Atlanta Life and Culture

The AJC Features Team spotlights arts previews, reviews, profiles, news features and breaking news on Atlanta's cultural and life scene.

High chief curator to lead Indiana University museum; Jones is Emerging Artist winner

A leader who wears many hats simultaneously at the High Museum of Art with seeming ease, David Brenneman will be leaving the Atlanta institution where he has worked for 20 years to become director of the Indiana University Art Museum.

The High’s director of collections and exhibitions, chief curator and European art curator, Brenneman will step down in early June and assume his new role in Bloomington in July.

“David has contributed significantly to many special exhibition projects, the dramatic growth of the permanent collection and the overall professionalism of the High’s seven curatorial departments,” High director Michael Shapiro wrote in a note last week to the High’s staff. “He has long been a very talented, trusted and deeply valued colleague.”

Late last year, Shapiro announced his intention to retire on July 31 after his own 20-year run at the High helm. Now, with Brenneman’s imminent departure, the museum’s board is tasked with ushering in a new era of curatorial leadership.

Among many credits, Brenneman played a key role in the multi-year Louvre Atlanta exhibition series; served as managing curator of high-profile loan exhibitions including “Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis”; organized High exhibits including “Toulouse Lautrec and Friends: The Stein Collection”; and co-led the renovation and reinstallation of the Stent Family Wing.

The Atlanta museum’s permanent collection has grown in quality and quantity during his tenure, especially since the 2005 opening of Renzo Piano-designed Wieland Pavilion.

“David Brenneman possesses an exceptional amount of experience and expertise in the art museum field,” IU President Michael A. McRobbie said in the school’s announcement. “We are fortunate to welcome such a highly accomplished and admired administrator, scholar and curator.”

His charge at IU, according to the announcement, is to heighten ethnic and gender diversity in its collections, exhibitions and daily operations; create more interactive cultural experiences; and forge international exhibition partnerships.

In Atlanta, he always has exhibited great enthusiasm for High programs and art in general, a quality he’ll no doubt take with him.

“I love art,” Brenneman said in the IU announcement. “I love it so much that I made a profession out of it. I want to experience it and live it, and I want to help other people experience and live it, too.”

Jones named 2015-16 Emerging Artist

The Forward Arts Foundation has selected Kelly Kristin Jones as winner of its 2015-16 Emerging Artist Award. Her work will be featured in spring 2016 at the Swan Coach House Gallery.

This annual award, of which Jones is the 17th recipient, is presented to an Atlanta artist who has not yet had a major solo show and is not connected with a commercial gallery. The winning artist, who receives a $10,000 prize, is selected by a panel of arts community leaders.

Primarily a photographer, Jones most recently has worked on a project responding to vacant urban spaces in the Southeast. "I utilize various methods and materials to map Southern cities and illuminate empty lots," she writes on her website. "Diverse iterations and installations all tap into and reflect the blight and optimism neighborhoods attempt to navigate."

2015-16 finalists to be included in the exhibition (and also receiving $2,000 prizes each) are Dustin Chambers, Antonio Darden, Pastiche Lumumba and Vanessa Williams.

Meanwhile, the Swan Coach House Gallery will open the exhibit of 2014-15 Emerging Artist Award winner Amandine Drouet with a public reception 6-9 p.m. April 16.

Also showing are finalists Jessica Caldas, Chris Chambers, Henry Detweiler and Chantelle Rytter.

There will be an artist workshop and informal discussion by Droulet, known for abstract fiber-based works and installations that incorporate found objects, at 11 a.m. April 25.

Through May 27. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. 3130 Slaton Drive N.W., Atlanta. 404-266-2636,

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The AJC Features Team spotlights arts previews, reviews, profiles, news features and breaking news on Atlanta's cultural and life scene.