Today we’re talking with the smart and creative person behind the public programs department at the High. Virginia Shearer is my blogging partner as well as the Associate Director of Public Programs. She’s picked a great artist to feature as her fav from the High’s permanent collection. Read on for the details:
Erin asked me to choose my favorite work of art in the High’s collection and to write about it for the blog. She asked a loooong time ago but I just kept putting it off. I love so many pieces in our collection I had a hard time choosing just one to write about. But the other day I was preparing to give a tour of the Museum to some 4 year olds and as I thought about what would be most appealing to children this age, I immediately thought about the Reverend Howard Finster and his Paradise Garden.
I have loved Howard Finster’s work since I was a teenager and I just knew that this group of pre-school children would appreciate his use of recognizable found objects like lanterns, marbles, broken tiles, and of course the bicycle. I also thought they would love his use of color and the many funny, smiling faces and winged people you encounter when you begin to really look at a Finster. And you know what ….I was right! We had such a great time looking at the pieces of Paradise Garden that are on display in the Folk Art collection and it reminded me of how proud I am to work at a museum that had the foresight to preserve this wonderful treasure created by a truly visionary Georgia artist.
If you don’t know who Howard Finster is, dust off your old copy of R.E.M.’s album Reckoning. He did the cover art when he was not working tirelessly on his monumental environmental artwork that came to be known as Paradise Gardens. It was located in Pennville, GA and it was an amazing sight to see in its day. I can still remember how magical it felt to finally see his wonderful installation in real life after reading about it in books and talking about it incessantly with friends. And if I start to forget that magical feeling, I can wander up to the skyway level of the Stent Family Wing and find it again.
Thank you to Virginia for sharing your favorite work, and next time you’re at the High make sure to visit Howard Finster’s work!
Until next time,