May art shows: Where to be, what to see

Socially engaged projects, interactive events, and dynamic group exhibits are all on the menu this month. Kemper Museum is celebrating a milestone, while The Drugstore prepares to close its doors. Read on for highlights of art exhibitions and events coming in May.


Alphabet Soup (You Better Watch Out or You’re Going to Have To Socialize With Your Peers)   ⇒ ⇒

Imagine That!

The humor of words and text runs through this exhibit featuring works by IT!’s resident artists alongside featured local artist Alex Savage. The visual simplicity of Savage’s drawings and paintings belie a rich subtext of melancholy humor and cultural commentary.

Opening reception: Friday, May 3, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. 2010 McGee.

Mapping Stigma: An Archive of the Contracting an Issue Project

Leedy-Voulkos Art Center

“Contracting an Issue” is an ongoing project of performance pieces based on interviews with the public about social issues around HIV/AIDS, including stigma and criminalization. This exhibit will include videos of previous performances, documentation of related issues, and educational workshops and panel discussions.

Opening reception: Friday, May 3, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Exhibit runs through July 27. 2020 Baltimore.

New New New

La Esquina

Witness the birth of a socially conscious art initiative that is centered on a “search for transcendental approaches to material lifespans,” aka upcycling. This new project is the creation of Rachel Ferber and Adam Lucas, who are both co-curators at Plug Projects as well as educators and interdisciplinary artists. This weeklong exhibition is billed as a showroom — a launchpad for what is to come.

Opening reception: Friday, May 3, 6 p.m.- 9 p.m. Exhibition runs through Friday, May 10. 1000 W. 25th St.


Chain Mail

Open House

This collaborative exhibit by St. Louis-based artists Brandon Bandy, Shawn Burkard, and Wil Drisco was created in response to the environment in which it was made: the stripped-down residential architecture of Open House. The artists created this site-specific installation with photographs, construction materials, and more.

Opening: Friday, May 10, 6 p.m.- 9 p.m. Open by appointment through May 31. 4419 State Line Rd.

Open Studios

The Drugstore

After seven years as a communal artist studio space, The Drugstore is preparing to close its doors later this year. Come peek behind the curtain and see artists’ processes at space’s last-ever Open Studios. With 26 artists working in a wide variety of mediums and styles, there’s heaps of potential for engaging dialogue and head-spinning inspiration. Bonus: a recital by the UMKC Conservatory, plus interactive sound installations. 

Saturday, May 11, 6 p.m.- 9 p.m. 3948 Main St.

Community Collage Day

Push up your sleeves and get creative: Imagine That! offers an opportunity to create collages alongside its artists. Your work will be added to a community collage wall for its June exhibition, Paper Cuts. This is also a great time to visit and learn about the studio, whose artists are adults with developmental disabilities. All materials are provided, and the event is family-friendly.

Program: Wednesday, May 15, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 2010 McGee St.

Lexicon: The Language of Gesture in 25 Years at Kemper Museum

Kemper Museum

In celebration of its 25th year, the Kemper opens an expansive exhibit featuring well-known works from the museum’s Permanent Collection, as well as recent acquisitions and new pieces. Surprises are promised to be revealed in additional phases to be rolled out throughout the duration of this exhibition. Pro tip: visit the museum on a Thursday afternoon so you can also catch the new live jazz series curated by Hermon Mehari in Cafe Sebastienne.

Opens Thursday, May 16. Exhibition open through Sunday, August 25. 4420 Warwick Blvd.

Haw Contemporary Stockyards

Four artists have exhibitions opening this month at Haw Stockyards. Justin Gainan’s Medium Density Overlay: Split features monochromatic abstract works. Ahram Park presents elegant photographs of the natural world in Almost Nothing. Ryan Fenchel references ancient allegories in Plato’s Oven. And Ken Wood’s Gemelli offers abstract prints and paintings with broad swaths of curving color.

Opening Friday, May 17, 6pm-9pm. 1600 Liberty St.


La Esquina

A show curated around a mood can be more dynamic and surprising than ones built around a more concrete theme. This group exhibition ponders states of transition — of waiting. Artists included: Bo Hubbard, B Becvar, Kelly Runningen, Trey Hock and Jaime David, Lauren Louvel Louise Whitacre, 2007 Balquier, and William Plummer.

Opening reception Friday, May 31, 6 p.m.- 9 p.m. Exhibition open through Saturday, June 29. 1000 W. 25th St.

Categories: Art