The Nelson-Atkins has an outstanding contemporary art collection in diverse media surveying work from 1960 to the present.
In addition to Pop, Minimalism, Conceptual art and variations of realism, the holdings also include multiple directions of contemporary art, reflecting the pluralism and globalism of art today.
Robert Rauschenberg’s Tracer was one of the first major contemporary works acquired by the museum. Additional major acquisitions include Duane Hansen’s Museum Guard, Louise Nevelson’s End of Day—Nightscape, Donald Judd’s Large Stack, Robert Arneson’s Pablo Ruiz with Itch, Jim Dine’s Crommelynck Gate with Tools, and Nancy Graves’s Zaga.
More than 50 remarkable gifts from The William T. Kemper Collecting Initiative—including Bridget Riley’s Arrest 2, Art Part by Elizabeth Murray, Four Color Frame Painting #4 by Robert Mangold, Kerry James Marshall’s Memento #5, Anish Kapoor’s Six Secret Places, Dusasa I by El Anatsui and Raqib Shaw’s Twilight Painting II—have greatly enhanced the collection.
The Hall Family Foundation’s Modern Sculpture Initiative supported many notable acquisitions, including seven sculptures by Isamu Noguchi.
The Noguchi Sculpture Court, designed by Bloch Building architect Steven Holl, was specifically created to house this extraordinary gift. Both the impact of the artist’s Japanese-American heritage, and the influence of European Surrealism and American Minimalism, can be seen in this exemplary body of work.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum exhibits the largest number of Noguchi sculptures in a public setting outside New York and Japan.