Creators of Nelson’s Electromediascope plan finale

Story provided by Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Patrick Clancy and Gwen Widmer brought the works of filmmakers, video artists and much more to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for two decades. Their final program will run in April. Photo credit Mark McDonald.

During the past two decades, Electromediascope has exhibited the works of more than 350 artists from 53 different countries of origin. The three-season, annual program featuring contemporary film, video, new media, sound and performance art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art will close its two-decade run with the final three-evening program at the museum on April 12, 19 and 26, appropriately titled The EndElectromediascope is co-curated by Patrick Clancy and Gwen Widmer.

“What was a pioneering field 20 years ago has become mainstream,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Director & CEO of theNelson-Atkins. “We’re proud of Kansas City and the Nelson-Atkins for being at the forefront thanks to Patrick and Gwen.”

Clancy and Widmer shared a vision for shaping the multi-media programs throughout the years.

“This was never meant to be about entertainment. This was always about art to us,” Clancy said. “Art can be very difficult. But the Kansas City audience has been entirely open to this. That’s really been great.”

When they began Electromediascope in 1993, the two hand-wrote letters to artists and eagerly waited for VHS cassettes to arrive in the mail. Now they zip off emails to Australia and Ukraine and download video from the internet with lightning speed.

“Communication was so much different then,” said Widmer. “And we’ve also seen tremendous shifts in terms of media, nationality and gender due to technical advancements and the Women’s Movement. Technology has increased our ability to be global.”

Electromediascope incorporated live events utilizing sound, electronic and digital media and interactive technologies in performance and expanded media formats in addition to more traditional film and video screenings that included discussions with the audience.

“Gwen and Pat have done masterful work crafting bold, innovative, diverse, eye-and-mind-opening electronic media programming at the Nelson-Atkins,” said Jan Schall, Sanders Sosland Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art. “Kansas City has profited greatly from their diligent research, inspired vision and brilliant insights. For this exciting 20-year collaboration, we thank them warmly.”

They both bring impressive resumes to the table. Widmer has her MFA in Art from the Art Institute of Chicago and has participated in numerous solo, invitational and competitive exhibitions as well as video and performance works. She has been an instructor at the Kansas City Art Institute and has written many books and articles. Clancy has an MFA in Painting from Yale University and is an artist, teacher, lecturer and writer. He is also retiring this spring from the Kansas City Art Institute, where he is a Professor and Chair of Photography and Digital Filmmaking.

Clancy and Widmer attempted to include not only filmmakers and video artists but also established contemporary artists well known in the art field working with film and video, such as Anri Sala, William Kentridge and Robin Rhode.

“It’s like a crossword puzzle, trying to fit all the films in, shaping a theme,” said Widmer. “The work really informs the theme, but we talk about it a lot and have very similar aesthetics, so we usually agree. We don’t always show work we ‘like’, rather we try to give an overview relative to the topic and the field.”


  • A retrospective publication chronicling the program’s history is sold at the museum store. For free tickets to the performances, call 816-751-1ART or go to

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