Modern & Contemporary Art Collection

The modern and contemporary art collection surveys European art from 1900 to the present and American Art from 1945 to the present. It is comprised of paintings, sculptures and drawings, many of which are displayed along with works of decorative art, within approximately 23,000 square feet of gallery space in the Nelson-Atkins and Bloch Buildings.

Nelson-Atkins Building
The art of Expressionist, Fauve, Cubist, Bauhaus, Dada and Surrealist artists working between 1900 and 1945 is presented in the Nelson-Atkins Building. During these tumultuous years of the early 20th century, the forms and meanings of art were in constant flux. Highlights from this defining period of Modernism include outstanding works by Emil Nolde, Kees van Dongen, Juan Gris, Constantin Brancusi, Wassily Kandinsky, Giorgio de Chirico, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Kay Sage and Alexander Calder.

Bloch Building
The Museum’s highly respected post-1945 collection is presented in the new Bloch Building. Abstract Expressionist art, with its tragic, timeless and archetypal themes; Realist art, with its profoundly human desire to document the visible  world; Pop Art, with its audacious elevation of popular culture to the realm of art; Minimalism, with its emphasis on systems and the materiality of the object; Conceptual Art, with its faith in the primacy of the idea; and a host of subsequent directions that ushered in a post-modern pluralism and global scope are all represented here.

Major contemporary works by Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, David Smith, Richard Diebenkorn, Richard Estes, Duane Hanson, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Bridget Riley, Martin Puryear, Deborah Butterfield, Elizabeth Murray, Kerry James Marshall, Alexander Ross and Anish Kapoor are on view.

Noguchi Sculpture Court
Seven sculptures by Isamu Noguchi are installed in the Noguchi Sculpture Court, a large, Zen-like space in the Bloch Building. Both the impact of the artist’s Japanese-American heritage and the influence of European Surrealism can be seen in this remarkable body of work. The Nelson-Atkins Museum exhibits the largest number of Noguchi sculptures in a public setting outside the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Museum in New York and Japan.

Project Space
Three contemporary exhibitions and new media installations are presented each year in the Project Space, located in the Bloch Building.


Since 1993, the Department has presented Electromediascope, an ongoing program that surveys contemporary experimental film, video and new media art.