ATLANTA, GA.- The High Museum of Art
will host the fourth annual Collectors Evening on Jan. 11, 2013. Seven works will be presented for acquisition during the evening, one from each of the Highs curatorial departments. Attendees will cast their ballots, and the High will purchase the works of art with the most votes. The number of acquisitions will depend on funds raised via benefactors and ticket sales.
This year the event will also feature an auction component in which guests can bid on works for their own collections. These include works by such artists as Kael Alford, Shane Lavalette, Leonard Freed and Arthur Grace, among others.
The curatorial team looks forward to this evening of spirited competition each year, said David Brenneman, the Highs director of collections and exhibitions and Frances B. Bunzl family curator of European art.
It is a rare opportunity for the curators to share their expertise and passion for art with Museum supporters, said Michael Shapiro, the Museums Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. director. Although Collectors Evening is only four years old, the Museum has already acquired more than 13 new works. Its a wonderful, fun way of engaging people in our permanent collection.
Collectors Evening was established in 2010 as a means to add works to the permanent collection while providing a lively evening of face-to-face conversation with the Highs curators. Since its inception, Collectors Evening participants have selected a total of 13 acquisitions for the Museum. Three of these works were acquired last year including Down Time, an acrylic on canvas by KAWS, Hiroshi Sugumotos photograph Lightning Fields and Crochet Chair from designer Marcel Wanders.
This years proposed acquisitions include the following:
The proposed work for the African art collection is a wooden mask by a Pende artist of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (ca. 1875-1925). The extreme distortion of the face on this mask resembles that of one of the women depicted in Picassos famous 1907 painting Les Demoiselles dAvignon. Within Pende communities, masks with distorted faces represent individuals who have fallen into a fire, leaving their faces permanently disfigured. The masks promote compassion toward individuals who have suffered such calamities. This striking mask would join other important Pende works of art in the Highs collection, including a magnificent feather mask currently on view, a Pende cup currently on view, two face masks and a ceremonial axe.
George Henry Yewells oil on canvas Self Defense (1854) is the proposed acquisition from the American art department. Set on the streets of 1850s New York, Self Defense shows a boy preparing a snowball in response to one that landed just inches away from him. Yet this vignette is not merely one of childs play. A painter of genre scenes often embedded with wry commentary, George Henry Yewell includes a series of broadsides plastered to the building walls, which advertise the various mass entertainments that in Yewells day had generated scandal, moral protest or even political debate. In many ways, Self Defense serves as a timeless American allegory, promoting the quick wit and strength of character required to steel oneself against various temptations.
Decorative Arts and Design
The decorative arts and design department will put forward Spun, a chaise prototype by Mathias Bengtsson, as an acquisition. In the late 1990s, Danish-born Bengtsson made a name for himself by combining innovative technology and new materials with more traditional handcraftsmanship to create decidedly unique and expressive forms, including the recently acquired Slice Chair (1999). Woven from just 2.5 kg of carbon fiber using computer technology, the feather-light, semi-transparent structure of Spun belies the extraordinary strength of the carbon itself. This particular work is the only surviving prototype for this extraordinary design.
French artist Edmé-Alexis-Alfred Dehodencqs Self-Portrait (ca. 1870) is being presented for acquisition by the European art department. This oil-on-canvas work is a penetrating self-depiction that brings to mind several of Rembrandts mature self-portraits in the attire of the sitter, his pose, and the pictures overall seriousness and monumentality. Signed and dedicated to Dehodencqs friend and fellow Orientalist painter Eugène Fromentin (18201876), the work was probably given as a gift in thanks for Fromentins recommendation that Dehodencq, along with seven other artists, including Gustave Courbet, receive the prestigious Légion dhonneur in 1870. This painting will complement one of the Highs most important European paintings, Eugène Fromentins Arabs on the Way to the Pastures of Tell.
The folk art department will propose Thornton Dials assembled painting The Money Business (2012). During Dials lifetime, he has watched industry supplant agriculture in many parts of his native state of Alabama, as factories, industrial plants and steel mills have flourished, altering forever workers lives and surroundings. Featuring layers of found objects that evoke layers of meaning, The Money Business acknowledges the ascendency of industry and the changes it has brought. The denim background represents both a factory wall and the uniform of the worker. A ghostly nest made from scrap metal houses a bird composed of metal tubing and mattress springs. The greens and reds of the canvas speak to profit at the expense of the land and its human cost.
Modern and Contemporary Art
The proposed acquisition for the modern and contemporary art department is Joyce Pensatos Hey Now (2012). Although Joyce Pensato has been working in Brooklyn since the 1970s, she has maintained a low profile and, until recently, remained somewhat overlooked in the New York art scene. Pensatos pop culture subjects are psychologically charged and painted in an aggressively gestural fashion in mostly black, white and silver. Hey Now is one of Pensatos most recent works and appears to combine a cartoon dogs snout with the bushy eyebrows of Groucho Marx. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, owns similar paintings by Pensato, and others recently have been acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Colby Museum of Art.
Church Gate Station, Western Railroad Line, Bombay, India (1995, printed 2012) by Sebastião Salgado is the proposed work for the Highs photography collection. Salgado is among the most recognized documentary photographers of the 20th century, celebrated for his epic and compassionate depictions of the developing world, manual labor and populations in distress. Church Gate Station depicts a train depot in Mumbai, India. Commuters whirl around two docked locomotives in the jam-packed station, which itself is only one portal to a city of mesmerizing proportions. The picture points to the simultaneously exhilarating and frightening rate of growth in developing-world cities, a phenomenon that presents dramatic benefits and challenges for the future of humanity. The image was a seminal influence on the train scenes in Danny Boyles Academy Awardwinning film Slumdog Millionaire.