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High Museum of Art Appoints Brett Abbott as New Curator of Photography  
Abbott currently serves as associate curator in the department of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
ATLANTA, GA.- Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director of the High Museum of Art, announced the appointment of Brett Abbott as the Museum’s new curator of photography. Abbott currently serves as associate curator in the department of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and will join the High on April 1, 2011. As curator of photography Abbott will be responsible for the High’s growing collection of more than 4,000 prints, with notable examples of every photographic genre and process as well as many of the masters in the field, including George N. Barnard, Julia Margaret Cameron, Walker Evans, Richard Misrach, Emmet Gowin and Sally Mann.

“In addition to his extensive knowledge of the history of photography and exciting repertoire of recent scholarship, Brett brings a fresh and energetic perspective to our curatorial team,” said David Brenneman, the High’s Director of Collections and Exhibitions. “We look forward to welcoming him to the High and his stewardship of the museum’s robust photography collection, as well as introducing him to Atlanta’s thriving photography community.”

A member of the curatorial staff at the J. Paul Getty Museum since 2002, Abbott has been integral in managing the museum’s important collection of photographs, including mounting exhibitions, researching and publishing the collection and building the holdings through acquisitions and gifts. He recently received the 2010 Lucie Award for Curator/Exhibition of the Year for his organization of the exhibition and its related publication “Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography since the Sixties,” the Getty’s highest-attended photography exhibition to date. Abbott also received the 2007 Lucie Award for Curator/Exhibition of the Year for “Edward Weston: Enduring Vision” and edited its companion publication, “Edward Weston’s Book of Nudes.”

The High began collecting photography in 1974 and has recently amassed the nation’s most comprehensive collection of civil rights-era photography with works by Ernest C. Withers, Danny Lyon, Bruce Davidson, Bob Adelman and others. The collection also includes large-scale prints by prominent contemporary artists such as Thomas Struth, Taryn Simon, Vik Muniz and Jeff Wall.

“It is a wonderful honor to be joining the High’s talented and innovative team and to be welcomed into Atlanta’s thriving arts community,” said Abbott. “The High has made significant contributions to the study of photography. I’m excited to be charged with building the collection in ways that will further distinguish it on the national level, while harnessing its resources for local arts education and outreach. To that end, I’m eager to begin working with the Museum’s supporters toward developing a vibrant roster of acquisitions and exhibitions that contributes to the field and inspires the community.”

Abbott received his Master of Arts in art history from Williams College in 2002 and his Bachelor of Arts in the same field from Stanford University in 2000. Prior to his current position, Abbott served as a curatorial intern in the department of photographs at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2001), where he conducted research for the bibliography and introductory essay of Sarah Greenough’s “Alfred Stieglitz: The Key Set: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection of Photographs.” Abbott has also held roles at the Williams College Museum of Art (2000–2001) and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (1999).

High Museum of Art | Atlanta | David Brenneman | Brett Abbott |


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