The new exhibit Noble Synthesis features a collection of the Tulsa resident's drawings, photographs, and crystallized creations, which marry his love of chemistry with his art. Thrasher practices a kind of alchemy, transforming and combining commonplace materials to render something brilliant. A dead cicada, or an animal skull, takes on a macabre beauty with the adornment of colorful crystals grown by the artist.
The enchanting works, curated by recent Kansas City Art Institute graduate E.K. Harrison, make up the latest in a yearlong series of Library exhibits curated by KCAI students. It is underwritten by the Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts and Pam and Gary Gradinger.
Will Eisner towers over the field of comics, his imprint ranging from his iconic crimefighting hero The Spirit in the 1940s and ’50s to his pioneering graphic novel A Contract with God in the late 1970s. The latter forever changed the way comics writers and artists approach
their craft, ushering in a new era of personal, longer-form stories touching on mortality, religion, sexuality, and other adult topics.
Eisner’s innovative storytelling, layouts, and art inspired a generation of cartoonists including Jules Feiffer and Mad magazine’s Al Jaffee.
His work is spotlighted in the traveling exhibit Will Eisner: The Centennial Celebration, a collection of 86 giclees (fine art digital lithographs) reproduced from his original artwork.
Just a four-minute walk from Kansas City’s old First National Bank – now the home of the Central Library – some of the biggest names in American entertainment once made their way to a small photography studio and a man they trusted to cast them in just the right light.
From 1915 to 1930, Orval Hixon photographed hundreds of rising stars of vaudeville, stage, and early film. More than two dozen of them would be immortalized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Their images, as captured by Hixon, are featured in the Library’s latest exhibit of his work in the gallery named for Hixon on the lower level of the Central Library.
Co-presented by James R. and Joyce A. Finley, Charles David and Linda Hixon, and the Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts – Commerce Bank, Trustee.
Efforts in Kansas City to combat blight and “renew” the city through redevelopment took off after World War II. But visionary ideas came at the expense of established neighborhoods, architectural landmarks, and sense of community.
Featuring before-and-after photographs, maps, and other documents, this new exhibit examines the origin and implementation of urban renewal and its long-term, segregative effects on the city. Officials and developers tried to create a “city of tomorrow.” Their decisions remain a part of our lives today.
The exhibit, researched and curated by Michael Wells of the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, is on display on the fifth floor of the Central Library.