You’re Making me HIGH

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

The High Museum in the heart of Atlanta continues to put Atlanta on the art map of the U.S. with international sensation and an incredible flair for seeking out and activating local talent as well. Peach spoke to Marci Tate, Manager of Public Relations for the High Museum of Art, about the upcoming year of exhibitions.

The High Museum’s schedule of exhibition is always characterized by diversity across genres and expressions – can you tell us a little about the upcoming year of exhibitions at the High?

We have a wonderfully diverse and vibrant schedule of exhibitions coming up this year at the High.  This fall, we invite Atlantans to experience “Something Over Something Else” (opening Sept. 14), which features dozens of collages from Romare Bearden’s autobiographical “Profile” series. Organized by the High, the exhibition is the first to reunite dozens of these works since they debuted 40 years ago.

We are also proud to present Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings (Oct. 19, 2019, through Feb. 2, 2020), a sweeping overview of Mann’s 40-year career featuring more than 100 powerful and provocative photographs, including new work. Mann is a Virginia native, and her work is strongly influenced and inspired by her Southern heritage and examines important themes including history, identity, race and religion.

In November, we’ll open Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” (Nov. 12, 2019, through March 8, 2020), which debuted at MCA Chicago this summer. Abloh is a genre-bending artist whose wide-ranging designs meld pop culture and streetwear with historical art and haute couture. He became creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear in 2018 and is also well-known for his wildly popular Off-White™ fashion label and collaborations with Kanye West. The show is the first museum exhibition devoted to Abloh, and the works on view offer an in-depth look at the defining highlights of his career.

In the spring, we’ll present speechless: different by design, an exhibition we’re co-organizing with the Dallas Museum of Art that merges research, aesthetics and innovative new design to explore the vast spectrum of sensory experiences and new approaches to accessibility in the museum setting. The exhibition debuts 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. Their installations will offer audiences unconventional multisensory experiences that foster understanding of the varied ways we experience the world through our senses.

Also on view this year are the latest chapter in our “Picturing the South” photography commission series, a LiveLab photography residency and exhibition presented in collaboration with Magnum Photos, and Paa Joe: Gates of No Return, featuring the work of a celebrated Ghanaian figurative coffin maker. In the tradition of figurative coffins—or abeduu adekai (which means “proverb boxes”)—the structures represent the unique lives of the dead. 

The High Museum presents a well-curated intersection of exhibitions that range from local to international – how do you choose what goes into the High?

Our leadership and curatorial teams intentionally develop an exhibition schedule of regional, national and international significance. The High has seven collecting areas (African Art, American Art, European Art, Decorative Arts and Design, Folk and Self-Taught Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, and Photography), so the exhibition schedule also reflects and complements those collections.

What shows would you personally recommend this next year?

The schedule is amazing. I recommend that visitors break up their visit and pair an exhibition with an event we are hosting. This gives visitors an opportunity to really spend time with each of the exhibitions. They may want to plan a visit on a High Frequency Friday (the first Friday of every month) when we have a DJ, drawing on the terrace and adult art making or plan a group outing with friends that incorporates a Friday Jazz (occurs the third Friday of every month).  

Tell us a little about what is currently on view at the High?

In addition to shows opening this fall, please come check out Of Origins and Belonging, Drawn from Atlanta (through Sept. 29), the third in a series of exhibitions at the High focused on work by Atlanta-based artists. The exhibition features six artists who address issues related to place, belonging, and heritage in their work: Jessica Caldas, Yehimi Cambrón, Xie Caomin, Wihro Kim, Dianna Settles and Cosmo Whyte. Also, don’t miss Strange Light, an exhibition featuring more than 100 works by Clarence John Laughlin, the most important Southern photographer of his time who has been dubbed the “Father of American Surrealism.”

Anything you’d like to add?

Last fall, we completed a complete reinstallation of our collection galleries. If you haven’t visited those galleries recently, be sure to come see the many new artworks on view – and the old favorites you love. You’ll also want to visit the newly redesigned and expanded Greene Family Learning Gallery.  We have something for everyone, and we want visitors to experience it all. We look forward to seeing you in the galleries soon!

Go to for the current and future schedule of the High Museum.

[Art Credit (in picture): Virgil Abloh (American, born 1980) and Ben Kelly, Hacienda Columns, 2019. Courtesy of Virgil Abloh. ]

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