WAM's 'Dialogue' is a Must-See

Mar 16, 2016

Jackson Pollock, Untitled, 1944. Ink on paper, 18 3/4 x 24 3/4 inches. Wichita Art Museum collection, gift of Louise and Bud Beren and Peter Beren
Credit courtesy of Wichita Art Museum

A new exhibition at the Wichita Art Museum called Dialogue: Drawings from the 20th Century is a must-see for several reasons.

Dialogue features drawings and intimate sketches from WAM's permanent collection by artists including Jackson Pollock, Thomas Hart Benton, Willem DeKooning, Joan Miro, Stuart Davis, and a personal favorite, Benny Andrews. I was awed by the importance of these works and proud that WAM owns them. Thomas Benton's "Young Black Boy," from 1925, is gorgeous and ablaze with ink, watercolor and graphite. It alone is worth the price of admission.

What truly stands out is that Dialogue also features the work of four Wichita artists: Kent Williams, James Ackerly Porter, Emily Brookover and Patrick Duegaw. I thought our local artist's work stands equal to, and in many cases surpasses, the quality of work by their more famous show mates. 

I congratulate Wichita Art Museum Director Patricia McDonnell, who has formed what is fast becoming a solid record of featuring Wichita artists. From last year's wonderful Abstract exhibition, which featured only Wichita artists, to sculptor Mike Miller's outdoor showing of his steel windmill and ice block wonder, and the ongoing "Art Chatter" series, where invited artists speak and show slides, McDonnell is boldly treading where past directors haven't.

McDonnell told me in a recent conversation that she has great respect and admiration for Wichita's artists and that she wants them reflected in what the Wichita Art Museum does. In a word, I must say: Bravo.