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News Room

High Museum of Art Opens New Interactive Piazza Installation

May 31, 2016

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Large-scale, site-specific work is the third in a series to activate the High’s outdoor piazza space 

Annual summer installation program to continue through 2017 with support from Lettie Pate Evans Foundation grant

ATLANTA, May 31, 2016 – The High Museum of Art presents “Tiovivo: Whimsical Sculptures by Jaime Hayon” on The Woodruff Arts Center’s Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza. The site-specific installation by Spanish designer Jaime Hayon continues an innovative multiyear initiative to animate the outdoor space by engaging visitors in an interactive art experience.

On view from June 3 through November 2016, Hayon’s four large-scale wooden sculptures whimsically interpret the familiar shapes of animals or objects, such as a pig or a bell, in ways that inspire playfulness and joy. Each structure features a colorful pattern, ranging from polka dots to stripes, and sets of stairs and slides with openings specifically sized for children that encourage guests to interact with the sculptures. Transforming the piazza into an outdoor art gallery, playground and summer refuge, the sculptures create an atmosphere for socializing and recreation. “Tiovivo” will also become the stage for performances, art-making activities and special events co-organized with local partner institutions.

The installation builds on the success of the High’s 2014 and 2015 commissions “Mi Casa, Your Casa” and “Los Trompos” (“The Spinning Tops”), both created by Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena. Originally planned as a two-year project, the piazza activation program has been extended through 2017 with funding from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation through a grant to The Woodruff Arts Center.

“We’re extremely grateful to the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation for their generous support of this initiative. The dynamic and inspiring Jaime Hayon is a great choice for our third year of this interactive programming,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “This wonderful outdoor space continues to inspire unique opportunities to engage our visitors. We look forward to welcoming everyone to this summer’s incredible activation of the Sifly Piazza.”

To kick off the opening of the installation, Hayon will present a talk as part of the High’s Conversations with Contemporary Artists series on June 3, 2016, from 7 to 8 p.m. Visitors may also enjoy “Tiovivo” throughout Toddler Takeover at The Woodruff Arts Center (June 3-5, 2016). The High welcomes the community back for an evening party on June 10, 2016, from 7 to 10 p.m. to celebrate the new project in conjunction with the openings of the “Walker Evans: Depth of Field” and “The Rise of Sneaker Culture”exhibitions.

Following these opening celebrations, the High will present special programs on Friday evenings during the run of “Tiovivo,” which will include artistic pairings, live music and other performances. These programs will be collaborations with artists and performers across the Atlanta arts spectrum, from colleagues at the other Woodruff Arts Center partners (Alliance Theatre and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra) to Atlanta arts groups.

Midtown Alliance/MARTA Partnership

The High is partnering with Midtown Alliance and MARTA to expand the reach of “Tiovivo” by presenting designs by Hayon at the Arts Center MARTA station. Vibrantly colored window clings, which resemble stained glass and feature imagery related to “Tiovivo,” are featured on the bridge leading from the MARTA station to Arts Center Way (directly behind the High). Graphics with the same theme were applied to the pavers in the MARTA station plaza and up the staircase that leads to the Sifly Piazza, creating a path directly to the “Tiovivo” installation. Hayon’s designs animate the station area and complement a temporary transformation of the MARTA plaza with fun and colorful additions such as outdoor seating, a bike repair station, Little Free Libraries and a piano. These place-making enhancements are being implemented by Midtown Alliance to encourage activity at the station and to create a strong connection between transit and Midtown’s cultural assets.

About the High’s Piazza Activation Initiative

Co-curated by Sarah Schleuning, curator of decorative arts and design, and Virginia Shearer, the Eleanor McDonald Storza director of education, the High’s piazza activation initiative was launched in 2014 to explore how engagement with art and design can extend beyond the museum’s walls through dynamic installations enlivened by a variety of programs, art-making activities and other interactive features.

The High commissioned Esrawe and Cadena to design the first two installations for the project, “Mi Casa, Your Casa” and “Los Trompos” (“The Spinning Tops”). The pilot project, “Mi Casa, Your Casa,” featured 36 three-dimensional, vibrant-red frames shaped like houses installed in a large grid on the piazza. Hammocks and swings offered daytime leisure and recreation options. “Los Trompos” (“The Spinning Tops”) featured more than 30 functional tops in a variety of colors and shapes woven in a traditional Mexican style. For both installations, the High worked with local arts organizations and Woodruff Arts Center partners to present live performances and art-making activities themed around the structures. Those projects were enjoyed by a total of nearly 250,000 visitors.

The High’s piazza activation initiative is sponsored by a grant from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, which is part of the family of foundations that also includes the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. The Lettie Pate Evans Foundation is an independent private foundation that invests primarily in education, arts and culture.

About Jaime Hayon
Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayon was born in Madrid in 1974. His artistic vision was first fully exposed in the “Mediterranean Digital Baroque” (London, 2003) and “Mon Cirque” (2006) installations. Those collections put Hayon at the forefront of a new wave that blurred the lines between art, decoration and design and a renaissance in finely-crafted, intricate objects within the context of contemporary design culture. Hayon further defined his vision in subsequent solo exhibitions and shows at major galleries and art fairs all over the globe. Previous projects include the large, functional “The Tournament” chessboard installed during London’s Design Week 2009 (Trafalgar Square) and the “Funtastico” solo exhibition at the Groninger Museum (the Netherlands, 2013). In 2015, the High acquired Hayon’s “The Green Chicken” rocking chair (2008) for its decorative arts and design collection. “Tiovivo” is Hayon’s first major commission in the United States.

Hayon currently resides in Valencia, Spain, with offices in Barcelona and Treviso, Italy. His work has appeared in the most prestigious art and design publications worldwide, and he has won numerous awards, including multiple Elle Deco International Design awards. Hayon was included by Wallpaper Magazine in its “Design’s Top 100 Power List” and recognized by the magazine as one of the most influential creators of the last decade. He was also lauded as a “visionary” and one of the “most creative icons” by TIME magazine.

About the High Museum of Art
The High is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 15,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American art; a significant collection of historical and contemporary decorative arts and design; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography, folk and self-taught art and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists. Through its education department, the High offers programs and experiences that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. For more information about the High, visit

About The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is one of the largest arts centers in the world, home to the Tony Award–winning Alliance Theatre, the Grammy Award–winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Art, the leading art museum in the Southeast. Each year, these centers of artistic excellence play host to more than 1.2 million patrons at The Woodruff Arts Center’s midtown Atlanta location, one of the only arts centers in the United States to host both visual and performing arts on a single campus. The Woodruff Arts Center also offers remarkable educational programming through each of its arts partners. Through their combined efforts, The Woodruff Arts Center serves more than 200,000 students annually, is the largest arts educator in Georgia and is a premier family destination.

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Media contacts:

Marci Tate
Manager of Public Relations
High Museum of Art
Tel: 404-733-4585

Chelsea Beroza
Senior Account Executive
Resnicow + Associates
Tel: 212-671-5160