Silence was the direct precursor to the 1968 exhibition The Magic Theater.
From the description of Sound, Light, and Silence: Art that Performs exhibition records, 1964-1973. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 312711095
Christina Nelson became the first curator of decorative arts in 1989. She left in 1999, and Catherine Futter replaced her in 2002.
From the description of Department of Decorative Arts records, 1969-1999. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499189863
Jay Gates was the first curator of American art, taking the position in 1982. He was replaced by Henry Adams the following year. Adams left in 1993, and Margaret Conrads became the curator in 1994.
From the description of Department of American Art records, 1981-2005. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499183692
Paul Gardner was the first director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. He was hired in 1933 and retired in 1953. Laurence Sickman was then appointed as director. He retired in 1977, at which time Ralph T. Coe became the director. He left the Museum in 1982.
From the description of Office of the Director records, 1932-1982. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 122476491
The Magic Theater, an avant-garde exhibition held at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, was funded through the Performing Arts Foundation of Kansas City with local industries and firms contributing over $4 00,000 in goods and services. The exhibition was organized and coordinated by Ralph T. Coe with assistance from museum staff. Eight artists were selected to design works of art that involved sound, light, and inter-activity. The artist selected were Stephen Antonakos, Howard Jones, Stanley Landsman, Boyd Mefferd, Terry Riley, Charles Ross, James Seawright, and Robert Whitman. The works of art were constructed on site, at the Nelson, with help from the entire community of art patrons, students, teachers, and officials working for six weeks to pull the show together. It opened on May 29, 1968, and was scheduled to run through June 23, 1968. However, due to its popularity, the show was held over. The show then traveled to four additional museums including the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, N.Y., the Montreal Museum, Montreal, Canada, the Toledo Museum, Toledo, Ohio, and the City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri. After the completion of the last showing, each piece was returned to the artist as specified in the contract between the artists and the Performing Arts Foundation
From the description of Magic Theater Exhibition records, 1965-1975. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499183688
For over thirty years Ellen Goheen worked in various capacities at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Her association with the Museum began in 1967 when she became the assistant to the curator of paintings and sculpture. A few years later Goheen was appointed assistant curator of art history programs. In 1973 she became the associate curator of painting and sculpture and two years after that was promoted to curator of Twentieth Century art. Goheen left his position in February 1981, but that August she returned to work on a part-time basis as senior lecturer and coordinator of adult programming. At the end of 1982 she resigned from this position. In the mid-1980s her services were retained on a long-term basis as coordinator of the Thomas Hart Benton Centennial Exhibition and to edit the book The Collections of the Nelson-Atkins of Museum of Art. Goheen was named the administrator of collections management and special exhibitions in September 1989. She held the position until May 1999 when she officially ended her lengthy involvement with the Museum.
From the description of Ellen Goheen files, 1971-1998. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499188955
The first curator of European art was Patrick Kelleher, who was hired in1954. He left the Museum and was replaced by Ralph Coe in 1959. When Coe left in 1982, Roger Ward took his place. Ward left in 2001, and Ian Kennedy became the curator in 2002.
From the description of Department of European Art records, 1950-2008. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499183691
Scott Erbes attended Michigan State University, where, in 1988, he earned his bachelor's degree in History and Historic Preservation. Following graduation he enrolled in the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture at the University of Delaware. Erbes received his master's degree from this institution in 1990. Erbes became the assistant curator of decorative arts at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art later that same year. He was promoted to associate curator of decorative arts in 1996. He remained there until 1999, when he left to become the curator of decorative arts at the Speed Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.
From the description of Scott Erbes files, 1926-1999. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499188976
What would later become the office of the assistant director was created in 1946 as the office of the vice-director. Under director Paul Gardner, Laurence Sickman was the first person appointed to this position. Throughout his tenure in office Sickman also retained his position as curator of Oriental art. Sickman remained vice-director until 1953, when he was promoted to director. No one else held his former position until 1965, when it was resurrected as the office of the assistant director. Ralph T. Coe, who was the curator of paintings and sculpture at the time, and would remain as such, was appointed to this post. When Coe was promoted to director in 1977, the position was once again left vacant for several years. In 1981, Jay Gates joined the staff with a dual appointment as assistant director and curator of American art. He left the Museum in 1983 and the position of assistant director was never revived.
From the description of Office of the Assistant Director records, 1948-1983. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499183689
Ruth Lindsay Hughes was born in Bevier, Missouri on September 8, 1908, and she graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1931. She developed an interest in art from courses taken in college, and two years later she was able to secure a position at the as yet unopened Nelson Gallery of Art. She was initially hired to perform such tasks as sewing, dusting, and polishing. However, her industriousness and intelligence eventually convinced Paul Gardner to ask her to write guide books to some of the rooms, give lectures, write plays for children's classes, and develop a radio program to dramatize the collection. Later, when Laurence Sickman was hired as the curator of Oriental art, Hughes became his assistant. When Sickman was drafted into the Army during World War II, she took over as acting curator of Oriental art. Hughes resigned from her position at the Gallery in 1945, due to her impending marriage to Frank Cooper. They moved to New York where Lindsay took a job with the Asian art dealer C. T. Loo, whom she had become acquainted with through his connection with the Nelson Gallery. They later moved to California and then Iran, where she taught English as a Second Language. The couple returned to Kansas City in 1970 and Lindsay resumed her association with the Gallery as Sickman's assistant. She remained in this position for five years, until Sickman retired. Lindsay Hughes Cooper died on 16 November 1997, at the age of eighty-nine.
From the description of Lindsay Hughes Files, 1942-1946. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 310133093
The book High Ideals and Aspirations is a history of the Museum written by Michael Churchman and Scott Erbes for the occasion of its 60th birthday in 1993.
From the description of High Ideals and Aspirations collection, 1989-1993. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 503458108
George McKenna was the first, and only, curator of prints. He was promoted to curator in 1981 and retired in 1996.
From the description of Department of Prints and Drawings records, 1960-1996. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499189922
Frank Crabtree was a Museum gallery assistant who designed exhibitions when he became the assistant curator of native arts in 1957. Until that time no member of the staff had sufficient knowledge to supervise a collection of native art. Because of Crabtree's interest and knowledge, it became possible to make intelligent acquisitions in the field. The Museum Trustees did not intend to build a large collection, but hoped to assemble a distinguished, if limited, one. Crabtree left the Museum in 1964 to deal in Pre-Columbian Art. Following this, Ted Coe unofficially took over for Crabtree, and the department was renamed primitive art.
From the description of Assistant Curator of Native Arts records, 1957-1964. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499188975
Ross Taggart was hired in 1947 to be the registrar at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In 1953, he was appointed senior curator and, as such, oversaw the Museum's collection of American and European paintings and drawings, Decorative Arts, and Ancient Art. He retired in 1983.
From the description of Senior Curator records, 1949-1984. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499188956
The office of building superintendent was established in late 1933 when W.W. MacLean was hired. The following year his assistant, Clarence Simpson, was promoted to the position. Simpson remained as the building superintendent until his retirement in December 1968. In early January 1969, Sherwood Songer took over for Simpson. Songer, who retired in 1983, was the last building superintendent.
From the description of Building Superintendent records, 1933-1973. (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). WorldCat record id: 499183699
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