Past Exhibitions & Programs
John Dean: Buford Highway Glyphs
Opening Thursday, August 10th 2017
The Buford Highway Corridor is a place where everything happens. It is located on an old, much forgotten industrial highway that links Atlanta Georgia with the smaller town of Buford Georgia. In the last 20 years it has morphed into a social, commercial, and spiritual refuge for a succession of emigrant populations from all over the world.
Buford Highway consists of an unusual blend of global ethnicities including Mexican, Chinese, South American, Vietnamese, Russian, Pakistani, Korean, Bangladeshi, Ethiopian, and more. Their businesses exist side by side and take advantage of cross over traffic from other cultures to survive. In a sense, by morphing their identities with the English language and the American material culture, and mixing the influences of their neighbors into their own identity, they have formed a new hybrid vocabulary, which is an ideogram of a road map to the future. At least that is their hope, it seems.
As the Georgia anthropologist Susan Walcott pointed out in her research published in the Journal of Cultural Geography, the Buford Highway area is an anomaly within the realm of urban enclaves. Unlike most American big cities that attract global diversity, Buford Highway, outside of Atlanta, is a rare example of a case where emigrants have often completely ignored the city center, what center there is in Atlanta, and headed straight for the burbs, which they often see as a direct line to the American dream. As Walcott put it – “Atlanta doesn’t have any ‘Chinatowns’ or ‘Koreatowns.’ We have a mixture. “Atlanta’s immigrants don’t want to be isolated. They want to be part of the mainstream.” This kind of multi-polar world has replaced the previous Black–White disparity that dominated here a generation earlier. It is indeed a new structure we’re apart of, happening even in the South. It has become a lot like the web.
In this group of photographs, I am interested in the visual meta-language that is being assembled by such a society, as temporary or enduring as it may be. I’m interested in looking at the “shape” of language as an object itself within the physical landscape of this strip style architecture. These monuments of seemingly prosaic business signs remind me of Mayan “glyphs”, which carved into stone, formed a merger of art, poetry and a utilitarian language within a physical architectural syntax. The glyphs of Buford Highway describe the new global language of a multi-polar world, a heterotopia in process, with the city as an alphabet.
As for me, my ancestors came to America in the 1630’s from England. They were restless emigrants looking for the promise land. We’re all still emigrants here in this new world.
Steffen Thomas: A Legacy in Atlanta, celebrates the artist’s contributions to the Atlanta art scene from 1930 – 1990. This multi-faceted exhibition and series of programs, presented by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art, focuses on the public art in metro Atlanta created by Steffen Thomas and includes the following events:
- Invitational Plein Air Paint-Out at Colony Square
- Gallery 72 exhibition of STEFFEN THOMAS: A LEGACY IN ATLANTA
- Walking Public Art Tour
- Panel Discussion – Steffen Thomas & the Impact of Public Art
- Steffen Thomas Museum of Art Exhibition of STEFFEN THOMAS:A LEGACY IN ATLANTA
Steffen Thomas was born in Fürth, Germany in 1906 and had a dream from childhood of becoming an artist. He was trained in classical sculpture at the Academy of Fine Art in Munich from 1924 – 1928, achieving Master status at the age of 21. Thomas immigrated to the US in 1928 and settled in Atlanta by 1930. Most of his professional career as an artist was centered in the Atlanta area, and he had a long career as a sculptor, creating many works of public art that can be found in Atlanta and the Southeast. His last studio was in Midtown Atlanta, and after his widow Sara Douglass Thomas found it impossible to establish a museum on the site of his last studio, she decided to build one on land owned by Steffen Thomas, Jr. in rural Morgan County, near Madison, Georgia.
Atlanta Jazz Festival Exhibition “Call and Response: 40 YEARS OF JAZZ FESTIVAL POSTER ART.
April 20 – June 2, 2017
An exhibition celebrating the artwork of the Atlanta Jazz Festival and the artist who created the distinctive works used to promote the festival over the past 40 years. The exhibition included a commemorative catalogue.
University of Georgia MFA Thesis Exhibition
Michelle Laxalt received her BFA from the University of Nevada, Reno and is currently earned her MFA in Ceramics as a Welch Fellow at Georgia State University. She uses ceramics, textiles, and other materials to create figurative sculptures that serve as reminders of the body. Learn more about the artist by visiting her website.
Larkin Ford spent his formative years in rural North Carolina and earned his BFA degree at the University of North Carolina, Asheville before relocating to Atlanta. He weaves personal experience into enigmatic narratives through drawings, paintings, and sculptures. Learn more about the artist by visiting his website.
Southern Graphics Council International Conference exhibition Featuring UGA Alumni
February 16 – March 17, 2017
The Atlanta Collage Society‘s exhibition: “Mash-up!”
Nov 17- Jan 20, 2016
In the music industry, the term mash-up refers to a recording created by combining tracks from several different songs. The Atlanta Collage Society has adopted “Mash-Up!” as the title of this special exhibit. Approximately 60 works of original art, by members of the Collage Society, will represent the mash-up of diverse factors that create personal histories. Although self-portraits usually refer to physical likeness, they can also be rendered as a collage of imagery and design to form visual biographies of family heritage and personal experience.