If the Nelson Atkins is a traditional, well put together museum, then the Kemper is its funky, weird little sister. Located within spitting distance of the larger, more robust institution, the Kemper is tucked back into a side street. A giant spider that will haunt your dreams welcomes you into the museum like a terrifying aunt beckoning you in for afternoon tea.
Once inside though, it’s a whole other world, the stark white walls showing off contemporary art and other works that leave you feeling amazed, confused and maybe a little of both. I hadn’t been to the Kemper in years and years, so it was all new to me. And maybe I looked a little lost, because as I wandered from room to room, a sweet old man followed me, whispering facts about the artists, their installations and random stuff that popped into his head.
Most of the time I was the only one (besides my geriatric tour guide) in the galleries, allowing me to take my sweet time at each painting, looking and looking and looking some more. The Nelson is so popular, sometimes its rooms can feel crowded there are so many people. The Kemper is like the loner kid sitting alone in the cafeteria, kinda weird from the outside, but awesome once you get to know her. Okay, maybe that was a projection from my high school career but whatever.