Kansas City: Little help?

I’m choking on childhood nostalgia, KCitians.

Does ANYBODY remember the mechanized dolls in the display windows at Harzfeld’s at Christmastime? And if you do, do you have a decent picture or, better yet, a line on where I can get one of those dolls or six?

There is a Harzfeld’s page and a Harzfeld’s blog, both created by historians with a book in the works, but neither has a search feature, and as far as I can tell, this is the only mention of the dolls:

A couple years ago a Dresden Doll (right), said to be from Harzfeld’s, was sold at a Kansas City area auction. This was a mechanical doll that may have been part of a Christmas window display.

(I want want want one of these dolls, even if I have to build one. I’m good at DIY! Promise!)

As an aside, I remember these chairs:

But a trip to the Harzfeld’s blog yielded something fabulous: Elle Decor featured an article on Kansas City (worth the read, even for non-Kansas Citians), and the picture gallery features the usual suspects, but gorgeous as always.

However, the ugly-ass addition to the Nelson-Atkins was extolled briefly:

“The marriage of the original neoclassical building and the stunning addition by architect Steven Holl . . . ”

I will not be happy until somebody takes a wrecking ball to that abomination. I would PAY MONEY to attend its destruction.

Kansas City: The Shuttlecocks

The New York Times reports that Coosje van Bruggen, the wife portion of the husband-and-wife sculpture team who designed them, died of breast cancer at age 66 (hat tip: Pitch).

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Okay, I’ll admit I didn’t like them at first, but they’ve grown on me. But! Don’t think the construction trailer Bloch Addition will grow on me in a similar fashion.

Godspeed, Artist.

(OH HO!!!! What’s this? Now 24 hours after I wrote the above post and slotted it for publication):

So Tony reports that the Star reports that the Nelson-Atkins is laying off 20-25 people because their endowment income is down (well, shit, everybody’s investments are down—wanna look at our 401(k) stats? I thought not).

No, really. It’s not that the endowment is down. For Pete’s sake, the thing got built during the effing Depression (well, like everything else in Kansas City). Your problem is your light bill, which you knew back in October, if not before. So gallery CEO Marc Wilson says to the Star, he says,

“These figures are impacted by museum attendance,” Wilson said. “The public is not responding to the expanded museum the way past indicators suggest.”

Gee, ya think?

SOLUTION! Tear it down. Then you could create jobs and your attendance would go back up again. After all, the people who love and adore the construction trailer Bloch Addition don’t actually live here.

Oh, and donate the materials to Habitat for Humanity. I love those people.

Kansas City: Nelson-Atkins’s $200M mistake

And it’s ugly, too.

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The Nelson-Atkins Gallery of Art is one Kansas City locale that plays a fairly significant role in The Proviso. I mean, the whole city is rather its own character (or at least, I tried to make it so), but this one spot, I think, plays the most parts other than “Chouteau” County and its pretty courthouse and The Country Club Plaza. It hosts a senatorial fundraising party, it’s where one of the female protagonists goes to meditate, and it’s the gallery chosen to premier a new painting by an infamous artist.

Anyhoo, I see on BlogKC that the gallery’s having to cut back like everybody else. Well, you see, the difference this time is because of that, uhm, $200M construction trailer brilliant Steven Holl masterpiece called the Bloch addition that they built next to the neoclassical structure.

Time called it the number one “(New and Upcoming) Architectural Marvels.”

Adding a new wing to a neoclassical museum, Holl devised a spectacular update on classicism: an irregular series of volumes that cascade down the museum’s lawn and glow from within. The effect against the nighttime sky is nothing short of magical.

If you say so, but I’m just an ignernt country rube who obviously doesn’t know brilliance, especially when it cost more than it was sposed to. And why are all the kudos about its brilliance coming from people who don’t live here?

(Poor Rodin. They displaced The Thinker.)

Now, three problems with this thing.

A. It’s ugly. Did I mention that yet?

B. It’s expensive to light (because, you see, its only marginally redeeming architectural feature can only be seen at night when it’s lit).

C. It’s the most inefficiently designed interior space I’ve ever seen.

So what is one of the things they’re having to cut? The hours and the lighting. And I’m telling you, folks, in the daytime, without the lighting, it looks like a construction trailer/storage shed.

Rozzelle Court Now, I’m not going to be one of those people who would start crying if they began to charge admission, because, well, it’s a very prestigious gallery in terms of its collection and yeah, I’ll pay to get in. And I know they’re not going to knock the damned thing down especially since they spent so much money on it.

But I just need to poke a stick and say, you spent a whole lot more money than you thought you would on something the citizenry doesn’t really like and now you can’t pay to make it do its featured thing that somewhat redeems it.

Enjoy. Or don’t. If you live here and you feel me, meet me in the Rozzelle court (closed Tuesdays now, remember!) and we’ll commiserate.