The High Museum of Art hosted its third annual Collectors Evening on Friday, January 20, 2012. The participants at the event voted to secure three new acquisitions for the Museum, including the first Museum acquisition of a work by the artist KAWS, titled “DOWN TIME” (2011); Marcel Wanders’s decorative arts and design piece “Crochet Chair” (2006); and the photograph “Lightning Fields 182” by Hiroshi Sugimoto (2009).
This event, established in 2010 to build and improve the Museum’s permanent collection, invites guests to take an active role in choosing the next work of art to join the collection. During the evening, each of the High’s curators presents a work of art as a potential new acquisition for their collection. Guests then cast their votes and the High purchases the works of art that receive the most votes.
More information about this year’s chosen works is below.
Decorative Arts and Design
Marcel Wanders’s “Crochet Chair” was the proposed acquisition for the High’s decorative arts and design collection. A modern, airy and surprisingly weight-bearing form made from a simple hand-crocheted fiber, “Crochet Chair” blurs the boundaries between craft and design. A playful twist on the traditional lace doily, Wanders transforms the conventional openwork textile from a decorative yet protective shield of furnishings into the form of the chair itself. Using epoxy resin and a mold to create a hard fabric skin or shell, this prototype was the genesis of a limited-edition series of 20. One of the first designers involved with the innovative Dutch design collective Droog and co-founder of Moooi, Wanders is an important international contemporary designer whose works continue to delight and inspire.
Modern and Contemporary Art
The modern and contemporary art department proposed “DOWN TIME,” a painting by KAWS. KAWS is a pseudonym for Brian Donnelly, who was first recognized in the early 1990s in New York City in connection with graffiti art and who later gained a broad following for his merchandise produced under the label Original Fake. At the same time, KAWS has produced several bodies of work in his studio consisting of paintings, sculptures and drawings which are in dialogue with his editioned objects made available through Original Fake. Internationally, KAWS has exhibited in cities such as Hong Kong, Paris. In the United States, KAWS has recently had solo exhibitions at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut, and Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles.
Hiroshi Sugimoto’s “Lightning Fields 182” was proposed by the photography department. Sugimoto is known for his elegant photographic series depicting subjects as diverse as seascapes, movie theaters and natural history dioramas. Widely admired as a master printer and one of the most important figures in contemporary photography, his work is held in museums worldwide. In recent years, Sugimoto has been experimenting with the application of electricity directly to unexposed film, creating images that are entirely photographic but made without the use of a camera and lens. After months of honing his technique with electrostatic currents in the darkroom, his forays have yielded a stunning series of prints that he calls “Lightning Field” pictures. The photographs are mesmerizing and rich in tonality, their electric shapes utterly abstract while simultaneously resembling the basic structures upon which natural forms are built. In “Lightning Fields 182,” the visual trace of an electrical charge measuring more than 400,000 volts sweeps across the composition from bottom right to upper left, reading in turns like the textures of a human hand, the upward-reaching leaves of a fern and the stark branches of a tree.