Atlanta GA: Top Secret at the High Museum

“Cameras are welcome at the High Museum of Art, with some restrictions. Photography permits can be obtained from the security guard at the Front Desk. Still photography for personal use is permitted in the permanent collection galleries, but the Museum cannot authorize photography of works of art in special exhibition or on special loan to the museum. Photographs featuring art from the Museum’s permanent collection are not to be uploaded to the internet for use on online profiles, photo-sharing sites or personal web-pages.”

I would not even tell you the name of this artist for fear of breaking my privilege with the Museum! I only wish they didn’t keep this one behind glass so you can’t interact with it!

I would love to share with you some of the collection of the High, but unfortunately, I cannot. You see even worse than the Prado, the Rijksmuseum, the van Gogh Museum, the Gardiner, the High Museum has an even more outrageous policy: you can photo it, but not show it. My students will at least be able to share, although only on paper. I cannot use any of this in a video!!!

Although they have a Kara Walker shadow piece, this is not one of them (left). It is interesting how they have managed to blend in the (post-?) Modern structure of the thoughtful housing by Richard Meier with a lot of Neoclassical sculptures. This is very hard to do and the use of white or near white wall with the large open spaces which lends available light is quite beautiful. The marble of pieces like this take on a different light and tone. The wonderful Capitolini in Rome takes on the same idea, but does it differently with cream colored walls in interior hallways. Here use of glass blocks or even areas which show more open hallways from behind, give the sculpture not only a different look, but a different scale. The housing is wonderful, and I guess that I can show here.

There is a wonderful, monochromatic Chuck Close Self Portrait (2002) which I wish I could show in situ here, for it is a wonderful echo of the structure itself when the painting is turned sideways! Nor could I identify the Borremans from the Wesselman, which work beautifully in the modern floor. The shot below is early 20th century is actually Robert Henri under the Kara Walker cover.

I wonder with all this wonderful space and beautiful opening, why the lousy support column is sitting in the room, rather than be behind a wall, or made more convincingly part of the structure. It is almost as odd as the lousy sink fixtures which spit water all over the place. I thought, did  Meier really want these in?

In Amsterdam, last year, I got in an argument with the poor ticket seller, when I told her, I did not want to pay extra to see the special exhibit of van Gogh, which I had already seen earlier at the MoMA.  The van Gogh Museum charged me anyway, unlike the MoMA does. The MoMA keeps special exhibits that are extra admission housed separately. Other museums should do the same. I love these things, some big sponsor, say AT&T or Xerox or IBM, underwrite these things, and then the museum charges you extra for it. Does the big company that underwrote these things also get a cut?

The High did not pull  the same thing with the Dali exhibit. Dali is a great technician, but unfortunately had absolutely nothing to say. I have seen his work all over, including the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida (now in the new housing, admission $17–ouch! instead of the old $5 as it was about 7 years ago!).  A much better exhibit was the Dali collection of film done two years ago at the Modern (poster from subway, below), included in the price of   admission. While I came with a North American reciprocal pass, I still paid $27 dollars for 3, so I could not figure how I got a bargain. Although they do give you admission for a discounted rate one day. As of this writing, they also have a special program:,3,1&eventtype=7

The High runs $18 and is a spit away from the MARTA, the Atlanta subway/train system. It has a wonderful Impressionist collection of earlier Monets, Sisleys, a good Bazille (we always forget him in the books), a snow scene by Pissaro. They have Cassatts, and some wonderful things to share, but I can’t, cause you know. . .

There are also those minor art pieces here, which add color to any museum, including furniture design and a few quilts from the 19th century in great condition. Again, a no show here.

So, if in Atlanta, get over to the High on a reduced day. You will see some interesting architecture, and uncover a decent Impressionist collection and some interesting contemporary pieces.


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One Response to “Atlanta GA: Top Secret at the High Museum”

  1. dweebcentric Says:

    Love what you did with the photos! Guess you’ve found your calling as an art museum critic? Can’t believe the Dali museum is now a whopping 17 bucks?!!

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