Siah Armajani’s bridges lead this week’s art events

Being at the confluence of the Missouri and Kaw rivers, Kansas City, like so many U.S. towns and urban centers, is laced together by bridges. Twelfth Street, Red Bridge, Bond, ASB — these structures carry our history as much as they carry traffic day in and day out. That’s one thing you ponder as you look at the major new exhibition set to open Friday, September 9, at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (4420 Warwick Boulevard), the first of Siah Armajani’s career to focus on bridges.

Siah Armajani: Bridge Builder — inspired by the 2014 gift from the Sosland Foundation to the Kemper, for its 20th anniversary, of Armajani’s “Kansas City No. 1” (2000) — showcases a major theme in a career that goes back nearly 50 years. The artist has just completed a new sculpture, “Kansas City Bridge No. 2,” to be included here with 32 other drawings, sculptures and a book. The exhibition opens with a 5-7 p.m. reception (cash bar and music by Hermon Mehari). The night before, you can hear from the artist when he speaks at the Kansas City Public Library’s Plaza Branch (4801 Main); that event is from 6 to 8 p.m.

Armajani was born in 1939 in Iran and came to the United States in 1960 to attend Macalaster College in Minnesota, where he still lives. His work includes the New York Staten Island Tower and Bridge and the Round Gazebo in Nice, France. Our local exhibition precedes a large-scale retrospective planned at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 2018.

First Friday was, in a word, crowded, so if you breezed by Front/Space (217 West 18th Street) or came too late (when it was too dark) to see Jessica Borusky’s performance, designed to be viewed via Caitlin Horsmon’s camera obscura set up in the gallery, don’t despair. Horsmon has partnered with a number of other artists to provide great programs throughout the month for Practical Optics. Wednesday, September 7, Corey Antis discusses optical viewing devices and their history at 7 p.m., and Horsmon conducts a pinhole-camera workshop from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 10; contact her to register at Additional events include a Wednesday, September 14 screening of the camera-less films of Paolo Gioli (7 p.m.), another pinhole-camera workshop, and additional screenings. Check

September 9, Tanya Hartman opens her solo exhibition at Studios Inc. (1708 Campbell) with a 6-9 p.m. reception. When a Stranger Sojourns in Your Land is an installation of letters created in clay to span the gallery walls with this phrase from the Book of Leviticus, the third book of the Jewish Pentateuch, which prescribes rules for living: “When a stranger sojourns in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who sojourns with us shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him/her as yourself.” By filling the gallery with this single directive so relevant to current political rhetoric and violence, Hartman presents a moral guide.

Also this week:

Thursday, September 8

Uptown Arts Bar (3611 Broadway)
Discussing the business of art with Kansas City Art Institute professor and printmaking chairman Miguel Rivera and artist and curator Israel Alejandro García García. It’s from 6:20 to 7:30 p.m., and the venue is for those 21 or older. See for more information.

Friday, September 9

Art Westport 2016
Through Sunday, September 11 (1-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday), the party district’s 37th annual art festival features 107 Kansas City artists, at Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue. See

Closing reception for Brink — Dancing the Edge by Nate Bogert
Trap Gallery (525 Gillis)
This 5:30-8 p.m. event is your last look at Bogert’s dye-sublimation prints on aluminum of projector-image enhanced abandoned spaces.

Riverfront Readings

The Writers Place (3607 Pennsylvania)
An 8 p.m. reading with Glenn North and Lindsey Martin-Bowen, with music by Gib Shell. North is the author of City of Song, a poetry collection inspired by Kansas City’s rich jazz tradition amid the triumphs and tragedies of the African-American experience; Martin-Bowen is the author of Crossing Kansas with Jim Morrison, which was a semi-finalist in QuillsEdge Books’ 2015-16 contest.

Together Alone Together

Bunker Center for the Arts (1014 East 19th Street)
A 6-9 p.m. opening reception for this show curated by Miles Neidinger, featuring his art along with that of Ricky Allman, Jessica Kincaid and Jennifer Williams; each alludes to, exhibition materials say, “the mirroring blur between isolation and connectivity.”

Categories: A&E