In the late 19th century, Impressionist painting was the avant-garde style coming out of Paris. This style explored the formal qualities of color and light through loose brushwork and open compositions. Yet Impressionists painters, such as Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet, were not just painting pretty pictures. They depicted contemporary urban life in Paris, and the subject matter scandalized art patrons who were more accustomed to classical scenes.
Earlier this spring, the Wichita Art Museum opened the exhibition Visions of Mexican Art. This exhibition serves as an introduction to the modern and contemporary painting, sculpture and photography of 53 Mexican artists.
This collection belongs to the Mexican Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. They acquired the artwork through a “Payment-in-kind” policy that began in 1957, which allowed artists to submit artwork as form of tax payment.
The Keeper of the Plains is a monumental sculpture that marks the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers. Rising 44 feet in the air, this Cor-Ten steel sculpture of a Native American chief is a popular site for Wichita visitors and residents alike. The proud figure stands tall with his back arched, offering something invisible to the sky with his upturned palms. The crisp lines of the stylized figure give it striking silhouette. But the large headdress and waving fringe gives the figure movement and life.
This Final Friday, the Wichita State University Sculpture Guild will be hosting their annual art exhibition at the Diver’s Studio on South Commerce. Playfully titled “Fondle, Please,” this show encourages visitors to not only touch the art, but it requires people to physically interact with the works in order to fully experience the show. While the show maintains a lighthearted air, the Sculpture Guild’s theme is determined to transform passive viewers into active participants.
Wichita is rich in public art. It is a point of pride for this town, and with this beautiful spring weather, now is the time to seek it out.
If you want to see Wichita’s newest project, head to Old Town. A relatively little known public art installation is going in along the west wall of the railway corridor off 1st Street on Santa Fe. It is called “Rails and Wheels,” and the first stages of this major installation are ready for view.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Yes, those turtles in a half shell have taught a whole generation that ooze gives you powers, turtles love pizza, and the four names of Renaissance artists. Though maybe we didn’t know it at the time, this cartoon introduced kids to Donatello, Michealangelo, Leonardo and Rafael – four awesome turtles and four renowned artists.