The High Museum of Art today announced the appointment of Monica Obniski as its curator of decorative arts and design. Obniski currently serves as the Demmer curator of 20th- and 21st-century design at the Milwaukee Art Museum. She will join the High on March 16, 2020.
Obniski will oversee the decorative arts and design department, including related exhibitions and programs, as well as its collection of more than 2,300 objects dating from the 17th century to the present. These holdings include significant international contemporary design with works by Joris Laarman Lab, Jaime Hayon, Ron Arad and nendo, as well as the renowned Virginia Carroll Crawford Collection – the most comprehensive survey of 19th- and early 20th-century American decorative arts in the southeastern United States. Other significant works are represented in the Frances and Emory Cocke Collection of English ceramics, the Marjorie Eichenlaub West Collection of Meissen ceramics and the Museum’s extensive holdings of historical decorative arts from the southeastern United States. Obniski also will lead the High’s Piazza activations, a multiyear initiative that launched in 2014 to animate the Museum’s outdoor space with site-specific commissions that engage visitors of all ages in participatory art experiences.
“Monica is a forward-thinking curator with a proven track record of achievement organizing compelling exhibitions, creating new scholarship and building strong collections,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “These accomplishments, combined with her commitment to expanding the field and engaging diverse audiences, make her perfectly positioned to lead the continued growth of our decorative arts and design department.”
Added Kevin Tucker, the High’s chief curator, “We look forward to Monica joining the High’s team, knowing her efforts will enrich a program of true international significance and resonance with our region and communities. Considering the varied strengths of the Museum’s curatorial program, her collaborative nature, diverse expertise and interest in forging connections—including that between historical and contemporary design—makes her an exemplary choice for the position.”
Obniski earned a doctorate in art history, with specialization in architecture and design, from the University of Illinois at Chicago; a Master of Arts in history of decorative arts and design from the Bard Graduate Center; and a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University Chicago.
Beginning her career in the American wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Obniski then served in the American art department at the Art Institute of Chicago from 2007 to 2014, including four years as assistant curator of American decorative arts. There she collaborated on special exhibitions including “Art and Appetite” (2013) and “Apostles of Beauty” (2009), completed several gallery installations and continued to build the collection.
Obniski joined the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2015, where she oversees an expanding collection of historical and contemporary design and manages an active exhibition program, including “Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980,” organized with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which begins its international tour this year. Other notable exhibition projects include “Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America” (2018) with the Denver Art Museum and “Jaime Hayon: Technicolor” (2017-18), which originated at the High. She reinstalled the Milwaukee Art Museum’s modern and contemporary design galleries for its November 2015 reopening, with a presentation geared toward audience engagement through traditional methods and new technologies. She also stewarded important acquisitions to build the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection.
“Magnum is a community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on and a desire to transcribe it visually.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
This spring, the High Museum of Art will be the first-ever U.S. venue for Live Lab, a photography residency and related exhibition organized in collaboration with the international photographic cooperative Magnum Photos. Live Lab is designed to involve the community in the realization of a new body of photographs, which will be created over a two-week period in a “lab” at the Museum. The Atlanta project will feature American photographer Carolyn Drake and South African artists Lindokuhle Sobekwa and Mikhael Subotzky, whose projects all will explore themes relevant to the city.
The process begins with a two-week–long “photographic jam session” (March 16–27, 2020) during which the photographers will use the High as their base of operations. They will travel into the city and metro area to shoot photographs, which they will then edit, make and sequence on site at the Museum. To render their creative process transparent, the photographers will open their workspace (located in the lobby of the High’s Anne Cox Chambers Wing) to the public at select times. The residency will culminate in a pop-up exhibition of the photographers’ work, on view in the Chambers lobby from March 28 through April 19, 2020.
Magnum Photos has hosted Live Labs in cities around the world, including London; Paris; Shenzhen, China; Kyoto, Japan; and most recently, Moscow.
“We are honored that Magnum chose the High, and Atlanta, as its first U.S. host for Live Lab, and we are delighted to bring this project to the city,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “This collaboration is a testament to the strength of our photography department and our commitment to supporting the creation of new work and offering innovative ways for our audience to connect with their museum and the greater community. We can’t wait to see what the photographers create.”
To help the artists learn more about Atlanta, the High provided them with a brief on the city, which touched on topics including its history, economy and position as the crossroads of the new South. The photographers are now in the process of developing their projects’ focus and scope.
“We look forward to welcoming these incredible photographers to Atlanta and to lifting the veil on their creative process for our visitors,” said Gregory Harris, the High’s assistant curator of photography. “Ours is a vibrant yet complicated and ever-changing city. It will be thrilling to see Atlanta through the lenses of these artists.”
Carolyn Drake (born 1971) is a California native now based in the Bay Area. She studied media/culture and history in the 1990s at Brown University, where she became interested in approaches to documentary and the ways that history and reality are purposefully shaped and revised over time. She worked for multimedia companies in New York for many years but eventually left her office job to engage with the physical world through photography. Between 2007 and 2013, Drake traveled frequently to Central Asia from her base in Istanbul to work on two projects that became acclaimed photo books. “Two Rivers” explores the connections between ecology, culture and political power along the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. “Wild Pigeon” is an amalgam of photographs, drawings and embroideries she made in collaboration with Uyghur people in western China. Her latest book, “Knit Club,” will be published by TBW Books in the spring of 2020. Drake is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize, a World Press Photo award, a Magnum Emergency Fund grant and a Fulbright fellowship, among other awards. She became a Magnum nominee in 2015.
Lindokuhle Sobekwa (born 1995 in Katlehong, Johannesburg) came to photography in 2012 through his participation in the Of Soul and Joy Project, an educational program run in Thokoza, a township in southeastern Johannesburg. He went on to study with Bieke Depoorter, Cyprien Clément-Delmas, Thabiso Sekgala, Tjorven Bruyneel and Kutlwano Moagi. His early projects explore poverty and unemployment in the townships of South Africa as well as the growing nyaope drug crisis within them. His ongoing projects also address his own life—for example, his project “I Carry Her Photo with Me” examines his relationship with his sister, Ziyanda, who was estranged from her family when she died. In 2017, this project was selected by the Magnum Foundation’s Photography and Social Justice program for further development, and in 2018 Sobekwa received the Magnum Foundation Fund to continue his long–term project “Nyaope,” which has been selected for a residency at La Cité des Arts de la Réunion. Sobekwa became a Magnum nominee in 2018.
The international wine community is invited to “open the bottle and start something” at the 28th annual High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction, held March 18–21, 2020. More than 200 wineries and restaurants will come together to support the largest wine auction event in the United States benefiting the arts, boasting more than $32 million raised over the last 27 years.
Founded in 1993, the High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction is the largest fundraising event for the High Museum of Art. The Wine Auction is the top charity fundraising event in Atlanta and the number one charity wine auction benefiting the arts. Proceeds generated by the Auction, which have amounted to more than $32 million over the last 27 years, provide a significant source of funding for the Museum’s exhibitions and educational programs. Proceeds help to make possible special exhibitions and partnerships. The Auction also provides funds for dynamic youth education programs, which draw more than 65,000 schoolchildren to the High each year. For more information, visit www.highmuseumwine.org.
The Paddle Raise, celebrating 15 years in 2020, benefits the Museum’s Art Access program and has raised more than $1.6 million since its inception. These funds provide classroom resources to teachers and subsidized museum visits for more than 125,000 students of all ages each year.
“The Museum’s continued connection to our community and the diverse programming we offer our visitors would not be possible without the outstanding support we receive through the Wine Auction,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., Director of the High. “I am excited to celebrate another year of this remarkable event and recognize the extraordinary generosity of our donors.”
“The Wine Auction gets bigger and better every year with more vintners and wine connoisseurs joining us to enjoy an exceptional experience,” said Steven Hargrove, Associate Director, Wine Auction and Special Events. “We look forward to welcoming everyone to Atlanta for this year’s events.”
The 2020 Wine Auction is co-chaired by Aarati Alexander and Burch Hanson, who have participated in the event for nearly 20 years combined.
The Special Guest of Honor for the 2020 Wine Auction is Dr. Madaiah Revana, owner of the Revana Wine Portfolio. Revana’s experience with agriculture began on his family’s farm outside of Bangalore, India, and has grown into a passion for wine. This appreciation has allowed him to travel the world to seek out exceptional vineyards and distinctive wines. Revana now owns three wineries in the United States and internationally: Revana Winery in Napa Valley, Calif.; Alexana Winery in Willamette Valley, Ore.; and Corazon Del Sol in Mendoza, Argentina.
The 2020 Special Guest Chef is Vivian Howard, owner of Chef & the Farmer, Boiler Room and Benny’s Big Time in North Carolina as well as owner of Handy & Hot bakery delivery service and author of “Deep Run Roots” cookbook. Howard was recognized as the South’sBest Chef of 2019 by Southern Living.
It looks as if it will be another banner year of thought-provoking and wide-ranging exhibitions during the coming year at The Whitney Museum of American Art. (And one should not expect any less.) Announcing the schedule for 2020 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, noted: “In 2020 the Whitney will celebrate its ninetieth anniversary and fifth year downtown, so we’ve created a program that truly honors the spirit of artistic innovation both past and present. We remain focused on supporting emerging and mid-career artists, while finding fresh relevance in historical surveys from across the twentieth century. Also turning ninety, Jasper Johns closes out the year with an unprecedented retrospective that will reveal this American legend as never before to a new generation of audiences.”
February 17 the Museum opens Vida Americana: Mexican
Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945, a major
historical look at the transformative impact of Mexican artists on
the direction of American art from the mid-1920s until the end of
World War II. On October 28, in collaboration with thePhiladelphia Museum of Art,
a landmark retrospective of the work of Jasper Johns goes on
view simultaneously at both museums, paying tribute to the foremost
living American artist. In addition, the Whitney will devote
exhibitions to Julie Mehretu and Dawoud Bey, prominent
midcareer artists. The Mehretu exhibition, co-organized by the
Whitney with theLos Angeles
County Museum of Art, encompasses over two decades of the
artist’s work, presenting the most comprehensive overview of her
practice to date. In November, Dawoud Bey, one of the leading
photographers of his generation, will receive his first full-scale
retrospective, co-organized by the Whitney and the San
Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).
Museum will also present Agnes Pelton: Desert
Transcendentalist—organized by the Phoenix
Art Museum—the first exhibition of work by the visionary
symbolist in nearly a quarter century; and Working Together:
The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop, an unprecedented
exhibition organized by the Virginia
Museum of Fine Arts, which chronicles the formative years of
this collective of Black photographers who lived and worked in New
York City. The year will also bring a range of focused exhibitions
dedicated to emerging and midcareer artists, including Darren
Bader, Jill Mulleady, Cauleen Smith, and Salman Toor, as
well as Dave McKenzie and My Barbarian, who continue
the Whitney’s commitment to performance and its many forms.
September the Museum will also unveil David Hammons’s
monumental public art installation Day’s End on Gansevoort
Peninsula, across the street from the Whitney. The debut of
this public artwork will be preceded by an exhibition entitled Around
Day’s End: Downtown New York, 1970–1986, which will
present a selection of works from the Museum’s collection related
to the seminal work that inspired Hammons’s sculpture: Gordon
Matta-Clark’s Day’s End (1975).
EXHIBITIONS AND EVENTS
Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945”,
February 17–May 17, 2020
cultural renaissance that emerged in Mexico in 1920 at the end of
that country’s revolution dramatically changed art not just in
Mexico but also in the United States. With approximately 200 works by
sixty American and Mexican artists, Vida Americana reorients
art history, acknowledging the wide-ranging and profound influence of
Mexico’s three leading muralists—José Clemente Orozco, David
Alfaro Siqueiros, and Diego Rivera—on the style, subject
matter, and ideology of art in the United States made between 1925
and 1945. By presenting the art of the Mexican muralists alongside
that of their American contemporaries, the exhibition reveals the
seismic impact of Mexican art, particularly on those looking for
inspiration and models beyond European modernism and the School of
by both well-known and underrecognized American artists will be
exhibited, including Thomas Hart Benton, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron
Douglas, Marion Greenwood, Philip Guston, Eitarō Ishigaki, Jacob
Lawrence, Isamu Noguchi, Jackson Pollock, Ben Shahn, Thelma Johnson
Streat, Charles White, and Hale Woodruff. In addition to
Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros, other key Mexican artists in the
exhibition include Miguel Covarrubias, María Izquierdo, Frida
Kahlo, Mardonio Magaña, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, and Rufino
Organized by Barbara Haskell, curator, with Marcela Guerrero, assistant curator; Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant; and Alana Hernandez, former curatorial project assistant. (See previously-posted article here.)
Mehretu, June 26–September 20, 2020
This mid-career survey of Julie Mehretu (b. 1970; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), co-organized by The Whitney with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), covers over two decades of the artist’s career and presents the most comprehensive overview of her practice to date. Featuring approximately forty works on paper and more than thirty paintings dating from 1996 to today, the exhibition includes works ranging from her early focus on drawing and mapping to her more recent introduction of bold gestures, saturated color, and figuration. The exhibition will showcase her commitment to interrogating the histories of art, architecture, and past civilizations alongside themes of migration, revolution, climate change, and global capitalism in the contemporary moment. Julie Mehretu is on view at LACMA November 3, 2019–March 22, 2020, and following its presentation at the Whitney from June 26 through September 20, 2020, the exhibition will travel to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (October 24, 2020–January 31, 2021); and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (March 13–July 11, 2021).
Mehretu is curated by Christine Y. Kim, associate curator
in contemporary art at LACMA, and Rujeko Hockley, assistant
curator at the Whitney.
Johns, Opens October 28, 2020
Johns (b. 1930) is arguably the most influential living American
artist. Over the past sixty-five years, he has produced a radical and
varied body of work marked by constant reinvention. In an
unprecedented collaboration, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the
Whitney will stage a retrospective of Johns’s career simultaneously
across the two museums, featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings,
and prints, many shown publicly for the first time. Inspired by the
artist’s long-standing fascination with mirroring and doubles, the
two halves of the exhibition will act as reflections of one another,
spotlighting themes, methods, and images that echo across the two
venues. A visit to one museum or the other will provide a vivid
chronological survey; a visit to both will offer an innovative and
immersive exploration of the many phases, facets, and masterworks of
Johns’s still-evolving career.
High Museum of Art has been selected as a 2019 Bank of
America Art Conservation Project grant recipient for a project to
conserve artwork by renowned contemporary artist Thornton Dial
(American, 1928–2016). The High holds the largest public
collection of Dial’s work, including paintings and assemblages
spanning his entire 30-year career, which represents a cornerstone of
the Museum’s unparalleled folk and self-taught art department.
High is dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern
artists and is distinguished as the first general art museum in North
America to have a full-time curator devoted to folk and self-taught
art. The nucleus of the folk and self-taught art collection is the
T. Marshall Hahn Collection, donated in 1996, and Judith
Alexander’s gift of 130 works by Atlanta artist Nellie Mae
Rowe. The High’s folk and self-taught art department features
works by such renowned artists as Dial, Bill Traylor, Ulysses
Davis, Sam Doyle, William Hawkins, Mattie Lou O’Kelley and
Louis Monza as well as the largest collection of works by
Georgia’s Howard Finster outside of Paradise Garden
in Summerville, Georgia. The collection of more than 1,000 objects
also boasts superb examples by celebrated artists from beyond the
South, including Henry Darger, Martín Ramírez and Joseph
used a wide range of media, including metals, wood, textiles and
plastics. Due to the interactions between these materials, as well as
the fact that most are repurposed from previous use, his works
require analysis and treatment to improve their condition. In
addition, as a master of complexly layered surfaces, Dial created
works that are always in danger of loose parts.
the grant funds, the Museum will conduct a full assessment of these
works using analytical and imaging techniques to capture each work’s
intricacy and create a baseline understanding of Dial’s fabrication
practices and how his materials have deteriorated over time. The
groundbreaking conservation project, under the direction of Katherine
Jentleson, the High’s Merrie and Dan Boone curator of folk and
self-taught art, will focus on treating the Museum’s 10 most
complex Dial works, which span nearly two decades. Assessment will
begin in November 2019, and conservation will be completed by
High Museum of Art was one of the first museums to acquire
Dial’s art, beginning in the 1990s with mixed–media works,
including “Struggling Tiger Know His Way Out” (1991),
which is the earliest work being treated as part of this project. In
2017, the High received a stunning group of Dial’s assemblage
paintings as part of a major gift/purchase from the Souls Grown
Deep Foundation, including “Birmingham News” (1997)
and “Looking Out the Windows” (2002), which will also
undergo examination and treatment.
believe that Dial is one of the seminal and most defining artists of
the 20th century, and it is essential that we preserve his artworks
for future generations,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe
T. Greene, Jr., director of the High. “We are incredibly
grateful to Bank of America for selecting our conservation project
for this grant, which will allow us to give these works their due
attention and care.”
Art Conservation Project is a key element of Bank of America’s
program of arts support worldwide and part of the company’s
environmental, social and governance program.
more information, please visit the Art
Conservation Project website.
believe in the power of the arts to help economies thrive, and we are
proud to expand our partnership with the High Museum of Art,”
said Wendy Stewart, Atlanta market president, Bank of America.
addition to preserving Dial’s assemblages, the conservation project
will also provide the basis for important scholarship on his
materials and methods and will establish protocols for the
conservation of his work, and for that of the entire spectrum of
self-taught artists working in non-traditional mixed media.
many contemporary artists, Dial did not limit himself to traditional
materials,” said Jentleson. “I am thrilled that, through
Bank of America’s generosity, we will be able to serve Dial’s
tremendous legacy but also make discoveries that will inform
treatments of complex works by a varied array of artists, both
self-taught and trained.”
in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia, 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
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,
Debut of New Works by International Designers Ini Archibong, Matt Checkowski, Misha Kahn, the Ladd Brothers Laurie Haycock Makela, and Yuri Suzuki
speechless: different by design Opens at the Dallas Museum of Art in November 2019, Travels to the High Museum of Art in April 2020
The High Museum of Art (High) (Atlanta, Ga.) and the Dallas Museum of Art(DMA) (Dallas, Texas) announced the co-organization of speechless: different by design, an exhibition that merges research, aesthetics, and innovative new design to explore the vast spectrum of sensory experiences and new approaches to accessibility and modes of communication in the museum setting. Speechless will debut new work by six leading and emerging international designers and design teams—Ini Archibong, Matt Checkowski, Misha Kahn, Steven and William Ladd, Laurie Haycock Makela, and Yuri Suzuki—whose projects were informed by conversations with specialists from prominent academic and medical institutions. Their site-specific installations and new commissions will create participatory environments and distinct situations in which senses merge or are substituted for one another.
by Sarah Schleuning, The Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of
Decorative Arts and Design and Interim Chief Curator at the DMA,
speechless will open at the DMA on November 10, 2019,
and remain on view through February 23, 2020. The exhibition
is presented in Dallas by Texas Instruments. The High will present
the exhibition in Atlanta from April 25 through September
exhibition is about blurring the boundaries between senses, media,
disciplines, and environments to encourage visitors to interact and
communicate through design,”
said Schleuning. “speechless
is about what makes us as individuals unique—the challenges we
experience through ourselves and others—ultimately defining the
interconnections among all of us. Our perceptions, experiences, and
differences should unite us instead of divide us, heightening
our understandings and creating a greater sense of empathy in
ourselves and our community.”
Schleuning began to develop this important project while serving as
our curator of decorative arts and design, so it feels very fitting,
and full circle, to co-organize this exhibition with our esteemed
colleagues at the DMA,”
said Rand Suffolk,
Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., Director of the High. “This
exhibition dovetails perfectly with our ongoing and evolving
commitment to access. Consequently, we’re excited to welcome
audiences with wide-ranging abilities to experience these unique and
immersive installations. We hope to learn something important about
how such a diverse group of visitors interacts with these works as
well as engages with each other within the spaces.”
DMA is committed to offering our audiences opportunities for
discovery and for learning about different perspectives and cultures
through our exhibitions and collections, and the intersections
said Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director. “In
line with this approach, Sarah’s work on this groundbreaking
project—involving years of cross-disciplinary study and
collaboration with designers, scholars, and scientists at the
forefront of innovation in art and accessibility—is truly
pioneering within our field and creates an incredible opportunity to
provide a truly distinct museum experience to our audiences. We are
pleased to partner with the High in presenting speechless, an
exhibition that creates meaningful experiences for visitors of all
backgrounds and abilities, and also contributes important scholarship
and insight about how museums can innovate with everything from
installation to the visitor experience.”
Archibong was born and raised in Pasadena, California, where he
graduated from the Art Center College of Design. After a period
living and working in Singapore and traveling widely, he moved to
Switzerland, where he is currently based, to pursue further studies
in luxury design and craftsmanship and received a master’s degree
from École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL). He has designed
furniture for such luxury brands as Hermès, de Sede, Bernhardt
Design, Ruinart, Christofle and Vacheron Constantin. He is currently
collaborating with the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York and Sé
Collections in London, with whom he released the second installment
of the Below the Heavens during this year’s Salone del Mobile in
Checkowski is a designer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. He
has served as the creative force behind the dream sequences in Steven
Spielberg’s Minority Report; The Sensorium, a
first-of-its-kind interactive perfume museum in New York; and the
digital media content for a science fiction opera at l’Opera de
Monte Carlo; and he was the co-director of Lies & Alibis,
a feature film starring Steve Coogan, Sam Elliott, James Marsden, and
Rebecca Romijn. In 2006 Checkowski established the Department of the
4th Dimension, a multi-disciplinary studio working at the
intersection of storytelling, technology, and branding with clients
that include the Walker Art Center, MIT, Victoria’s Secret,
Sephora, Unilever, Electrolux, and the University of California. His
work has been profiled in the New York Times, the Los
Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and
Popular Science, among others.
Kahn was born in Duluth, Minnesota, and graduated from the Rhode
Island school of Design with a BFA in furniture design in 2011. His
work exists at the intersection of design and sculpture, exploring a
wide variety of media and scales from mouse to house. Kahn’s
approach melds an array of processes, from casting, carving, welding,
and weaving, to imaginative and singular modes of production.
According to former president of the Rhode Island School of Design
John Maeda, “Misha creates work for a parallel wonderland, where
traditional perception of material and structure is pushed to the
edges of the room to make space for one big party.” His work has
been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collection of
numerous museums and public collections, including the Museum of
Fine Arts, Houston and the Corning Museum of Glass.
Steven and William Ladd have created multi–disciplinary
works combining sculpture, performance, design, and social
activism since they began collaborating in 2000. They have exhibited
at the Musée des arts décoratifs and had solo exhibitions at
numerous American institutions, including their hometown institution
the Saint Louis Art Museum. Their work is labor-intensive and has
varied from large three-dimensional murals to book bindings. Through
their Scrollathon® they have worked with over 7,000 people,
including children, hospital patients, and special needs individuals.
Their work is in the collections of the Musée des arts décoratifs
at the Louvre, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Corning Museum of
Glass, and Mingei International Museum.
Haycock Makela has been a recognized voice of experimental
graphic and trans-disciplinary design practice and education for over
30 years in the United States and Europe. She has taught at
prestigious institutions in Sweden, Germany, and Los Angeles. She was
designer-in-residence and co-chair of the department of 2-D design at
the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, from 1996
to 2001 with the late P. Scott Makela. Their studio, Words and
Pictures for Business and Culture, produced print and new media for
clients such as NIKE, MTV and Warner Bros. She was awarded the AIGA
(American Institute of Graphic Arts) Medal, the profession’s
highest honor, in 2000. Most recently, she became the first
designer-in-residence at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design.
Suzuki is a sound artist, designer, and electronic musician who
explores the realms of sound through exquisitely designed pieces. His
work looks into the way people experience sound, and how music and
sound affect their minds. His sound, art, and installations have been
internationally exhibited and he has work in several permanent
collections across the world. He began his own design studio in 2013,
working alongside Disney, Google, and Yamaha, among others.
the power and impact of design, speechless offers audiences
unconventional multisensory experiences that foster understanding of
the varied ways in which we experience the world through our senses.
The exhibition presents opportunities for new modes of communicating
ideas beyond speech and words. Organized in five major sections, the
exhibition is connected by a central introductory space and sensory
de-escalation area, through which visitors must pass to move between
sections. Six contemporary designers will create spaces that fuse
multiple sensory experiences—for instance, rendering sound visible
or language tactile. The works include:
Oracle, designed and engineered by California-born,
Switzerland-based multi-disciplinary designer Ini Archibong,
will explore non-traditional ways of experiencing sound. The space
occupied by Archibong’s work will be infused with a soothing,
harmonious soundscape created by a custom synthesizer, which removes
discordant sound and produces pure sound waves. The installation
will feature an array of interactive elements designed to illustrate
sound through movement, shape, light, and color, including a pool
with an obelisk that visitors can rotate to tune the sound to
various bass tones, thereby changing the shape and movement of the
water as well; and brass pedestals holding handblown glass shapes
that pivot to initiate shifts in light and color. Visitors can turn
every element throughout the room to communally alter the sound in
Glyph, by designer and filmmaker Matt Checkowski, will explore the creativity behind each designer’s work in speechless and the role of empathy that informs it through a series of narrative and intimate short film portraits of each artist. He is developing a method of word and image translation whereby the filmed speech of each artist will be transformed live into images, offering a new, universal visual language for the ideas conveyed by the creative minds involved with this project.
Brooklyn-based designer and artist Misha Kahn will create a meandering coral garden composed of vibrant, dynamic inflatables that will move in multiple ways, inflating and deflating over the course of each day. Visitors can touch, sit, squeeze, and otherwise interact with the inflatable forms, both observing the landscape change around them and themselves participating in the alteration.
Scroll Space, presented by New York–based brothers and artists Steven and William Ladd, will be a vibrant and tactile room created entirely of tens of thousands of hand-rolled textile “scrolls.” These scrolls will be made in collaboration with 2,000 community members in Dallas and Atlanta through the Ladd Brothers’ community engagement program Scrollathon®, which brings the arts to underserved populations through hands-on creative workshops. The Dallas program will include participants from the Center for BrainHealth and the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas.
The exhibition’s graphic identity and corresponding publication speechless: Beyond Sense is created by Laurie Haycock Makela, a leader in the field of experimental, transdisciplinary graphic design. Playing with the multiple meanings of the word “speechless,” the publication will explore the evolution of the project, document the installations, and feature conversations between the designers and the curator. Both innovative and accessible, her work contributes to the foundation of total inclusive and interactive experience of the project.
Sound Of The Earth Chapter 2, a sound installation by London-based sound artist and designer Yuri Suzuki, will integrate audio crowdsourced from around the world. The work will take the form of a spherical sculpture with which visitors can interact by placing their ears against the surface. Each spot on the sphere represents a different area of the world and will “whisper” back a corresponding sound sourced from that region, enabling visitors to experience the globe in a fresh way, beyond text and words. Anyone around the world can submit audio via the DMA’s website at earthsounds.dma.org.
is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and the High Museum
of Art, Atlanta. The exhibition in Dallas is presented by Texas
for the exhibition in Atlanta is provided by wish foundation. This
exhibition in Atlanta is made possible by Exhibition Series
Sponsors Delta Air Lines, Inc., Northside Hospital, and
WarnerMedia; Premier Exhibition Series Supporters the
Antinori Foundation, Sarah and Jim Kennedy, and Louise
Sams and Jerome Grilhot; Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporter
Anne Cox Chambers Foundation; Ambassador Exhibition Series
Supporters Tom and Susan Wardell, and Rod Westmoreland;
and Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters Lucinda W. Bunnen,
Marcia and John Donnell, W. Daniel Ebersole and Sarah
Eby-Ebersole, Peggy Foreman, Robin and Hilton Howell,
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones, Margot and Danny McCaul, Joel Knox and
Joan Marmo, and The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable
support is also provided by the Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition
Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara
Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment
Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund,
The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts
Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier
Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker
Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland
Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special
Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund,
and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.
More Than 30 Of Bearden’s Iconic Autobiographical Works Will Be Shown Together For The First Time In Nearly 40 Years
n fall 2019, the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, will premiere “Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series,” the first exhibition to bring dozens of works from the eminent series together since its debut nearly 40 years ago. Having opened on Sept. 14, 2019 and then scheduled to run through Feb. 2, 2020, the exhibition will then travel to the Cincinnati Art Museum (Feb. 28–May 24, 2020). “Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series” will be presented in the special exhibition gallery on the second level of the High’s Stent Family Wing.
In November 1977, The New Yorker magazine published a feature-length biography of Bearden (American, 1911–1988) by Calvin Tomkins as part of its “Profiles” series. The article brought national focus to the artist, whose rise had been virtually meteoric since the late 1960s. The experience of the interview prompted Bearden to launch an autobiographical collection he called “Profile.” He sequenced the project in two parts: “Part I, The Twenties,” featuring memories from his youth in Charlotte, N.C., and in Pittsburgh, and “Part II, The Thirties,” about his early adult life in New York. For the series’ exhibitions in New York in 1978 and 1981, Bearden collaborated with friend and writer Albert Murray on short statements for the pieces, which were scripted onto the walls to lead visitors on a visual and poetic journey through the works.
Inspired by the High’s recent acquisition of a key work from the series, “Something Over Something Else” will be the first exhibition to reassemble more than 30 collages from the series. The exhibition design will reference the experience of the series’ original gallery presentations by incorporating their handwritten captions into the accompanying wall texts. The project is co-curated by Stephanie Heydt, the High’s Margaret and Terry Stent Curator of American Art, and Bearden scholar Robert G. O’Meally, Zora Neale Hurston professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University.
are privileged to organize ‘Something Over Something Else,’ which
honors Bearden’s legacy as one of the 20th century’s most
influential artists and brings important recognition to this
beautiful and powerful series,”
said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the
are very excited to reassemble Bearden’s original ‘Profile’
project—and to experience these works along with their captions,
presented in the original sequence,” said Heydt. “Bearden was a
wonderful storyteller, and ‘Profile’ shows Bearden at his best,
using words and images to evoke deeply personal memories. But Bearden
also invites us all to find something to relate to along the way.
There is a poetry in the arrangement of the exhibition that feels
unique for Bearden’s work and this show, which assembles nearly
two-thirds of the original group and may be the only opportunity to
see those works together again.”
presented the “Profile” series as a shared history—his
reflection on a life path that follows the journey of migration and
transition in black communities across the mid-20th century. The
series is an origin story that tracks Bearden’s transition from
rural South to urban North, weaving his personal history into a
communal one. Beyond providing the opportunity to explore an
understudied body of work, the exhibition will investigate the roles
of narrative and self-presentation for an artist who made a career of
creating works based on memory and experience. It will also reveal
some of Bearden’s broader inspirations, which lend insight into
American life in the first decades of the 20th century.
was inspired to develop the exhibition in 2014 when the High acquired
“Profile/Part II, The Thirties: Artist with Painting &
Model” (1981), the culminating work in the series and one
of Bearden’s only known self-portraits. The collage, which will
feature prominently in the exhibition, is a retrospective work in
which Bearden brings together important memories and spiritual
influences from his youth in the South with broader art-historical
themes that guided his career for more than four decades.
exhibition will be arranged roughly chronologically according to the
original presentations, moving from collages featuring Bearden’s
early memories to works exploring his development as an artist in New
York. Thematically, the subjects range from neighbors, friends, music
and church to work, play, love and loss. The works also vary greatly
in size. Though some are large, many are diminutive, a deliberate
choice by Bearden to convey his experience of revisiting childhood
memories. In addition to the wall texts by Bearden and Murray, the
galleries will feature an original copy of The New Yorker article and
the catalogues from the 1978 and 1981 gallery exhibitions. The High
will also show clips from the 1980 documentary “Bearden Plays
Bearden,” directed by Nelson E. Breen.
works will include:
I, The Twenties:
(1978): this collage is the first work in the exhibition and recalls
one of Bearden’s earliest memories.
Memories, Mill Hand’s Lunch Bucket”
(1978): Based on Bearden’s memories of the interior of his
grandmother’s boardinghouse in Pittsburgh, this work inspired
playwright August Wilson to write the play “Joe Turner’s Come
and Gone.” Wilson’s stage set description reflects the
composition of the collage, and the two main characters in the play
were inspired by another painting in the series, “Mecklenberg
County, Miss Bertha & Mr. Seth” (1978).
Memories, Farewell Eugene”
(1978): this work features a scene from the funeral of childhood
friend who had introduced Bearden to drawing.
II, The Thirties:
(1981): in this work, Bearden returns to his memories of the South
and Mecklenburg County.
with Painting & Model”
(1981): from the High’s collection, this collage is one of
Bearden’s only known self-portraits and a reminiscence on his
studio above the Apollo Theater in Harlem in the 1940s.
Hudgins Comes On”
(1981): This work features the famous vaudeville performer.
According to Bearden, Hudgins’ act inspired Bearden’s own
approach to “making worlds” with his art.
Exhibition Catalogue The High, in collaboration with University of Washington Press, will publish a full-color, illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition. Texts will include an introduction by former National Gallery of Art curator Ruth Fine and essays by Heydt, O’Meally, Rachael DeLue (Christopher Binyon Sarofim ’86 professor in American art at Princeton University) and Paul Devlin (assistant professor of English at the United States Merchant Marine Academy).
“Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden’s Profile Series” is organized and supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the Andrew Wyeth Foundation for American Art. This exhibition is made possible by Exhibition Series Sponsors Delta Air Lines, Inc., and Turner; Premier Exhibition Series Supporters the Antinori Foundation, Sarah and Jim Kennedy, Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot, and wish foundation; Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporter Anne Cox Chambers Foundation; Ambassador Exhibition Series Supporters Tom and Susan Wardell, and Rod Westmoreland; and Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters the Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust, Lucinda W. Bunnen, Corporate Environments, Marcia and John Donnell, W. Daniel Ebersole and Sarah Eby-Ebersole, Peggy Foreman, Robin and Hilton Howell, Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones, and Margot and Danny McCaul. Generous support is also provided by the Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Marjorie and Carter Crittenden, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund, and Dr. Diane L. Wisebram.
Located in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia, 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.