High Museum of Art to Transform Piazza in Summer 2014 with Interactive Design Installation
Museum invites community to engage with site-specific work on Woodruff Arts Center campus
ATLANTA, April 24, 2014 – This summer, the High Museum of Art will unveil a large-scale, interactive design installation by contemporary Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena on the Woodruff Arts Center’s Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza. The site-specific work will launch a two-year initiative to activate the outdoor space.
On view July 18 through Nov. 2, 2014, “Mi Casa, Your Casa” will invite the city to participate in the life of the entire campus of the Woodruff Arts Center (of which the Museum is a division), through recreation, social interaction, performances, art-making activities, and special events co-organized with local partner institutions.
As a blank canvas for community engagement and programming, “Mi Casa, Your Casa” draws its inspiration from a basic form recognizable and relatable to all—the home.
The project will feature more than 35 three-dimensional, open frames in the shape of a house installed throughout the Piazza and around the Woodruff Arts Center campus, both in clusters and as singular forms. The vibrant red 8 x 8 x 10.5-foot steel frames will be installed in two different patterns: one through the summer season to coincide with the High’s major exhibition “Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas,” and another in the fall for the opening of the Alliance Theatre and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra seasons.
Co-curated by the High’s Curator of Decorative Arts and Design Sarah Schleuning and Eleanor McDonald Storza Director of Education Virginia Shearer, this innovative project will explore how engagement with art and design can extended beyond the museum’s walls through these dynamic structures, enlivened by a variety of programs, art-making activities and other interactive features.
As part of its new Friday Night Lates series, the High will present evening programs featuring rotating artistic pairings and collaborations, live music, and other performances, which will take place both inside the Museum and on the Piazza. Swings, easels, bins of chalk, and buckets of bubble water, among other elements, will offer daytime leisure and recreation options.
Throughout the project’s duration, the High will also collaborate with artists and performers across the Atlanta arts spectrum, from colleagues at the Museum’s sister divisions (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Arts for Learning) to Atlanta arts groups beyond the Woodruff Arts Center, including CORE Performance Company, gloATL, Instituto de México, The Object Group, Sonic Generator, T. Lang Dance Company, Théâtre du Rêve, Wabi Sabi and WonderRoot. The High’s staff will work closely with these institutional partners to launch a dynamic programmatic vision.
“The goal of this project is to bring our outdoor space to life with art,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. director of the High. “Artistic engagement and enjoyment begin as soon as visitors set foot on the Woodruff Arts Center campus, not just when entering its buildings. We can hardly wait to share the amazing design created by our friends Héctor and Ignacio and to foster unique and original collaborations with community partners that will allow our visitors to experience some of Atlanta’s most compelling artists working together in exciting new combinations. Bringing our partners and our community together to explore new territory and branch out in fresh, unexpected directions is a thrilling opportunity to turn the museum experience inside out.”
The “Mi Casa, Your Casa” initiative builds on a partnership the High established in 2013 with Esrawe and Cadena. For the 2013 exhibition “Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics, and Painting,” the High commissioned the design team to create two dynamic, contemporary reading rooms within the exhibition. Based on visitor reactions to those installations, the High commissioned the designers to create a new intervention for its Piazza space, which resulted in their creation of “Mi Casa, Your Casa.”
“We want to create a space that makes visitors proud of who they are and where they live, that allows them to feel a sense of belonging,” said Esrawe. “We want people to say, ‘This is my city, my home.’”
In addition to “Mi Casa, Your Casa,” the High has commissioned Esrawe and Cadena to design a second intervention for the Piazza for the summer of 2015, which will be inspired by the public’s interaction with this year’s project. After these initial two years, the High and the Woodruff Arts Center will explore other potential activation projects for the outdoor space.
For more information and an evolving schedule of programs and performances, please visit www.High.org.
About the Designers
Two of the leading designers in Mexico today, Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena currently serve as designers-in-residence for the High. Over five years ago, they established their interdisciplinary design firm E+C. Esrawe is an award-winning industrial designer as well as a celebrated furniture, interior and product designer. Inspired by traditional Latin American design, architecture and folk art, Esrawe’s works are playful, sometimes humorous, and organic. Winner of the Bienal Iberoamericana de Diseño (2010) in the Interior Design Spaces category, Esrawe designed glassware for Nouvel Studio, with products available at Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Walker Art Center. Like Esrawe, Cadena also is creative director of his own firm, Cadena+Asoc. Branding. Cadena’s collaborative designs explore the boundaries between art and science. Cadena has said of design that it “is not a luxury anymore, it is a necessity. Everything around us is design and should revolve around the direct and aesthetic benefit of humans and planet earth.” To this end, his designs focus on visual concepts influenced by the world around us.
The High Museum of Art
The High is the leading art museum in the Southeastern U.S. With more than 14,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography, folk art and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists. For more information visit high.org.
The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines four visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Arts for Learning. To learn more visit www.woodruffcenter.org.
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