High Museum of Art Celebrates Expansion of African Art Galleries with Display of Recent Aquisitions
Ancient to contemporary works presented in 4,000-square-foot
Fred and Rita Richman Gallery
ATLANTA, June 11, 2014 – In celebration of its newly expanded Fred and Rita Richman Gallery for African Art, the High Museum of Art will showcase nearly 40 recent acquisitions of art from Africa to enter the permanent collection.
On view June 28, 2014 through May 31, 2015, “African Art: Building the Collection” marks the public opening of a significant expansion of the Museum’s galleries for African Art, a more than 60 percent increase in the dedicated space for art from the continent.
The expansion is the result of a generous pledge from Fred and Rita Richman, longtime patrons of African art at the High and for whom the gallery was named in 2005. Growing in size from 2,400 to 4,000 square feet, the gallery will now occupy almost half of the total square footage of the Lower Level of the High’s Wieland Pavilion.
“We are so incredibly grateful for the generosity and support Fred and Rita Richman have shown the High over the past 42 years,” said Carol Thompson, the Fred and Rita Richman curator of African art at the High. “With the expansion of the gallery, we are now able to share more works from our amazing permanent collection, including those in this exhibition, and I am thrilled for the opportunities the newly expanded gallery presents for the future of African art at the Museum.”
Featuring works from ancient to contemporary times and from disparate regions throughout the continent, all of which were acquired over the last nine years, “African Art: Building the Collection” provides important insights into African cultural heritage from the past to the present day. Presented together, this extraordinary group of objects represents a diverse range of artistic expressions from African nations including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, South Africa and South Sudan.
The High’s presentation juxtaposes works by unidentified artists from the distant past alongside well-known works of art by famous 20th-century artists such as Osei Bonsu, the Asante carver commissioned by African kings and American presidents. Ancient works include a large stone tool from what is now Niger; terracotta sculptures from the Sahel; and centuries-old royal arts from West African kingdoms, including an ivory rattle from Owo, a city famous for its ivory carvers.
Additional highlights include:
- A 19th-century, indigo-dyed robe from Nigeria made of handspun cotton
- A mid-20th century Cameroon headdress adorned with a multitude of red tail feathers from the African Grey Parrot
- A large, wooden ceremonial spoon from the Dan region of the Ivory Coast (20th century)
- A miniature portrait mask from the Ivory Coast made of gold, with a finely detailed, asymmetrical coiffure (ca. 1875-1925)
- “Bus Ride,” a large-scale paper construction by South African artist Kay Hassan (1996)
- “Swazi Holiday Inn,” a colorful painting by Derrick Nxumalo (1992)
- “Eshu,” a 1981 watercolor by the late American artist Terry Adkins that will be presented with two sculptures made to honor Eshu, the Yoruba “mediator” deity known for bringing together different worlds
Following “African Art: Building the Collection,” the 4,000-square-foot Fred and Rita Richman Gallery for African Art will feature a rotating schedule of special exhibitions and installations of works from the permanent collection. The expanded gallery will also host educational programs and tours.
About 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 Museum of Art 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 about the High, visit high.org.
About 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 about the Woodruff Arts Center, visit www.woodruffcenter.org.
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