High Museum of Art to Open Major Collection Reinstallation This October
New collection presentations feature important recent acquisitions, iconic masterworks, and artworks never before displayed at the High
Includes redesigned Greene Family Learning Gallery and additional photography galleries
The High Museum of Art in Atlanta will soon complete a major reinstallation of its collection galleries, which will be unveiled to the public at a community open house on October 14. This marks the first comprehensive revision of the galleries since the High’s transformative expansion in 2005.
The reinstallation, which has been in progress since April 2018, covers all seven of the High’s curatorial departments and highlights the collection’s key strengths and growth since 2005 while creating dynamic and engaging experiences for visitors and improving accessibility throughout the High’s facilities. The reinstallation includes the addition of a dedicated photography gallery, which significantly increases the space available to display the High’s esteemed collection. The Museum worked with 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.
“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.