In recent months the powers that be at our beloved High Museum have been whetting photo lovers' appetites with talk of the new space devoted to photography when the museum's addition opens later this year.
Well really, they've been talking about the "works on paper" space of which photography will be a part. To be exact, when the High addition opens there will be exactly one 2400 sq. ft. gallery devoted to works on paper AND photography. Lets say half is for photography. That amounts to a whopping 1200 sq. ft. (or 0.6% of the High's total expansion of 177,000 square feet). And since the High thinks only dead artists matter, at best 20% of that space will probably be devoted to post-1970 works. So I cant wait to see the three freakin' contemporary photos on display in the new works on paper gallery. And if they display the Jeff Wall that they recently acquired (at least they are making some good albeit financially questionable decisions) in that space, I doubt there will be room for much more. I'm sure the High can kiss sir Elton's collection bye bye as well as many of the other very good photo collections in town.
What makes this even worse is that the High is closing its downtown Folk Art and Photography galleries which were probably about 4,000 or 5,000 square feet and had consistently good photography exhibitions that were a nice mix older and newer works.
So the High's commitment to exhibiting photography will actually drop once the new space opens. This is so short sighted, because I still believe that museums build great collections through collector donations (they don't call the Guggenheim the Guggenheim for nothing) and there are far more serious photography collectors in Atlanta than there are of any other artistic discipline. The High is going to alienate them all. As it sits now, I'd rather have my collection sit in storage somewhere than give it to the High.
One bright note:
The High has indicated that it will have a study room in the new space and will make available for viewing any photo from its collection upon request.
In sort of a reverse boycott, I PROMISE TO PAY ANYONE $10 if they actually go to the High and take advantage of the museum's private viewing offer.
In order to collect your $10 from me you must:
1. Attend the High within one year of the addition's opening
2. Request and actually view a photo or photos in storage that were taken after 1970
3. Have the High employee sign your admission receipt and indicate what you looked at and
4. Send me the receipt via email or fax.
I'll re-post this once a month for the first year the High is open.
I want to drive the High crazy with requests so they will actually put more work on display.
Enough barfing for one day. See you Sunday.