Press RoomPress ReleasesHigh Museum of Art to Present “Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys”

High Museum of Art to Present "Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys"

July 1, 2024

Amy Sherald (American, born 1973), Deliverance, 2022, oil on linen, The Dean Collection, courtesy of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys. © Amy Sherald. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Joseph Hyde.

Exclusive venue in the Southeastern United States for the exhibition featuring nearly 100 works by important Black American, African and African diasporic artists including Gordon Parks, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald

“Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys”
Sept. 13, 2024-Jan. 19, 2025

ATLANTA, July 1, 2024 — The High Museum of Art will be the exclusive venue in the Southeastern United States to present “Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys” (Sept. 13, 2024-Jan. 19, 2025), the first major exhibition of the world-class art collection owned by musical and cultural icons Swizz Beatz (Kasseem Dean) and Alicia Keys.

Organized by the Brooklyn Museum, where it debuted in February, “Giants” will feature a focused selection from the couple’s holdings, spotlighting works by multigenerational Black diasporic artists, from 20th century legends such as Nick Cave, Lorna Simpson and Barkley L. Hendricks, to artists of a younger generation including Deana Lawson, Amy Sherald and Ebony G. Patterson, who are expanding the legacies of those who came before them.

“We are honored to present these extraordinary artworks from the Deans’ unparalleled collection, which features some of the most important artists of the 20th and 21st centuries,” said the High’s Director Rand Suffolk. “Many of these artists are featured in the High’s collection, and they also include two previous recipients of our David C. Driskell Prize: Ebony G. Patterson and Amy Sherald. So, it’s fitting for us to bring this exhibition to Atlanta.”

“Giants” stands as a testament to the Deans’ ethos of “collecting and preserving the culture of ourselves for ourselves, now and into the future.” Through approximately 115 objects, including 98 major artworks, the exhibition will trace the evolution of an audacious and ambitious collection and explore the ways in which the featured artists and their work have grappled with societal issues, embraced monumentality and made a palpable impact on the art canon. In addition to paintings, photographs and sculptures, the galleries will include noteworthy examples of the Deans’ early non-art collecting interests, including albums, musical equipment and BMX bikes, along with related ephemera.

Born and raised New Yorkers, the couple have been making music for decades and have cultivated diverse passions across music, art and culture. Swizz began his career working first as a DJ and later as a performer and producer for his family’s record label, Ruff Ryders, at the age of 17. Keys, a 16-time Grammy Award-winning artist, learned to play the piano as a child, releasing her hit debut album when she was 20 years old.

Paying homage to legendary elder artists, the section “On the Shoulders of Giants” features work by artists who have left an indelible mark on the world. In her large, colorful abstract paintings, Esther Mahlangu reimagines the long-standing tradition of South African Ndebele house painting. The legacy of portrait and street photography are exemplified in the works of Kwame Brathwaite, Malick Sidibé and Parks, the last of which the Deans hold the largest private collection. These internationally renowned photographers documented moments of self-presentation and pride, as well as everyday life and sociopolitical milestones. They, along with artists such as Jean Michel Basquiat, Ernie Barnes and Hendricks, not only captured the moment in which they lived but also laid the foundation for current and future generations of artists.

The “Giant Conversations” section explores how artists have always critiqued and commented on the world around them. The artists on view address a range of issues Black people have faced throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Simpson’s “Tense” (1991) considers Black women’s self-representation within an environment where others often define that representation. Cave’s textured sculptures examine how Black people, particularly men, must assume costumes to conceal and protect themselves against violence. Other artists such as Jerome Lagarrigue and Henry Taylor present issues of protest and lack of visibility due to homelessness.

Works on view also celebrate Blackness and champion the beauty, resilience, distinctiveness, connection and joyousness within communities across the globe. Over a dozen photographs by Jamel Shabazz honor the everyday people walking the streets of New York from the 1980s to the present. Defying stereotypical depictions of his country by the West, Hassan Hajjaj captures Morocco’s female henna artists in one photograph on view. Sherald’s large-scale diptych portrays Baltimore, Maryland, dirt bike culture and the joyful freedom that comes with riding—a passion Swizz shares.

The “Giant Presence” section of the exhibition offers an impressive finale of monumental artworks. Nina Chanel Abney’s “Catfish” (2017) is a visual provocation about sexual and financial exchange between individuals in a colorful, almost cartoonish, setting. Paintings by Titus Kaphar and Meleko Mokgosi also use scale to emphasize powerful themes that resonate across history.

“Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys” will be presented in the Cousins Special Exhibition Galleries on the second Level of the High’s Wieland Pavilion.

Exhibition Catalogue
The accompanying exhibition catalogue is published by Phaidon and features a foreword by Brooklyn Museum Director Anne Pasternak, interviews with artists in the Dean Collection, and a conversation between the Deans and exhibition curator Kimberli Gant.

Exhibition Organization and Support
“Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys” is organized by the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibition is curated by Kimberli Gant, curator, modern and contemporary art, and Indira A. Abiskaroon, curatorial assistant, modern and contemporary art, Brooklyn Museum.

This exhibition is made possible by Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor Delta Air Lines, Inc.; Premier Exhibition Series Supporters Mr. Joseph H. Boland, Jr., Harry Norman Realtors, wish Foundation; Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporters Robin and Hilton Howell; Ambassador Exhibition Series Supporters Loomis Charitable Foundation, Mrs. Harriet H. Warren; Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters Farideh and Al Azadi, Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones, Megan and Garrett Langley, Margot and Danny McCaul, Wade A. Rakes II and Nicholas Miller, Belinda Stanley-Majors and Dwayne Majors; Generous support is also provided by Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund, USI Insurance Services.

About the High Museum of Art
Located in the heart of Atlanta, the High Museum of Art connects with audiences from across the Southeast and around the world through its distinguished collection, dynamic schedule of special exhibitions and engaging community-focused programs. Housed within facilities designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano, the High features a collection of more than 19,000 works of art, including an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self-taught work, especially that of artists from the American South; burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, new media and design; a growing collection of African art, with work dating from prehistory through the present; and significant holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to reflecting the diversity of its communities and offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. For more information about the High, visit

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