ARRIVALSOctober 3, 2021 – January 23, 2022

Arrivals call forth origin stories. How did we get here? Where did we come from? Americans have remarkably varied stories to share, having come to call this country home in so many different ways: by conquest, displacement, colonialism, the slave trade, voluntary migration, and more. This exhibition focuses on a select series of arrival moments—Columbus, the Middle Passage, the Pilgrims, Ellis Island, the southern border today, among others—in order to look at how artists over time have explored some of the myths and narratives around what it means to be American.

ARRIVALS, guest curated by Heather Ewing, features more than 50 works spanning the 16th century to the present. Among the many artists represented in the exhibition are vanessa german, Titus Kaphar, Dorothea Lange, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Ben Shahn, Roger Shimomura, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Kara Walker. Their works offer a multiplicity of perspectives on signal moments of arrival, confronting ideas of belonging, othering, storytelling, the memory of ancestors, displacement, race, resilience and perseverance. They shed light on the different ways that the country has responded to societal change and changing demographics, and on the variety of strategies that artists have employed as they grapple with the myths and complexities of America’s most cherished ideals.

Press Kit

In the Learning Center

This fall, the Learning Center will feature original children’s picture book art that shares personal yet universal stories of immigration from around the globe. Told from the perspective of children and families, these stories give a voice to topics such as the struggle to belong in one’s new home and the ties that bind immigrants to their country and culture of origin. This hands-on, family-friendly space is open during regular Museum hours.



The Rothko RoomOctober 3, 2021 – January 23, 2022

Experience a single masterpiece in a room designed for individual reflection. Untitled (1948) is the fourth in an ongoing series of works by Mark Rothko presented by the KMA. Rothko envisioned the creation of spiritual single work “chapels” along the sides of highways throughout the country where weary travelers could stop and contemplate one of his paintings. This vision inspired the KMA’s The Rothko Room, which offers guests the opportunity to spiritually re-charge in the presence of a single masterpiece, as Rothko intended. 

The Rothko Room is made possible by Christopher Rothko with the support of Rochelle C. and Mark H. Rosenberg.


Norman Akers (Osage) (American), Alien Conquest, 2014, Lithograph, 20 5/8 x 15 inches (52.4 x 38.1 cm, Courtesy of the artist © Norman Akers.
vanessa german (American), 2 ships passing in the night, or i take my soul with me  everywhere i go, thank you, 2014, Mixed media assemblage, 47 x 27 x 12 inches (119.4 x 68.6 x 30.5 cm),Courtesy of the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art © vanessa german.
Annie Lopez (American), Show Me Your Papers and I’ll Show You Mine, 2012, Cyanotype prints on tamale wrapper paper, thread, cotton fabric, elastic, metal hooks, Bra 10 x 11 x 9 inches (25.4 x 27.9 x 22.9 cm), Panty 15 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 14 inches (39.4 x 41.9 x 35.6 cm), Courtesy of the artist © Annie Lopez.
Cannupa Hanska Luger (Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara/Lakota) (American), Regalia from Future Ancestral Technologies, 2020, Mixed media, Two at 70 inches (177.8 cm) high each, Courtesy of the artist © Cannupa Hanska Luger.
Titus Kaphar (American), Columbus Day Painting, 2014, Oil and mixed media on canvas, 67 3/4 x 90 3/4 x 4 inches (172.1 x 230.5 x 10.2 cm), The Heiskell Family Collection © Titus Kaphar.
Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1948, Oil on canvas, 54 1/8 x 38 3/8 inches, Collection of Christopher Rothko, ©1998 by Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko.


Ronald BladenOngoing

Ronald Bladen (1918–1988) was regarded as an artistic forerunner by Minimalists like Donald Judd, Sol Lewitt and Carl Andre. But in contrast to the matter-of-fact work of these artists, Bladen’s sculptures are charged with emotional power. Their themes include the force of gravity, the dynamism of planar surfaces, the impact of scale and confrontation with the viewer.

After a competition that included entries by Richard Serra and Claes Oldenburg among others, the important European collector and gallery director Alfred Schmela commissioned Bladen to create Flying Fortress to stand in front of the engineering school at the University of Düsseldorf. The project was cancelled after Schmela’s sudden death. Bladen wrote tellingly of Flying Fortress at the time of the commission, “The motivation of this form was to produce the illusion of a stationary object moving through space yet anchored to the earth. Not to give one that much time to dwell on it but more to feel as it rushes by. There is a front and a back and two sides but only one direction.
Host of the Ellipse is notable for the difference between its two elements. Both parts, executed in aluminum and painted semi-gloss black, comprise trapezoidal lower areas that have deep notches cut into them. From these trapezoids, blade-like arms extend, one vertically while the other projects horizontally. Bladen referred to them as “two dancers.” Indeed, the vertical and horizontal projections, like gestures into space, remind us that modern dance influenced Bladen’s sculptures throughout his career.

Watch and learn more about American painter and sculptor Ronald Bladen.

Image Credits:
Ronald Bladen, Flying Fortress (Mid Scale), 1974-1978, Painted aluminum, 90 x 264 x 12 inches, Edition 1 of 3, Courtesy of Loretta Howard Gallery, New York
Ronald Bladen, Host of the Ellipse (Mid Scale), 1981, Painted aluminum, 85 x 118 x 52 inches, Edition 1 of 3, Courtesy of Loretta Howard Gallery, New York