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Golf Carts Become Art at the Nelson Atkins Museum

| Custom Carts, News | August 5, 2011

Nelson Atkins Museum Electric Golf Cart Art

The Nelson Atkins Museum's golf carts were transformed into works of art, one of which is now a birdcage

Artist Peregrine Honig has transformed two electric golf carts at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City to resemble a gilded bird cage and a chariot. “My goal is for people to see (each cart) as a sculpture,” Honig told The Kansas City Star.

The Nelson-Atkins covers almost 23 acres, with around 400,000 square feet of space in the Museum. The recenct Bloch Building expansion increased the Museum square footage by 71 percent, in order to provide new galleries and Museum support.

To make the museum more accessible for all, two electric golf carts were introduced to take museum-goers on two different routes inside the Museum. The two electric golf carts, were dubbed Shuttlecarts.

"To our knowledge, no other art museum offers this service," said Mark Zimmerman, Director of Administration. "These carts are all electric, so there will be no noise and no pollution. They were thoroughly tested for vibration, and meet rigorous environmental and conservation requirements."

The electric golf carts will be operated by trained drivers who will provide passengers with information about current and upcoming exhibitions.

"The idea was from the outset...that they become an art piece," director Julian Zugazagoitia said recently. "People have welcomed the (carts) and they do serve a good function. We now want to transform them into a work of art that both blends into and dynamizes the environment - a mobile work of art."

At Zugazagoitia's invitation, local artist Peregrine Honig has taken four months to transform the standard Club Car golf carts into mobile artworks, that are titled "Gilded Cage" and "Sweet Chariot.". "The Gilded Cage" will be used in the Nelson-Atkins Building and "Sweet Chariot" will serve the Bloch Building.

Honig started thinking about modifying the carts into "rococo birdcages, with people on display like exquisite creatures or exotic birds." To help bring her vision into reality, she enlisted the services of Bill Wenzel, owner of Wenzel Steel Works in Kansas City, Kan., and Asheer Akram, a local artist known for his work in cutout metal.

The four-seater golf cart is now enclosed by a 9-foot-tall gilded birdcage. The six-seater has been embellished with filigree surrounds and golden curtains on each side like an elaborate chariot. To complete the effect, Honig also designed special caps and Edwardian collars for the drivers to wear when the new carts are officially unveiled.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America's finest art museums. The Nelson-Atkins has a collection of more than 33,500 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and new American Indian and Egyptian galleries.

The Nelson will have a free unveiling ceremony for the electric golf carts on Aug. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Bloch Building lobby. The evening will include a cash bar, a free pink champagne toast and cupcakes, and a chance for riders to put the carts through their paces. The Nelson-Atkins is located at 45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO. Hours are Wednesday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursday/Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, Noon-5 p.m

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