Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Day at the Beach . . .

 . . . the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, that is.  

Amanda and I are planning a number of Mother/Daughter days over the summer and "Art Day" was our first adventure.  This was not our first visit to the Beach Museum, on the campus of Kansas State University, but of course the exhibits change so there's always something new to see.  The current exhibit - "Earthworks" - "explores the many facets of the Earth as seen through the eyes of artists in the permanent collection."  Two of my personal favorites were:
Autumn Storm by Robert Newton Sudlow
Regiones Botanicas de la Tierra: Antilles No. 2
by Susan Davidoff
 The highlight of our tour was the James McNeill Whistler (yes, THAT Whistler) exhibit:  An American in Venice. "This exhibition presents eleven of Whistler's Venice works [etchings] alongside prints by other artists who worked in Italy during the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries".
The Garden by James McNeill Whistler
The third exhibit was "Museum of Wonder" - "an eclectic mix of objects representing K-State's past, present, and future."  Amanda thought it was so named because it makes you "wonder" why they are on display.  Without a tour guide or signage to explain the exhibits, it did appear a bit random, but there were some interesting items, such as vintage clothing from the Textile Dept. 

 After the museum, we stopped by the Student Union for a joint lesson in art and pop culture - a display of clown paintings by actor/comedian Red Skelton - yes, clown paintings.  Mr. Skelton visited KSU in 1977 and, while there, signed and donated some of his paintings which have been on display since.  We have seen them in passing before.  We got a puzzled reaction when, after we couldn't locate the paintings, we asked a young man working there.  He had never heard of the paintings (or Red Skelton) and referred us to the Union Director, Bill Smriga, who solved the mystery of the missing paintings.  Seems they had Mr. Skelton's generous donation appraised recently and found out they have no value beyond the curiosity of being painted by a celebrity.  So, they have been moved to storage to make way for a display in honor of KSU's 150th anniversary. The intention is to create a new spot to display one or two of the clowns.   Mr. Smriga was pleased, if a bit surprised, that we remembered the paintings (or cared) and said it was a good reminder that he needs to get that project underway.

All that museum browsing left us hungry and thirsty so we ended the day by enjoying "Wine Wednesday" on the patio at Colbert Hills Golf Course, and enjoying a little of God's artwork (not to mention an incredible meal).


  1. Sounds like a great outing! If Amanda is right, a lot of museum or art gallery exhibits should include the word "wonder". I often wonder why certain things are on display.

    I would have loved to see the paintings by Red Skelton. Too bad they were in storage.

  2. What a great mother/daughter idea - and beautiful museum as well as club!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Yes, I do indeed remeber Red Skelton, especially CLem Kadiddlehopper. It was so humbl the way he ended his shows with "And may God bless...".
    I must also admit to my ignorance and confusion at your post about the Beach museum. I saw the sand dune painting and Kansas location and did a double take. Isn't Kansas in the middle of the country away from beaches? Duh, I then caught on it was named after someone. Duh.