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Past Exhibitions

2018 Reinstallation | Permanent Collection

October 12, 2018–October 12, 2019

Refreshed. Reimagined. Revealed.

Visit our reinstalled collection galleries for a new experience at the High Museum of Art. With old favorites, new acquisitions, and previously stored artworks now on view, the redesigned collections embrace growth and diversity while creating dynamic and engaging experiences for our visitors.

“We are thrilled to complete this project and debut the reimagined galleries. We cannot wait for our audiences to experience the High in a whole new way. As the Atlanta community and the Southeast have grown and changed in the years since the Museum’s expansion, so has our collection. Our new galleries recognize and reflect those changes and celebrate the diverse artistic achievements represented in our holdings, drawn from across the region and well beyond.” –Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director, High Museum of Art

The reinstallation covers all seven of the High’s curatorial departments and highlights the collection’s growth since 2005 and key strengths while enhancing the visitor experience and improving accessibility throughout the High’s facilities. The Museum worked with internationally renowned architectural firm Selldorf Architects to complete all aspects of collection gallery design and renovation. Concurrent with the collection reinstallation, the Museum is doubling the footprint and completing a total redesign of the Greene Family Learning Gallery in collaboration with Roto design firm.


What to Expect

New Collection Galleries

Since the Museum’s expansion opened in 2005, the High has added more than 6,500 artworks to its collection, which now totals more than 17,000 objects. In an effort to feature the continual expansion of holdings across the Museum’s curatorial departments, we have not only allocated new galleries but also significantly reconfigured all curatorial departments and gallery spaces. Our renovated and redesigned galleries create new adjacencies and meaningful cross-departmental juxtapositions.

The reinstallation features iconic masterworks and presents recent acquisitions across departments, including artworks never on view before at the High, such as Kara Walker’s monumental cut-paper installation “The Jubilant Martyrs of Obsolescence and Ruin” and paintings and sculptures from the 2017 Souls Grown Deep Foundation acquisition of folk and self-taught art.

  • Refreshed. Over the course of the last thirteen years, the High has acquired thousands of new artworks. Pulling from both recent acquisitions and prior holdings, the newly reinstalled galleries will showcase our strengths across all seven collecting areas.
  • Reimagined. Working with new artworks and different spaces, curators were invited to take a fresh approach to how their collections relate to their gallery spaces. They also worked together to create connections across collecting areas, enriching the overall experience of the High’s permanent collection.
  • Diversified. The presentation of the collection, guided by the Museum’s dedication to diversity and inclusivity, showcases artworks relevant to communities from Atlanta and beyond. In addition to featuring key holdings by artists of color and women artists, the galleries incorporate selections from the High’s unparalleled holdings of works related to the southeastern United States, from historical decorative arts and folk and self-taught art to civil rights photography.
  • Optimized. Architects worked with the High’s staff to improve wayfinding, flow, and accessibility. To further enhance the visitor experience, the new galleries also provide more spots with seating to rest and reflect.
  • Protected for Posterity. As stewards of artworks for the community, Museum staff members take their jobs seriously. The reinstallation allowed Museum staff to address conservation needs, including restoring artworks, mitigating light levels, performing maintenance and repairs, and improving art storage and rotation. This work ensures the preservation of our collection for future generations.


Colorful glass panels hang dynamically in the High's Family Learning Gallery.

New Greene Family Learning Gallery

In October 1968, the High introduced its first dedicated space for families to learn, play and explore. Since then, our family spaces have incited the curiosity of millions of young visitors. To mark the 50th anniversary of the High’s commitment to family spaces, we are debuting a total redesign of the Greene Family Learning Gallery with all-new interactive environments created in collaboration with Roto design firm.

Located adjacent to the Robinson Atrium in the Stent Family Wing, the Greene Family Learning Gallery has expanded to include a 2,000-square-foot space across the hall from its previous footprint.

  • Expanded and Enhanced. The totally redesigned Greene Family Learning Gallery features two distinct spaces designed based on a set of guiding goals informed by years of visitor observation, community expert input and research. The first space, “CREATE,” is a bright and open studio devoted to developing young visitors’ art-making abilities and centered on the creative process. The newly created second space, “EXPERIENCE,” is a deeply immersive gallery that enables visitors to explore what art means, how it feels and where it can take us.
  • Fun and Engaging. Each space is a welcoming, safe and fun environment that is child-centered and child-directed with age-appropriate activities for infants through age 8. Each gallery space features a “quiet room” with activities designed for reflection as well as an area specifically for toddlers.
  • High Tech and Hands On. The open-ended, intuitive, multi-sensory elements of the spaces were designed to be inclusive and combine cutting-edge technology with hands-on activities.



Highlights from the Collection Galleries

Click on an image below to learn more.

“A museum collection is dynamic — always growing and evolving — so this opportunity has allowed us to thoughtfully revisit our existing presentations and reinstall the artworks in ways that resonate anew with our audiences.”
–Kevin W. Tucker, Chief Curator

Curator Snapshot

Stephanie Heydt headshot.

Stephanie Heydt
Margaret & Terry Stent Curator of American Art

How have you reframed your collection and what do you hope visitors will take away?
I hope this new installation will draw visitors’ attention to the strengths in the High’s collection. Seeing things in a new light can lead to exciting discoveries!

What are you most proud of in your reinstalled galleries?
I love the new pacing in the galleries—with moments of wonderful density with our salon walls, and then zones that have more of an airy feel. A few walls gesture towards context—we wanted to give our visitors a sense for how these objects most likely would have been enjoyed in the 19th century in someone’s home.

What is your favorite object in another curator’s collection area?
I love the vista from the 4th floor of Stent across to the Julie Mehretu canvas in the Wieland Skyway. It looks magical.
Do you love American art? Support the High by becoming a Friend of the American Art Collection.


Claudia Einecke
Frances B. Bunzl Family Curator of European Art

How have you reframed your collection and what do you hope visitors will take away?
I like the subtle rhythm of the new galleries, the way they flow one into another and at the same time create discrete spaces. Paintings and sculptures can be seen in dialogue across rooms, reflecting the stylistic ruptures and continuities in the long history of European art.

What are you most proud of in your reinstalled galleries?
I am very happy with the way sculptures punctuate the European galleries, giving relief and depth to the paintings with which they are displayed. I especially enjoy the group of imaginary heads and masks by Gauguin, Carriès, and Rosso in the 19th century gallery (Gallery 207).

What is your favorite object in another curator’s collection area?
As a newcomer to Atlanta and to the High, I am amazed and delighted by just about everything to see in the various collections. There are too many engaging works to single out just one favorite. One is Nandipha Mntambo’s Minotuarus, a powerful bronze figure that I find both beautiful and unsettling. In contrast, Fragile Future 3.13 (the “dandelion lamp”) by designers Lonneke Gorijns and Ralph Nauta is pure ethereal lightness and joy.
Do you love European art? Support the High by becoming a Friend of the European Art Collection.


Headshot of curator Katherine Jentleson.

Katherine Jentleson
The Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self‑Taught Art

How have you reframed your collection and what do you hope visitors will take away?
The folk and self-taught art collection will look very different because of the new acquisitions that are debuting, including dozens of works from our 2017 Souls Grown Deep acquisition. There will also be a lot of conversations across the collection between artists who are kindred spirits despite being classified in different departments, whether American, African, Modern and Contemporary, Photography, or Decorative Arts.

What are you most proud of in your reinstalled galleries?
I am proud of how this more integrated and eclectic presentation of self-taught artists will continue the ethos of our summer show, Outliers and American Vanguard Art, by mixing self-taught and trained artists, as well as highlight our leading collections of work by Bill Traylor, Howard Finster, Nellie Mae Rowe, and Thornton Dial in new ways.

What is your favorite object in another curator’s collection area?
The Arthur Jafa film Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death, which will be shown in a new black box space in the modern and contemporary galleries, is one of the most powerful and heartbreaking works of art I have ever seen. Jafa’s message about the disconnect between the elevation of black culture and the degradation of black people forces a necessary and difficult reflection for our painfully divided society.
Do you love folk and self-taught art? Support the High by becoming a Friend of the Folk and Self-Taught Art Collection.


Michael Rooks headshot.

Michael Rooks
Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

How have you reframed your collection and what do you hope visitors will take away?
The contemporary collection has been reorganized to consider history in several different ways, offering opportunities for the audience to reframe history according to their individual experiences and through the lens of contemporaneity.

What are you most proud of in your reinstalled galleries?
I’m most proud of our new media space, specifically, and the adjacencies we’ve created in general between and among works by artists young and old.

What is your favorite object in another curator’s collection area?
Minotaurus in the African Collection!
Do you love modern and contemporary art? Support the High by becoming a Friend of the Modern and Contemporary Art Collection.


Greg Harris headshot

Gregory Harris
Associate Curator of Photography

How have you reframed your collection and what do you hope visitors will take away?
Our first exhibition in the new Photography galleries is a survey of the history of photography told through 6 thematic groups that look at different ways artists make photographs, the array of subjects they choose to focus on, or ways of understanding how photography works. We’re featuring some of our most prized and iconic prints as well as some hidden gems from our collection of over 7,000 photographs. I hope visitors will be able to get a sense for how varied photographs can be and how the medium opens up many different ways to engage with the world. Because photographs are sensitive to light, we’ll be changing the installation every 6 months, so visitors should come back regularly to see what we have on view.

What are you most proud of in your reinstalled galleries?
I’m most proud of the vital presence the photography department now has in the museum. It’s transformative and allows us to share our amazing collection with audiences in a way that previously wasn’t possible.

What is your favorite object in another curator’s collection area?
I love the new sculpture court and the whirligig installation in the Folk & Self-Taught galleries!
Do you love photography? Support the High by becoming a Friend of the Photography Collection.



More to Explore

Detail from a Kara Walker artwork featuring a black silhouetted image of a figure holding a tattered flag standing on top of a pile of severed limbs.

Kara Walker Interactive
In 2017, The High Museum acquired Kara Walker’s The Jubilant Martyrs of Obsolescence and Ruin. This important work addresses racial prejudice and inequality embedded in contemporary society. Using racist stereotypes and the graphic depiction of violence, Walker parodies the genteel, old fashioned form of miniature silhouette portraiture popular in the 1800s. This interactive allows visitors to learn more about the symbolism behind each silhouette and the history Walker references throughout the work.

Explore the Kara Walker Interactive

Henry Inman Portraits Interactive
The High Museum of Art is fortunate to hold in its collection eighteen portraits of Native American leaders by Henry Inman, twelve of which joined the collection in 2017 as a major gift from Atlanta philanthropists Ann and Tom Cousins. In addition, the High holds twelve portraits on long term loan from Cousins Properties, Inc. The newly installed American Art galleries feature fifteen of these portraits, and this interactive allows visitors to learn more about the history of the portraits as a group, and the biographies of each of the sitters.

Explore the Henry Inman Interactive

Reinstallation Catalogue
In conjunction with the reinstallation, the High will publish a full-color, 144-page catalogue highlighting iconic works within each of the Museum’s seven collecting areas.

Purchase your copy from the High’s online Shop or at the Museum.


Check out our reinstallation announcement press release and our reinstallation unveiling press release for more information. For periodic updates on our reinstallation progress, visit our blog.

Organization and Support

Organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta
The reinstallation of the Permanent Collection is made possible by

Logo for CIBC Private Wealth Management.
The Sara Giles Moore Foundation
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
Mark and Judith Taylor

Platinum Supporters

Robin and Hilton Howell
Harriet Warren

Additional support provided by

Logo for Christies in a black serif text.