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News Room

High Museum of Art Unveils “Los Trompos” Installation on Sifly Piazza

April 24, 2015

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Interactive and site-specific installation on Woodruff Arts Center campus follows successful “Mi Casa, Your Casa” pilot project

 Community invited to celebrate opening on April 24

ATLANTA, April 24, 2015 – On April 24, 2015, the High Museum of Art unveils the second large-scale, interactive design installation by contemporary Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena on The Woodruff Arts Center’s Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza.

The site-specific work, titled “Los Trompos” (“The Spinning Tops”), continues a multi-year initiative to activate the outdoor space and engage visitors in a meaningful art experience upon entering the campus of The Woodruff Arts Center (of which the Museum is a partner). The installation builds on the success of 2014’s “Mi Casa, Your Casa” commission, for which Esrawe and Cadena dotted the piazza with three-dimensional open frames shaped like houses that invited visitor interaction. Originally planned as a two-year project, the Piazza activation program is extended through 2017 with funding from a recent grant to The Woodruff Arts Center from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

On view April 24 through Nov. 29, 2015, “Los Trompos” creates a destination outside the Museum where patrons can enjoy recreation, social interaction, performances, art-making activities and special events co-organized with local partner institutions.

For the unveiling on Friday, April 24, the High hosts opening night festivities from 6 to 9 p.m., which are free and open to the public and include a DJ spinning music on the piazza and food and drink for purchase. Admission to the Museum is half-price beginning at 4 p.m. on April 24.

As part of its Friday Night Lates series during the run of “Los Trompos,” the High will present evening programs on the piazza on the first and third Friday of each month. The programs will feature performances, live music and more from Atlanta arts organizations and colleagues at The Woodruff Arts Center (Alliance Theatre and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra). The High will also collaborate with The Institute of Mexican Culture to present family programming on the piazza on Sunday afternoons.

Below is the current schedule of performances/project partners:

  • May 1 – The Atlanta Opera
  • May 15 – Theater Argo
  • June 5 –Theater Argo, Dad’s Garage
  • June 19 – Dad’s Garage
  • July 17 – Ben Coleman, musician and sound designer
  • Aug. 7 – Ben Coleman, musician and sound designer
  • Aug. 21 – Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi
  • Sept. 4 – The Atlanta Opera
  • Sept. 4 – The Object Group
  • Sept. 18 – The Object Group
  • Oct. 2 – T. Lang Dance
  • Oct. 16 – T. Lang Dance
  • Nov. 6 – Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi

All programming is subject to change. For an up-to-date schedule of events, visit www.high.org.

As a blank canvas for community engagement and programming, “Los Trompos” draws its inspiration from the form of a spinning top, a toy popular with children around the world. The project features more than 30 three-dimensional, larger-than-life tops in a variety of colors and shapes, which are installed throughout the piazza. The colorful surfaces of each “top” are created in part by fabric woven in a traditional Mexican style. By working together, visitors may spin the tops on their bases as they interact with the structures. “Only through this interaction and collaboration will the work come to life and be complete,” said Cadena.

In addition to installing the tops on the Sifly Piazza, the High has partnered with Midtown Alliance to bring this interactive design installation from The Woodruff Arts Center campus to the streets of Midtown. Seven locations for the tops are currently planned throughout the district. To date, Midtown Alliance as well as its members including Bank of America Plaza, Cousins Properties, Franklin Street Properties, The Office of the Arts at Georgia Institute of Technology and Selig Enterprises, Inc. have agreed to contribute space and sponsor the extension of the project. A full list of locations is available at www.high.org.

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 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, building on a partnership established in 2013 with the designers for the exhibition “Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics, and Painting.” For that exhibition, the design team created twocontemporary reading rooms within the galleries. Based on visitor reactions to those installations, the High asked the designers to return to create a new intervention for its piazza space, which resulted in their creation of “Mi Casa, Your Casa.”

On view July 18 through Nov. 30, 2014, “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, and the High also worked with local arts organizations and The Woodruff Arts Center partners to present live performances and art-making activities in the houses. This pilot project was enjoyed by more than 100,000 visitors.

“We have been delighted by the response to this initiative, and we are very grateful to the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation for their support to continue this important work,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. director of the High. “Artistic engagement and enjoyment should begin as soon as visitors set foot on the Woodruff Arts Center campus, not just when entering its buildings. Having the opportunity to work with our Woodruff Arts Center partners and organizations throughout Atlanta to create these experiences for our community is invigorating.”

About the Designers

Two of the leading designers in Mexico today, Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena currently serve as designers-in-residence for the High. More than five years ago, they established their interdisciplinary design firm E+C. Esrawe is an award-winning industrial designer as well as a celebrated furniture, interior and product designer. Inspired by traditional Latin American design, architecture and folk art, Esrawe’s works are playful, sometimes humorous, and organic. Winner of the Bienal Iberoamericana de Diseño (2010) in the Interior Design Spaces category, Esrawe designed glassware for Nouvel Studio, with products available at Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Walker Art Center. Like Esrawe, Cadena also is creative director of his own firm, Cadena+Asoc. Branding. Cadena’s collaborative designs explore the boundaries between art and science. Cadena has said of design that it “is not a luxury anymore, it is a necessity. Everything around us is design and should revolve around the direct and aesthetic benefit of humans and planet earth.” To this end, his designs focus on visual concepts influenced by the world around us.

About the High Museum of Art

The High is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 14,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography, folk art and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists. For more information, visit high.org.

About The Woodruff Arts Center

The Woodruff Arts Center is one of the largest arts centers in the world, home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Arts for Learning. Each year, these arts organizations play host to over 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. Through its work with educators and schools, The Woodruff Arts Center serves over 300,000 students annually and is the largest arts educator in Georgia.

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DIGITAL IMAGES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

Media contacts:

Marci Tate
Manager of Public Relations
High Museum of Art
Tel: 404-733-4585
E-mail: marci.tate@woodruffcenter.org

Anne Randolph Powell
Public Relations Specialist
High Museum of Art
Tel : 404-733-4423
E-mail: annerandolph.powell@woodruffcenter.org