Think Local: Beach Museum exhibitions feature Kansas photographers, painter

(Photo courtesy of Beach Museum of Art)

The Beach Museum of Art reopened its facilities on Aug. 24 after being closed since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With galleries back open, the museum will also continue to offer virtual exhibitions and programs on its website. Linda Duke, Beach art museum director, said she is looking forward to seeing students and community visitors in person.

“Exploring art with everyone virtually has been really great and we aim to continue making art adventures available online, but we’ve missed seeing everyone in person,” Duke said.

Two new exhibitions debuted this month, opening on Sept. 7. The exhibitions feature works by Gordon Parks and Doug Barrett. A third exhibition, a video installation titled 45 Paleolithic Handaxes, opens on Sept. 21. A fourth exhibition of paintings by John Steuart Curry opened recently as well.

“It’s an exciting time for the museum as we will celebrate our 25th anniversary during the 2021-2022 season with a truly unprecedented lineup of exhibitions and programs,” Duke said.

Gordon Parks, Doug Barrett Exhibitions

Gordon Parks and Doug Barrett, both Kansas photographers, have their works displayed in partner exhibitions.

The Gordon Parks exhibition features photographs he donated to Kansas State in 1973, along with photographs relating to two visits he made to Manhattan.

“The images, representing the broad sweep of Parks’ career, constitute a kind of self-portrait aimed at the home crowd,” Aileen June Wang, museum curator, said. Wang co-curated the exhibition alongside Sarah Price, the museum’s collection manager.

Barrett is a Manhattan-based artist, and his solo exhibition presents photographs from three series: “Homeless Veteran Project,” “Yuma Street” and “George Floyd Protest.”

“Barrett invested considerable time and energy embedding himself in his subjects’ lives and getting to know them, just as his hero Gordon Parks did,” Wang, who also curated this exhibition, said. “Barrett also followed Parks’ example of telling a story through a combination of texts and images.”

John Steuart Curry Exhibition

The museum features several of Curry’s paintings, prints, drawings and book illustrations. John Curry, born in 1897, grew up in Jefferson County, Kansas. Even after leaving the state, he continued portraying scenes of Kansas through his artwork. In 1996, the Beach Museum purchased “Sunrise over Kansas” from the Curry’s second wife.

“Because of distracting discoloration of the sun — caused by Curry’s mid-1930s experiments mixing natural resins and oil-based materials — the painting has not been on display for many years,” Elizabeth Seaton, museum curator, said. “Art conservator Kenneth Bé of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center in Omaha has treated the painting to help bring back a sense of its sun’s intended impact.”

The museum will continue following K-State’s COVID-19 guidelines for health and safety. Masks are required at this time. The museum offers free admission and parking for all, with regular hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The museum is closed on Sunday, Monday and holidays.

More information about the museum, exhibitions and upcoming events is on the Beach Museum website.