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Central Standard

PHOTOS: Exhibition At The Nerman Features Kansas City Professor's House Plants, Ella The Deer

Kansas City residents who'd like to experience nature in air-conditioned comfort have the option to do just this inside the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. Three site-specific installations on display through September explore "what we have taken from nature and what we do to nature," says executive director Bruce Hartman.

For Los Angeles-based artist Amir Fallah, JCCC journalism professor Mark Raduziner's collection of more than 300 cactus plants inspired a portrait through paintings, stitched-together patterned sweaters, and elaborate constructions using this spiky collection. The installation is called The Caretaker. 

"Cacti and succulents are really not meant to live or survive in a winter climate," explained Fallah in a conversation with Central Standard host Gina Kaufmann. "The reason why this kind of interested me wasn't necessarily because of the plants themselves, but what they kind of stood for — this extreme level of devotion to this hobby ... I thought it was an interesting metaphor for something much larger."

A Poke Ghost and the Garden of Tearz by Kansas City artist Rodolfo Marron focuses on the beloved Kansas City deer Ella, who lived in Elmwood Cemetery in the city's Northeast until 2013, when she was shot and killed.

And JCCC associate professor of fine arts Mark Cowardin, who lives in Lawrence, Kansas, takes on consumption, and its impact on the natural environment, with sculptural "cloud" forms in his installation, The Space Between. 

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.