Last night I talked with some of Atlanta's leading experts on contemporary art, design, and architecture. During our "Atlanta Embraces Modernism" panel discussion, they weighed in on whether the city reflects a modern spirit.
Three decades ago at her downtown Atlanta loft, Georgia artist Janet "Gogo" Ferguson first unveiled the nature-inspired pieces for what would become an internationally acclaimed, multi-million dollar jewelry business. As a descendant of Thomas Carnegie who bought Georgia's Cumberland Island in the late 19th century, the granddaughter of Lucy Ferguson spent much of her childhood growing up on coastal Georgia. Today as a year-round resident on Cumberland, Ferguson operates her Gogo Jewelry business and an artist studio there.
Just in time for the city’s Pride celebration this weekend, Atlanta visual artist Philip Bonneau brings his 40-piece homage to childhood, the fourth and final “issue” of his Heroes & Villains series to life at Suite Spot in West Midtown. For a generation of kids raised on 1980s Saturday morning cartoons, Disney animated features and comic books, this exhibition is best viewed with a heaping bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs doused with cold milk. Just one week into the month-long show, half of Bonneau’s photographs are already sold (he’s donating proceeds from the show to Lost –n- Found Youth, Inc., the city’s year-old nonprofit whose mission is to take LGBT youth off the streets and into more permanent housing). Throughout the exhibition, Bonneau imaginatively recreates his favorite Marvel and DC comic book characters, Disney villains and many beloved Saturday morning TV favorites.
The High Museum Go West! exhibition traces the history of Western expansion with works from 1830 to 1930, in sections focusing on explorers, Native American objects and art, landscapes by Hudson River School artists like Thomas Moran, the significance of the buffalo, the romanticizing of cowboys and Indians alike, sportsmen, conservation, and the reservation era.
Last year the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies declared Georgia second-to-last in the nation in terms of public arts financing. That number forty-nine ranking (six cents per capita, compared with $5.77 in first-place Minnesota) may shock some Atlantans, but it surprises no one involved with the arts.
Now in its fifth year, Art on the Atlanta BeltLine is the largest temporary public art exhibition in the Southeast, according to Elan Buchen, the BeltLine’s coordinator for art and design. This year, visual arts installations stretch not only along the Eastside Trail but also along six more miles of future BeltLine trails along the southeast and westside corridors.
Fans will get a two-night crash course in the history of the Athens music scene this weekend, thanks to two icon-studded bills as part of Art Rocks Athens: The Music. Tonight at the 40 Watt in Athens, the music of The B-52’s, Pylon, The Side Effects, R.E.M., Is/Ought Gap, Club Gaga, The Fans, and Kevin Dunn will be celebrated. On Saturday night at the Georgia Theatre, music vets and newbies on the Athens set will pay tribute to Method Actors, Squalls, Kilkenny Cats, Dreams So Real, Oh-OK, Bar-B-Q Killers, and others.
Expect surprises when you elevate something to an art and get it down to a science at the same time. The creative collective MASS—an acronym of Music, Art, Science, and Social—unites two demographics who usually do not sit together in the school cafeteria: number-crunching geeks and dreamy-eyed bohemians.
Tucker native Brendan O’Connell has been painting scenes at Walmarts around the country for a decade now, and in the last year they've actually made him pretty good money ($1,500 for small paintings, $40,000 for larger ones). This week, at the company's invitation, he spent a two-day residency at a store just a few miles from his boyhood home.
On June 3, we remembered the fiftieth anniversary of the famed Orly crash, which killed nearly all of Atlanta's most influential arts patrons at a time when the city needed their guidance most. The Woodruff Arts Center eventually rose like a phoenix from the proverbial wreckage, so it's fitting that the Alliance Theatre thought it appropriate to immortalize the tragedy in poetry.