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Two exhibits at the Nerman


Two exhibits at the Nerman

Lazarus photo of flying canary

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The exhibition Don’t close these doors…” surveys a selection of works from the past decade for what will be a Kansas City homecoming for Chicago-based conceptual artist Jason Lazarus. It will open Friday, June 27, at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.

Also opening that evening at the Nerman will be “Night Pools,” Robert Bingaman’s new series of large paintings of glowing swimming pools hovering in fields of blackness.

A reception for the two artists will begin at 6 p.m. in the museum’s atrium. It will be followed by lectures from Lazarus and Bingaman at 7 p.m. in the Lazarus photo of above Freud's couchmuseum’s Hudson Auditorium. The reception and lectures are free and open to the public.

The earliest image in “Don’t close these doors unless you know what you’re doing” embodies straightforward image making, with a title that emphasizes a subjective encounter to a moment that seems simultaneously mundane and historic. Lazarus’ artistic development is traced forward through 12 photographic works that increasingly look to abstraction and literary methods (via titles or text) to challenge the frame of an image as a starting point – rather than an endpoint – in generating meaning.

In an adjacent gallery, Lazarus has installed an iteration of his ongoing archive project “T.H.T.K.” (2010 to present), an expansive collection of photographs and photo-ephemera submitted by the public in response to the artist’s prompt: “Do you have images too hard to keep?” Here, Lazarus acts as artist-archivist-curator, installing these submitted images without context, essentially refuting beginning-middle-end narratives. The installation asks viewers to consider their own interpretations on how the images resonate alone and among rhizomic groupings, which offer only fragmented views into the stories that charge each of the submissions.

Lazarus, born in Kansas City, Mo., in 1975, has a master’s of fine arts from Columbia College in Chicago. His work has been exhibited internationally and is in major collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Milwaukee Museum of Art. He is a co-founder and co-editor of “Chicago Artist Writers,” an online art criticism platform.

Robert Bingaman, “Pool 2,” 2014In Bingaman’s “Night Pools,” familiar backyard subjects are transformed into enigmatic and richly evocative images. Inspired by wistfully recalled childhood memories – as a child growing up in Wichita, Kan., Bingaman longed for a pool in his own backyard – and by the artist’s ongoing reverence for the middle-American landscape, the pictures are also impelled by an ambition to forge formally distinguished and deeply meaningful art from such everyday sources.

“With some kind of impossibly dark night as their visual exposition, my pools are singled out – alone on the stage,” Bingaman said.

“Lit from within, the prototypical swimming pool – nothing more than a volume or a series of planes – serves as a stage for the thoughts, memories and desires that brought me to obsess over its image in the first place. The pools I’ve painted are honest expressions of my lack of first-hand knowledge on the subject. Instead of patient studies of water, they are simplified projections of unfeasibly plasmatic night-lights, guiding old and coddled longings.”

Bingaman, born in 1981, has a master’s of fine arts from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. His work has appeared in numerous group exhibitions, including the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo., and the Red Eye Gallery in Los Angeles.

Both exhibits will be on view through Aug. 31.

The Nerman Museum is located on the Johnson County Community College campus. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays and all JCCC holidays. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, call the museum at 913-469-3000 or visit

Top image: Jason Lazarus, “Untitled,” 2011. Archival pigment print, 40 x 50” courtesy the artist and Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago.

Inset image, top: Jason Lazarus, “Above Sigmund Freud's couch,” 2008. Archival pigment print, 60 x 40” courtesy the artist and Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago.

Inset image, bottom: Robert Bingaman, “Pool 2,” 2014. Acrylic and oil on canvas, 54 x 96” courtesy the artist.