High Museum of Art Commissions Second Interactive Piazza Installation by Jaime Hayon
Site-specific work will be the fourth in a series to activate the High’s outdoor piazza
This summer, the High Museum of Art will unveil “Merry Go Zoo,” the second interactive installation by Spanish designer Jaime Hayon on The Woodruff Arts Center’s Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza. On view June 24 through Nov. 26, 2017, “Merry Go Zoo” continues a multiyear initiative to animate the High’s outdoor space with site-specific commissions that engage visitors of all ages in participatory art experiences.
Inspired to create a playful, 21st-century version of an outdoor public sculpture, Hayon has designed four large-scale, vibrantly colored, kinetic structures for “Merry Go Zoo.” Each of the structures features a round metal-and-wood base topped by an animal-shaped polyurethane sculpture. Visitors will be able to interact with the structures either by spinning on the base or by rotating the sculpture. “Merry Go Zoo” will transform the piazza into a playground and summer refuge that offers a welcoming atmosphere for socializing and recreation. The installation will also become the stage for performances, art-making activities and special events co-organized with local partner institutions.
“The incredibly talented Jaime Hayon has envisioned a dynamic, engaging and joyful setting that extends the Museum’s reach outdoors and invites visitors to experience art in an interactive way,” said Sarah Schleuning, the High’s decorative arts and design curator.
“Jaime’s vision has once again re-imagined our piazza as a destination for the community to come together and take part in the artist’s creation,” said Virginia Shearer, Eleanor McDonald Storza director of education at the High. “The installation serves as a welcome mat for our family visitors and as inspiration to linger and play on the piazza.”
This summer’s project builds on the success of the three previous piazza commissions: Hayon’s 2016 “Tiovivo” (on view through March 5, 2017) and 2014–2015’s “Mi Casa, Your Casa” and “Los Trompos” (“The Spinning Tops”), both created by Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena. “Merry Go Zoo” is the third piazza installation funded by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation through a grant to The Woodruff Arts Center.
Concurrent with “Merry Go Zoo,” the High will present “Technicolor,” an immersive installation in the Museum’s Anne Cox Chambers Wing featuring dramatic new works by Hayon that the High has commissioned to grow its significant 21st century design collection. Six large-scale textiles, inspired by designs Hayon created for last summer’s “Tiovivo,” will hang from the ceiling. Hayon worked with the renowned Tilburg Textile Museum’s TextielLab in the Netherlands to weave the vibrant works using a mix of traditional fibers and non-traditional materials, such as rubber. Pedestals on the floor will display quirky, stacked ceramics with colorful, expressive designs Hayon hand-painted with colored glazes. All of these works showcase Hayon’s new explorations in color and technique.
To kick off “Merry Go Zoo” and “Technicolor,” the High will present a Summer Celebration on the evening of Friday, June 23, 2017, featuring music, performances, talks and tours. Following the opening, the High will offer special programming related to “Merry Go Zoo” each month during its First Friday events. This programming will include artistic pairings, live music and other performances in collaboration with artists and performers across the Atlanta arts spectrum, from colleagues at the other Woodruff Arts Center partners (Alliance Theatre and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra) to Atlanta arts groups.