High Museum of Art: from Warhol to da Vinci
A visit to Atlanta's High Museum of Art could change the way you look at the world.
Everything about the museum is a work of art — from the giant Calder Mobile on the front lawn, the wide array of paintings and sculpture, the soaring, conical white atrium entrance designed by architect Richard Meier, to the newest three-building additions by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
After an afternoon of sculptures and other works by the world's finest artists, you may look at every intersection of brick and steel, every curve of a dogwood blossom, every enigmatic smile as a potential masterpiece.
This is Atlanta's big-time art museum, with a collection rivalling the best museums around the country. The High's extensive and breathtaking permanent collection of more than 11,000 pieces includes exquisite examples of 19th and 20th century American and decorative art, European pieces, modern and contemporary art, photography, African art and folk art.
Contemporary art includes Andy Warhol’s Marilyn and of gi-normous sculptures of peaches and pears spread out on a massive picnic blanket by husband-wife sculptors Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
The extensive collection of Southern and self-taught art is highlighted by a rambling display of whimsical works by Georgia folk artist Howard Finster, who managed to incorporate Elvis, Jesus and Coca-Cola into his creations.
The High's photography collection comprises notable examples of every photographic genre and process by such master as Julia Margaret Cameron, Walker Evans, Emmet Gowin and Sally Mann.
The museum’s 135,000-square-foot main building, designed by noted architect Richard Meier, was cited by the American Institute of Architects as one of the “10 best works of American architecture of the 1980s.”
The museum hosts special exhibits year round, such as displays from the Louvre and China, or works by Vincent Van Gogh, da Vinci, Andrew Wyeth are others. Some of the art is cinematic, since the High’s Media Arts department produces acclaimed annual film series and festivals of foreign, independent and classic cinema.
On selected Friday evenings, visitors can dance to jazz, sip martinis and other classy drinks and nibble hors d'ouvres.
The museum offers special hands-on programs for adults and youth, including Toddler Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., or Saturday Studio from 1-4 p.m. In these programs, parents can view the collections with their children and then create their own masterpiece to take home. These programs are free with admission and no registration is required.
After slaking your aesthetic hunger, you can feed your physical hunger at the museum's elegant Table 1280 Restaurant and Tapas Lounge, where reservations are recommended, or the more informal High Cafe on the lower level.
Of course there's a gift shop, with all the cards, T-shirts, jewelry and other collectibles. Our fave? The Vincent Van Gogh doll with the removeable ear.
Posted on March 19, 2009 by Diane Loupe