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Arts & Life

The Andy Warhol Foundation Awards $50,000 In Support To Kemper Museum

Courtesy and copyright of the Mildred Thompson Estate, Atlanta, GA
The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art's upcoming exhibition takes its name from Mildred Thompson's 1990 painting 'Magnetic Fields (triptych).'

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, received some welcome news in this first week of the new year: a $50,000 grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Grants from the Warhol Foundation focus on funding institutions that support artists. The award, along with an additional $40,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts announced in December, will help support the upcoming exhibition, Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s. The show runs June 8 - Sept. 17, with possible travel to other locations. 

"We're very excited," says Erin Dziedzic, director of curatorial affairs. "It's a national recognition (of) the hard work the museum has been doing."

Dziedzic co-curated Magnetic Fields with independent curator, Melissa Messina, curator of the Mildred Thompson Estate in Atlanta, Georgia. It features works by 21 women artists of color born between 1891 and 1981.

"The exhibition looks at an intergenerational group of artists, working in abstraction from 1960 to today," says Dziedzic. "We're working with a few of the younger artists on the possibility of debuting some new works in the show, too. So that's a great opportunity for us."

Works in the exhibition range in media — from Chakaia Booker and her rubber tire sculpture El Gato in the Kemper's permanent collection to Mavis Pusey's iconic large-scale painting Dejyqea included in the 1971 exhibition Contemporary Black Artists in America at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York. 

"Kind of bringing back some of the works that people may or may not have been familiar with from past exhibitions and then also introducing new pieces," describes Dziedzic. 

In 2016, the Charlotte Street Foundation, which provides studio and exhibition space for artists as well as cash awards, also received significant support from the Warhol Foundation including a two-year $100,000 grant for general operations.

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @lauraspencer.

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