Zigmunds Priede · Aggregates of Time

Selections from the Collection of Landon Kirchner and Barbara Smith | On view May 5 – Sep. 25, 2022, in the Kansas Focus Gallery

This exhibition presents the work of master printmaker and mixed media artist Zigmunds Priede. Priede, who was born in Latvia in 1935 and is currently based in Kansas City, is a beloved former JCCC faculty member whose students have had successful careers in the art world. After receiving his master’s degree in painting from the University of California at Berkeley, “Zig” moved to New York, where he worked alongside world-renowned artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Some of the most iconic prints of the 20th century were made by Priede, and he has been recognized for helping establish the renaissance of printmaking and its acceptance as an artform by contemporary painters in the New York art scene. Zigmunds Priede: Aggregates of Time marks the 60th anniversary of Priede’s move to New York to become a master printmaker at Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE).

Priede fled war-torn Latvia as a child with his mother and young sister, taking refuge first in West Germany before finally settling in Minnesota, where he would go on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and eventually join the fine arts faculty at the University of Minnesota. Priede’s career as an artist and educator ultimately brought him to Kansas City, where he met former JCCC administrators Landon Kirchner and Barbara Smith.

Aside from one major work from the Nerman Museum’s own collection, the prints in this exhibition are taken entirely from Kirchner and Smith’s personal collection. Kirchner is not only responsible for hiring Priede to teach at JCCC, but also for establishing the Campus Art Acquisition Committee at the College, on which Priede served. This exhibition highlights Priede’s contributions to the fine arts on the JCCC campus, the greater Kansas City arts community and the history of printmaking in this country.

Zigmunds Priede’s work is in numerous collections nationwide, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Hallmark Art Collection and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.

This exhibition is guest curated by Allison Smith, Ph.D., Professor, Art History, and Chair, Art History and Humanities, Johnson County Community College.