Kansas City is a wonderful town. Much like Minneapolis it is often maligned for being smack dab in the center of flyover land. Don’t let this fool you–it has much to offer any visitor.
The weather is almost spring-like with early February temps in the 50’s. The city’s grid is easy to navigate and understand — especially with GPS. The object of my search is the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum. This Museum recently benefited from a new addition that now houses its more contemporary art collection. The addition is nearly 1/2 mile in length and looks much like the “Time Tunnel”; this was a 1960’s television show based on the premise that explorers would dash into a large cornucopia or ear trumpet in order to travel through time. The new addition looks completely alien to the original more classically design main building — yet somehow it works!
The Nelson-Atkins has a number of galleries or chambers that exhibit art/artifacts from around the world; the cultural exhibits that focused on China, India and Italy were particularly interesting since each contained reconstructed rooms from those countries. The art collection contains everything from Cubists to American Folk Art. Thomas Benton Hart who hailed from this area was heavily represented in the American Art sections.
Here are some examples of the Museum’s collection:
After a few hours of museum surfing hunger pangs were setting in. Having heard so much about Kansas City barbecue the only real issue was selecting the right place to eat. After a quick google search we chose “Danny Edward’s Boulevard Barbecue”. Lucky for us it was a scant 10 minutes away since it was nearly 2pm and the restaurant was only open until 3pm. The place is cinderblock building located in an industrial area along railroad tracks–perfect I thought. Once inside the wait-staff was more than accommodating. The special was a full rack of pork spareribs–delicious with or without sauce! We chose three sides and proceeded to “chow down”.
Our post-feast thought was we need to walk some more so we decided to go to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. This museum is smaller in scale and full of more avant-garde works. It was sponsoring several special exhibits including paintings of Black Jazz Musicians like Count Basie by Fredrick James Brown and an exhibit named “Scanning the Horizon”. The museum has the appearance of a flying saucer which dovetails nicely with the artwork on display.
The day was topped off with an lovely evening stroll around the “Plaza Shopping District”. This is the original leisure mall concept taken to the nth degree. Only shopping areas in Sarasota, Beverly Hills and Michigan Avenue can compare. Dazzling lighting, oodles of restaurants and an unknown number of tony boutiques makes shopping here as decadent a pleasure as anyone could ever imagine. Though I am not much for shopping I did encounter two interesting displays of human joy. The first was a very loud and talented bagpiper playing Scottish pipes; and the second was a band of dancing/chanting Hare Krishna’s. The Krishna’s were particularly appealing since one rarely sees them in public these days.
It was a wondrously full day. We will have to return again so that we can visit other sites like the Harry S Truman Library and Museum and the Negro Leagues Museum. Not to mention taking the opportunity to attend a Royals baseball game–hmmmm…maybe this summer…