The second leg of “Atlanta Collects: Treasures From Atlanta’s Private Collectors” opened to the public Sunday, March 12, after a sneak-peek premiere party the night before at the Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.
These works on loan from private collections represent modern selections, whereas Part 1, which was on display from December to February, presented more traditional, better-known artists.
Aaron Berger, the Breman’s executive director, put it in glossy perspective: “Atlanta has a reputation for not being terribly sophisticated. The reality is we have great depth, knowledge and experience. The earlier show, which had works from well-known artists like Cassatt and Wyeth, was less risky than this. These contemporary collectors genuinely get to know the artist and love their work.”
Berger said one of his favorite pieces in the new exhibit is “Self Portrait/Pulp” from 2001 by American Chuck Close, who is a quadriplegic. “Considering the challenges he had to overcome, I consider this work outstanding. Close also has had prominent pieces in our High Museum of Art.”
William Eiland, the curator, explained Atlanta’s assimilation of styles and said pop art is not dead as he spoke about each piece. “Relevant,” “collaborative,” “conflicting,” “theatrical” and “insightful” were some of the terms he employed.
Creative fan Carol Nemo said her favorite work is a collage by Vik Muniz that features dozens of babies. “This speaks to me because I love babies.”
Spring Asher was impressed with a collection of individual creature sculptures climbing the wall — spider, cactus, bird’s nest, fox — made of clay, steel, sand, paint, aluminum and glue by Kentuckian Joe Walters.
“I like how it’s textural and fills the wall,” she said.
Ann and Michael Kay lent to the exhibit “Erzulie” by Atlantan Radcliffe Bailey, who is known for his mixed media, layering and cultural resonance, often through the use of found materials.
Other attention grabbers include “Mao,” an accumulation sculpture made in 2004 from toy cars, and “Shimmering Madness,” a jelly bean statue created by Sandy Skoglund in 1998.
The collection is open to the public through April 16.
Photos by Marcia Caller Jaffe