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News Room

High Museum of Art to Unveil Reinstalled Collection Galleries on October 14

September 12, 2018

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New presentations feature important recent acquisitions, iconic masterworks, and artworks never before displayed at the High

Redesigned Greene Family Learning Gallery will also debut

ATLANTA, Sept. 12, 2018 – Atlantans are invited to join the High Museum of Art for the unveiling of its newly reinstalled collection galleries and redesigned Greene Family Learning Gallery at a community open house on Oct. 14, 2018, during the Museum’s free Second Sunday event. The renovations, which began last April, mark the first comprehensive revision of the gallery spaces since the High’s transformative expansion in 2005.

The reinstallation covers all seven of the High’s curatorial departments and highlights the collection’s growth since 2005 and key strengths while creating dynamic and engaging experiences for visitors and improving accessibility throughout the High’s facilities. The Museum is working with internationally renowned architectural firm Selldorf Architects to complete all aspects of collection gallery design and renovation. Concurrent with the collection reinstallation, the Museum is doubling the footprint and completing a total redesign of the Greene Family Learning Gallery in collaboration with Roto design firm.

Prior to the public unveiling on Oct. 14, the High will host a Gala to celebrate the opening with gallery tours, dinner and dancing on Saturday, Oct. 13.

“We are thrilled to complete this project and debut the reimagined galleries. We cannot wait for our audiences to experience the High in a whole new way,” said Rand Suffolk, the Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “As the Atlanta community and the Southeast have grown and changed in the years since the Museum’s expansion, so has our collection. Our new galleries recognize and reflect those changes and celebrate the diverse artistic achievements represented in our holdings, drawn from across the region and well beyond.”

Since the Museum’s expansion opened in 2005, the High has added more than 6,500 artworks to its collection, which now totals more than 17,000 objects. The reinstallation features iconic masterworks and presents recent acquisitions across departments, including artworks never on view before at the High, such as Kara Walker’s monumental cut-paper installation “The Jubilant Martyrs of Obsolescence and Ruin” and paintings and sculptures from the 2017 Souls Grown Deep Foundation acquisition of folk and self-taught art.

“A museum collection is dynamic — always growing and evolving — so this opportunity has allowed us to thoughtfully revisit our existing presentations and reinstall the artworks in ways that resonate anew with our audiences. Importantly, the reinstallation highlights the strengths of our collection and makes connections between our curatorial departments while also addressing much-needed updates to ensure our visitors have more engaging, meaningful and memorable experiences in the galleries,” said Kevin W. Tucker, the High’s chief curator. “From design to interpretation, these new presentations embrace equity, diversity and approachability throughout.”

The new gallery organization combines interlinked chronological, stylistic and thematic constructs with dedicated spaces to explore connections across multiple genres or, alternately, to highlight distinctive, concentrated strengths within the collection.

The interpretation of the collection has been guided by the Museum’s commitment to displaying artwork of extraordinary quality as well as ideas and narratives that exemplify the Museum’s dedication to diversity and inclusivity and to reflecting communities from Atlanta and beyond in its collection presentations. In addition to featuring key holdings by artists of color and women artists, the galleries incorporate selections from the High’s unparalleled holdings of works related to the southeastern United States, from historical decorative arts and folk and self-taught art to civil rights photography.

The reinstallation changes include new interpretive elements, including didactic labels written to resonate with diverse contemporary audiences. As the Museum observes and learns from visitor reactions, it will expand its interpretation program in future phases to adapt to the evolving needs of the public. To further enhance the visitor experience, the High also is adding “pause” spaces throughout the collection galleries with seating to encourage reflection, conversation and interaction.


Stent Family Wing Improvements, Changes and Presentations

Opened to worldwide acclaim in 1983, the Richard Meier–designed Stent Family Wing is a 135,000-square-foot facility featuring the glass-ceilinged Robinson Atrium and three floors of gallery space.

To allow for maximum flexibility and an engaging patron experience, the Stent Family Wing designs include revised wall configurations that create new pathways to improve sight lines and traffic flow. An upgraded lighting mitigation system is being introduced to better protect light-sensitive artworks.

Robinson Atrium — Stent Family Wing Lobby Level

For the 10th anniversary of the Stent Family Wing in 1993, the High commissioned renowned Minimalist Sol LeWitt to create a site-specific work, “Wall Drawing #729 Irregular Color Bands.” The colorful work, featuring a radiating star-like pattern, covered the six floating walls on the northern side of the Robinson Atrium and rose over 60 feet to the fourth floor. This work remained installed until 2003, and it will now return for the reinstallation.

Stent Family Wing Second Level — European Art and New Special Exhibition Gallery
On the Stent Family Wing second level, the High will continue to present works from its European art collection, which features paintings, sculptures and works on paper that span the 1300s through the mid-20th century and include important holdings by 19th- and 20th-century artists Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Émile Bernard and others. Highlights will include:

  • The Kress Collection of European paintings and sculptures dating from the 14th through 18th centuries
  • The Stein Collection of French sculptures and works on paper dating from the 18th and 19th centuries
  • European ceramics, including the High’s outstanding Frances and Emory Cocke Collection and Marjorie Eichenlaub West Collection
  • A gallery for changing displays of works on paper, with drawings and prints by Edgar Degas in its inaugural rotation
  • An installation of “Americans in Europe,” featuring paintings by 19th-century American artists who studied in Europen, including Robert Duncanson, Harriet Hosmer and others

The Museum will introduce a new special exhibition space on the Stent Wing second level, which will feature a rotating schedule of exhibitions that highlight various aspects of the collection. The first exhibition in this new gallery, “Hand to Hand: Southern Craft of the 19th Century,” will focus on a selection of masterworks from the High’s holdings of Southern decorative arts to examine the great achievements in traditional, rural forms of quilts, ceramics, basketry and furniture.

Stent Family Wing Third Level — American Art and Decorative Arts

The Stent Family Wing third-level galleries will feature artworks drawn from the High’s significant holdings of American fine arts and historical American decorative arts, with pieces dating from 1640 through the late 20th century. Highlights will include:

  • Genre, portrait and landscape paintings and sculptures by artists including Edmonia Lewis, Mary Cassatt, Martin Johnson Heade, Henry Ossawa Tanner and John Singer Sargent
  • A selection of recently acquired portraits by Henry Inman of Native American tribal leaders, including some from tribes originating in the American South
  • Selections from the renowned Virginia Carroll Crawford Collection—the most comprehensive survey of 19th- and early 20th-century American decorative arts in the southeastern United States—with works by Alexander Roux, Herter Brothers, Tiffany & Co. and Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Representations of the American experience within international art and design of the early 20th century, including modernist works by Paul Frankl, Walter Dorwin Teague, Donald Deskey and Viktor Schreckengost, among others.

Stent Family Wing Skyway Level African Art, Folk and Self-Taught Art and Modern and Contemporary Art

The top floor of the Stent Family Wing, known as the skyway level, will feature works from the High’s African art, folk and self-taught art and modern and contemporary art departments. Shared galleries will emphasize the strong connections among those departments and highlight key holdings by contemporary artists of each genre.

Begun in 1953, the African art collection includes a diversity of art forms dating from prehistory to the present, with extraordinary examples of masks and figurative sculptures enriched by textiles, beadwork, metalwork, ceramics, ancient terracottas and contemporary art. Highlights include:

  • African artworks in conversation with contemporary art and American folk and self-taught art
  • Important works from a recent gift by New York collectors Sam and Gabrielle Lurie, including a royal mask from Cameroon and an exceptionally fine kente cloth from the Asante region of Ghana
  • A presentation focused on masquerade, music and performance
  • Key works will include:
    • An ancient terra-cotta sculpture (ca. 13th-16th century) from the region of the ancient city of Djenné that depicts Sogolon, mother of Sundiata Keita, the founder of the Mali Empire (ca.1217–1255 CE)
    • Nandipha Mntambo’s “Minotaurus” (2015)
    • Works by El Anatsui, Radcliffe Bailey and Fahamu Pecou and other examples of African and international contemporary art

Established in 1994, the High’s folk and self-taught art department holds one of the most significant public collections of American self-taught art in the world. Highlights will include:

  • Recently acquired works by Southern African-American artists from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, all of which will be on view for the first time at the High
  • New monographic presentations drawn from the High’s large collections of works by Georgia artists Howard Finster and Nellie Mae Rowe
  • Textiles representing the aesthetic breakthroughs of 20th-century African American artists, including the Gee’s Bend quilters
  • A gallery that draws connections between works by Southern self-taught artists and the High’s unparalleled collection of civil rights photography
  • Key works will include:
    • Works spanning the career of Thornton Dial, Sr., including “Turkey Tower” (1980s) and “Surviving the Frost” (2007)
    • The important Henry Church sculpture “A Friend in Need Is a Friend Indeed” (1888), purchased for the High by the Forward Arts Foundation
    • Several drawings by Bill Traylor, William Edmondson’s “Nurse” and Mattie Lou O’Kelley’s “Spring Vegetable Scene,” which represent key milestones in the High’s collecting history


Wieland Pavilion
Improvements, Changes and Presentations

The 103,000-square-foot Wieland Pavilion, which opened in 2005 as part of the High’s Renzo Piano–designed expansion, features the Margaretta Taylor Lobby and three floors of gallery space. The Cousins Special Exhibition Galleries are located on the second level, and the skyway and lower level are dedicated to collection installations. The reinstallation will include new gallery configurations throughout as well as exhibition casework on the skyway level and enhancements to light abatement on the lower level.

Wieland Pavilion Skyway Level — Modern and Contemporary Art and Contemporary Design

The Wieland Pavilion skyway level will continue to feature the High’s collection of modern and contemporary art, which encompasses the history of art since 1945 and comprises nearly 3,000 works by artists across generations who represent cultural and geographic diversity in the collection. Works by self-taught artists will be included in these galleries to underscore their important place within contemporary art. These galleries will also feature key holdings from the High’s significant international contemporary design collection. Highlights will include:

  • Galleries arranged around aspects of history and its resonance in the present, with themes including civil and human rights, geopolitical conflict, identity and social change
  • Presentations of Minimalist and abstract works representing a rejection of the past within visual culture and a reimagining of possible futures
  • Key works will include:
    • Kara Walker’s 60-foot-wide cut-paper work “The Jubilant Martyrs of Obsolescence and Ruin” (2015), acquired in 2017
    • Anish Kapoor’s “Untitled” (2010), an audience favorite
    • Newly restored works including Jonathan Lasker’s “The Value of Pictures” (1993) and Michael Heizer’s “Eight Part Circle” (1976), which has never been shown at the High
    • Large-scale paintings and sculptural installations by Alabama-born artist Thornton Dial
    • Works by Georgia artists including Benny Andrews, Beverly Buchanan, Radcliffe Bailey, Donald Locke and Medford Johnston
    • Works that have been long off view by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lynda Benglis, Glenn Ligon, Adrian Piper, Robert Rauschenberg and Alan Uglow
    • Contemporary design objects including jewelry, fashion, ceramics, furniture and other media by Iris van Herpen, Joris Laarman, Tejo Remy, Zaha Hadid and others

Wieland Pavilion Lower Level Photography and Works on Paper
Following updates to the Wieland Pavilion’s lower level, it will serve as the primary location for presenting light-sensitive works in the High’s collection, including photographs and works on paper.

This new location for the Lucinda Weil Bunnen Gallery for Photography provides a new suite of galleries to present rotating exhibitions from the Museum’s collection of more than 7,000 works. The High’s photography department is one of the nation’s leading programs, with holdings that span the history of the medium from the 1840s to the present. The collection has particular strengths in American and European modernist traditions, photographs of the American South as well as documentary and contemporary photography. The department also holds one of the largest collections of photographs of the civil rights movement.

The first exhibition in the new photography gallery, “Look Again: 45 Years of Collecting Photography,” will present some of the most iconic and important works as well as hidden gems from the High’s photography collection, including:

  • Julia Margaret Cameron, “Mrs. Ewan Hay Cameron” (1870)
  • Edward Weston, “Palma Cuernavaca II” (1925)
  • Diane Arbus, “A Young Man in Curlers” (1966)
  • William Eggleston, “Halloween, Outskirts of Morton, Mississippi” (1971)
  • Nan Goldin, “Cookie at Tin Pan Alley, NYC, 1983” (1983)
  • Hiroshi Sugimoto, “Lightning Fields, 182” (2009)

Presentations in the adjacent Works on Paper gallery will rotate to highlight important holdings from various curatorial departments. The first exhibition in this gallery will be “William Christenberry: Time & Texture,” featuring more than 100 photographs drawn from the High’s deep holdings of work by the pioneering Southern photographer.


Anne Cox Chambers Wing Improvements, Changes and Presentations

The 19,000-square-foot Renzo Piano–designed Anne Cox Chambers Wing features a glass-enclosed lobby level and two additional floors of gallery space. The lobby and second levels will remain special exhibition spaces. The skyway level (top floor) will feature exclusively modern and contemporary art works following the reinstallation. The Anne Cox Chambers Wing skyway level galleries connect to the modern and contemporary galleries in the Wieland Pavilion to create a continuous collection presentation from building to building.

Anne Cox Chambers Wing Skyway Level — Modern and Contemporary Art and New Media

A space located on the Anne Cox Chambers Wing skyway level will be dedicated to video and new media for the presentation of recent acquisitions such as “Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death” (2016) by award-winning artist and cinematographer Arthur Jafa, which will be the first work shown in the new media space. Works by Nick Cave, Hyon Gyon, Rhona Pondick, Stewart Uoo, and Jaye Rhee that explore the intersections of textile and fiber with diverse artistic practices from painting to performance will also be on view on the Anne Cox Chambers Wing skyway level.


The New Greene Family Learning Gallery

In October 1968, the High introduced its first dedicated space for families to learn, play and explore. Since then, the Museum’s family spaces have taken on many forms and incited the curiosity of millions of young visitors. To mark the 50th anniversary of its commitment to family spaces, the High will debut a total redesign of its Greene Family Learning Gallery with all-new interactive environments created in collaboration with Roto design firm.

Located adjacent to the Robinson Atrium in the Stent Family Wing, the Greene Family Learning Gallery is expanding to include a 2,000-square-foot space across the hall from its current footprint.

The High’s education department worked with Roto to design the Gallery’s two distinct spaces based on a set of guiding goals informed by years of visitor observation, community expert input and research. Each space will be a welcoming, safe and fun environment that is child-centered and child-directed with age-appropriate activities for infants through age 8. The open-ended, intuitive, multi-sensory elements, designed to be inclusive, combine cutting-edge technology with hands-on activities.

The existing Greene Family Learning Gallery space will become “CREATE,” a bright and open studio devoted to developing young visitors’ art-making abilities and centered on the creative process. The newly created second space, “EXPERIENCE,” will be a deeply immersive gallery that enables visitors to explore what art means, how it feels and where it can take us.  Each gallery space will feature a “quiet room” with activities designed for reflection as well as an area specifically for toddlers.


Related Publication
In conjunction with the reinstallation, the High will publish a full-color, 144-page catalogue highlighting iconic works within each of the Museum’s seven collecting areas.

Reinstallation Support
The reinstallation of the permanent collection is made possible by CIBC Private Wealth Management, The Sara Giles Moore Foundation, Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot, and Mark and Judith Taylor; Platinum Supporters Robin and Hilton Howell, Harriet Warren, and Anonymous. Additional support provided by Christie’s and UPS.


About the High Museum of Art

Located in the heart of Atlanta, Ga., the High Museum of Art connects with audiences from across the Southeast and around the world through its distinguished collection, dynamic schedule of special exhibitions, and engaging community-focused programs. Housed within facilities designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano, the High features a collection of more than 17,000 works of art, including an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self-taught work, especially that of artists from the American South; burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, new media and design; a growing collection of African art, with work dating from pre-history through the present; and significant holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to reflecting the diversity of its communities and offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. For more information about the High, visit www.high.org.

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Media contact:

Marci Tate Davis
Manager of Public Relations
404-733-4585
marci.davis@high.org