“Face Offs: Decorative Arts and Design”
June 21–November 23, 2008
This month the High will present “Face Offs: Decorative Arts and Design,” showcasing recent contemporary decorative arts acquisitions paired with similar works from earlier art-historical periods from the permanent collection. On view from June 21 through November 23, 2008, the eight works on display include the debut of two major commissions from Dutch Droog Design collective artists Jurgen Bey and Tejo Remy, “Treetrunk Bench High Table” and “You Can’t Lay Down Your Memory” Chest of Drawers, both of which draw upon local sources for materials. The old and the new are juxtaposed in dialogue with one another through similarities and differences in shape, form, materials, utility, manufacture and prevailing tastes.
“Our newest acquisitions represent some of the most important designs from the late 20th and early 21st centuries,” said Ron T. Labaco, the High’s Curator of Decorative Arts. “Shown in the context of masterworks from other eras, they help illustrate the cycle of innovation, tradition and cross-fertilization that has recurred throughout decorative arts and design history. It will be interesting to see what aspects of these new designs will influence the look and feel of the future.”
Comparative examples include Ron Arad’s molded and woven aluminum “Blo-Void 1 Chair” (2006) and Gebrüder Thonet’s bentwood and woven cane “Rocking Chair” (ca. 1885), Tejo Remy’s haphazard “You Can’t Lay Down Your Memory” Chest of Drawers (2008), Charles and Ray Eames’ geometrically structured “ESU (Eames Storage Unit)” (1953–1955), South Carolina potter Mark Hewitt’s massive “That’s What I’m Talking About!” Vase (2007) and English ceramics manufacturers John and William Turner’s monumental “Punch Bowl” (1800–1810).
Decorative Arts and Design at the High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art’s decorative arts and design collection features 2,175 objects, representing the most comprehensive survey of American decorative arts in the Southeast, and is among the most significant collections in the nation. The Virginia Carroll Crawford Collection of American Decorative Arts positioned the High as a leader in collecting and preserving works in this genre. The Crawford Collection, given over the course of five years between 1979 and 1983, includes major pieces of furniture, silver, porcelain and specially designed serving items produced by Tiffany and Company. Other notable gifts include the Frances and Emory Cocke Collection of English ceramics. Recent acquisitions include key additions of Gerrit Rietveld’s “Red/Blue Chair” and Marcel Breuer’s “Lounge Chair.”