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Archive for October, 2012

Culture notes: A photo tour of America; Ludwig Symphony opens 15th season

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

VISUAL ART
Grace exhibit, book channel the American scene 
Long-time photojournalist Arthur Grace is based in Los Angeles, but Atlanta must be starting to feel like a second home right about now.

“Choose Me: Arthur Grace’s Portraits of a Presidential Race,” a selection of his pictures taken for Newsweek magazine during the 1988 campaign, is on view at the High Museum of Art through Jan. 6.

Meanwhile, Fall Line Press, the Atlanta-based photography publisher/bookstore/reading room, has just released its second volume, Grace’s “America 101” ($58.50).

In his essay for the book containing 101 career-spanning black and white photographs, High Museum of Art photography curator Brett Abbott writes that it “could not be more relevant as a critical reflection and historical lesson on America’s cultural preoccupations over the past four decades”

Fall Line is  in TULA Arts Center, 75 Bennett St., Suite B1, Atlanta.

Grace has three prior photography …

Continue reading Culture notes: A photo tour of America; Ludwig Symphony opens 15th season »

Culture notes: Suzis to honor Theatre in Square, ‘Mountaintop’ playwright speaks, ‘Blue Man’ returning

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

THEATER
Posthumous award for Theatre in the Square
The 2011-12 Suzi Bass Awards, Atlanta’s version of the Tonys, will honor Marietta’s now-defunct Theatre in Square during the 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5 ceremony at the DeKalb County’s Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center.

The troupe, which closed its doors in March after 30 years, will receive the Spirit of Suzi Award, recognizing a person or organization that demonstrates a long-term contribution to Atlanta theater and that embodies the spirit of the late actress for whom the awards organization is named.

Founded in 1982 by Palmer Wells and the late Michael Horne, Theatre in the Square became the largest arts non-profit in Cobb County, employing a dozen staff members and annually hiring more than 140 theater artists who helped reach more than 50,000 yearly.

In a decision that shocked many in the Atlanta theater community during the pits of the recession, its board of directors decided to close the …

Continue reading Culture notes: Suzis to honor Theatre in Square, ‘Mountaintop’ playwright speaks, ‘Blue Man’ returning »

Book review: ‘Life After Death’ by Damien Echols

Book review
NONFICTION
“Life After Death”
by Damien Echols
Blue Rider Press, 399 pages, $26.95

By Steve Weinberg

093012 life after death_1Youngsters like Damien Echols are depressingly common in the United States, lost within perhaps the richest nation that has ever existed. The difference is that even the most neglected and abused youngsters rarely end up convicted of murder as teenagers and sent to Death Row for crimes they never committed.

Also rare is a wrongful conviction book by an alleged perpetrator who is now back in society, released from prison. As knowledge of wrongful convictions becomes increasingly widespread, books about individual cases and about the overall phenomenon arrive, one after the other. (As a journalist who investigates and sometimes writes about wrongful convictions, I own several hundred such books.) Fewer than a dozen of those carry the name of the exonerated individual as author. To be candid, most of the wrongfully convicted lack the tools to read and write well, if at …

Continue reading Book review: ‘Life After Death’ by Damien Echols »

Culture notes: Tellus launches capital campaign; KSU-Rialto forge dance partnership

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Nearing 1 million visitors since opening in January 2009, Cartersville’s Tellus Science Museum has kicked off a $1.2 million capital campaign.

The goal of the “Vision for the Future” campaign is to enhance the museum-going experience by importing special exhibits, upgrading the planetarium projector and adding more hands-on exhibits to permanent galleries.

The museum already had raised nearly $400,000 at the drive’s launch, and director Jose Santamaria announced the 3M Foundation has issued a $100,000 challenge in which it will match every new donation. Tellus has until Nov. 30 to raise the matching funds.

Santamaria said spaces in the Weinman Mineral Gallery, the Collins Family My Big Backyard attraction, and Science in Motion Gallery would be converted for traveling exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution and other museums.

Notable events coming soon to Tellus include a mineral collecting and identification workshop, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. …

Continue reading Culture notes: Tellus launches capital campaign; KSU-Rialto forge dance partnership »

Culture notes: Day of the Dead at History Center; French culture celebration

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Shocking haunted houses and cheesy horror flicks conspire to scare the life out of those in the mood for Halloween fright, but the Mexican-rooted Day of the Dead observance takes matters in a different direction. It’s a chance to honor deceased loved ones while celebrating the continuity of life.

Celebration is the operative word at the Atlanta History Center’s 11th annual Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos observance on Oct. 28. Visitors of all ages will partake of folkloric dance, mariachi and marimba music, storytelling, an exhibit of elaborately decorated altars designed to honor lost family and friends, festive Latin colors and authentic Mexican food.

The History Center, which presents the free, mostly outdoor event in collaboration with the Instituto de Mexico and the Mexican Consulate, is making a special offer this year to Day of the Dead guests of half-off admission to the history museum, historic houses and gardens.

Noon-5 p.m. Oct. …

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Gudmund Vigtel, former High Museum director, dies at 87

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Gudmund Vigtel, the High Museum of Art’s leader from 1963 to 1991, died Saturday at age 87.

Vigtel placed the building blocks that helped support the High’s emergence as a respected art showplace and as an exhibiting partner of esteemed national and international institutions such as the  Museum of Modern Art and the Louvre.

New on the job, he helped open the High’s home in the Memorial Arts Center, built in honor of the more than 100 Atlantans who perished in an airplane accident at Orly field in France in 1962. And he led the charge to construct, in 1983, the Richard Meier-designed Peachtree Street landmark pitched as “a museum big enough for Atlanta.”  

He remained a comrade to current High Museum director Michael Shapiro, meeting him regularly, until Vigtel’s health faltered, for lunch, art talk and free advice.

Read an obituary by long-time AJC art critic Catherine Fox, who covered Vigtel and High starting in 1981, at artsatl.com. The …

Continue reading Gudmund Vigtel, former High Museum director, dies at 87 »

Culture notes: After 33 years, co-founders usher in new leadership at 7 Stages; ART Station theater lineup

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

THEATER
After 33 years, co-founders usher in new leadership at 7 Stages

7 Stages, the longtime Little 5 Points troupe whose stagings frequently show a strong activist streak, has announced a passing of the torch.

Though artistic director Del Hamilton and producing director Faye Allen, who co-founded the company in 1979, will remain active as artistic associates, they have announced a new handpicked artistic and management team, a rare occurrence in Atlanta theater.

Heidi S. Howard, 7 Stages’ education director and production manager, will assume the role of artistic director in January. Michael Haverty, director of the Object Group, will join as associate artistic director. And Mack Headrick, director of finance and operations, will rise to managing director.

Allen said that watching Howard and Headrick develop their talents for more than a decade made it clear that a national search for new leaders was unnecessary.

Howard said she was ready …

Continue reading Culture notes: After 33 years, co-founders usher in new leadership at 7 Stages; ART Station theater lineup »

Culture notes: Political faceoff with paints at Goat Farm; new public art in Southwest Atlanta

PERFORMANCE ART
Political piledriver at Goat Farm

Renaissancicans, Contemporaricrats, Urbtarians.

No, these are not misspellings. They are, in the mind of Atlanta painter and performance artist Fabian Williams, artistic political parties. He and the members of his World Wide Art Federation intend to bring those parties to life Oct. 17 at the Goat Farm Arts Center in an artistic battle between four up-and-coming Atlanta painters.

“I’m a political junkie,” Williams said. “I watch CNN for fun.”

As Williams put it, think of what would happen if Picasso and Matisse were put into a ring and forced to have a paint-off. Think of a brawl waged with acrylic paint. Williams has been holding these WWAF events for the past couple of years at various venues around town, with each battle based on a different theme.

This season’s presidential race is the topic for this battle. The artists, each representing one of the artistic political parties, will paint a piece …

Continue reading Culture notes: Political faceoff with paints at Goat Farm; new public art in Southwest Atlanta »

Culture notes: Elevate public art schedule; changes at KSU arts; Jennifer Schwartz pop up photo exhibit

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Having elevated the Underground Atlanta area with temporary public art last year, the city of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs returns with its second Elevate series later this month across a broader swath of downtown.

The contemporary art series rolls Oct. 19-27. All events are free and open to the public.

Elevate 2012 highlights include:

  • 8-11 p.m. Oct. 19: Unveiling of “Banho de Luz,” a mixed-media installation and interactive video featuring the art of Lillian Blades, Linda Costa and Roni Nicole Henderson., at the Carnegie Education Pavilion in Hardy Ivy Park, Peachtree and Baker streets. A LED light-studded, quilted drapery will envelop the pavilion, with projected images creating a “light painting.” With music by Yamin Semali.
  • Noon-2 p.m. Oct. 20: Elevate Downtown 5K Run/Walk and Artwork Tour, featuring prints by Jessica Caldas and large-scale sculpture by Randy Walker and Adrian Barzaga. Tours conducted by the civic group Back On …

Continue reading Culture notes: Elevate public art schedule; changes at KSU arts; Jennifer Schwartz pop up photo exhibit »