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Q&A with Hunt Slonem

Hunt Slonem in his studio

 

New York-based artist Hunt Slonem is prolific to say the least. His work is held in vaunted collections such as the Guggenheim and the Met. He paints every day, he collects antiques of all sorts, and he’s currently on a book tour, among other projects. The tour for Bunnies, his latest book focusing on his myriad paintings of these furry friends, will make a stop Sept. 12 at his Kansas City gallery, Weinberger Fine Art. The event kicks off an exhibition of Slonem’s work at Weinberger Fine Art that will run from Sept. 12 through Nov. 28. We caught Slonem on the go between book signings to talk about his upcoming K.C. visit, his various artistic pursuits—and some small animals, of course.

Spaces: You have a long history with Kansas City. Tell us about it.

Hunt Slonem: I first came there with the Myra Morgan Gallery. I showed with Dennis Morgan after Myra died. I’ve been showing with Kim Weinberger as long as she’s been in business. I’ve had at least six or seven shows with her. I was in the inaugural show at the Kemper [Museum of Modern Art]; they have one of my paintings. It’s been a long thread of activities.

Chinesis, oil on canvas
Chinesis, oil on canvas

S: What do you like about coming here?

HS: I collect antiques—especially antique frames. There’s one street in particular, 45th (and State Line Road) that has a great collection of shops. There are also other antique malls scattered around that I like to go to.

I have a lot of friends here, too, a lot of people that I have long relationships with.

S: What can collectors expect to see new in the show, besides your book?

HS: We will probably feature the rabbits. We have some in diamond dust, some metallic bunnies.

S: Most people are familiar with your paintings of birds and the extensive aviary you keep in your Manhattan studio. How did you get into the bunnies?

HS: I’ve actually been doing the bunnies since the ’70s; they just took off recently. I used to put them at the feet of the saint paintings [from the 1980s and early ’90s].

S: What else do you have on the horizon?

Double Bunny, oil on wood
Double Bunny, oil on wood

HS: I have two plantations in Louisiana, so I spend at least week a month there. I work on sculpture projects there. One was for Veterans Memorial Blvd. and Clearview Parkway [in New Orleans], which had to be hurricane proof. Another is for Kenner, La. It’s a butterfly.

My new book, Bunnies, is about to go into another printing. And I’m doing another book on homes and interiors.

I’m also coming out with a line of fabrics, wallpapers and rugs with Lee Jofa. We’ll have some bunny wallpaper. I have a line of scarves and tote bags coming out in December with Echo. There’s a long history of artists like Andy Warhol making products. I have shows planned to incorporate the new products. It’s really high-end, gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. I’m so excited about what we’ll be doing. It’ll be fabulous.

For more information on Slonem, including his Sept. 12 book signing and exhibition opening, go to weinbergerfineart.com.

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