Sunday, August 5, 2012


We made an extended pit stop in Kansas City. This allowed us to the visit the home and studio of the artist Thomas Hart Benton. A figure I love despite the fact that he isn't the greatest painter. He was a great illustrator for his time, and his murals still have an allure. But he was ultimately on the wrong side of history. He was a teach and eventual friend of Jackson Pollock. He wrote off abstraction and eventually severed ties with the New York scene. They however came to define American art and his brand of mid-western realism has drifted into relative obscurity. Except in Kansas City where his studio was.

This is a great photographic portrait of Benton which now hangs in his house. It depicts him painting his own self-portrait in oil. It has a delightful mirroring effect.

Benton was only 5'3". A kind of Napolean of pre-war American art. This cut out is his actual height.

He died in his studio and it has been left mostly untouched since that day. It was very modest for the amazing amount of output he created. Including murals for many civic buildings around America. 

One of the largest collections of Benton's canvases is at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in KC. We also made a point to see that. But we were honestly more taken by their Asian art collection.

When in KC one also has to get BBQ. We went to Jack Stack for burnt ends. These are the cripsy bits from the edge of a brisket. Also a corn bake and some coleslaw in case you were wondering. We must admit though out heart is still with Whole Hog NC BBQ. This just isn't the same.
Our most interesting food stop in KC was Fluffy Fresh Donuts. A shop that sells out by 7am. We got there at 6:45 and they were almost cashed. But we still got ourselves a dozen. They were Kansas style which privileges a light dough with lots of air pockets as opposed to a dense cake donut you might get in the Northeast. Very good, but I still like a dense brick like hunk of fried dough.

But if you are up at 6 am in KC we would definitely recommend a visit.

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