High Museum exhibit a dream come true for Fahamu Pecou; museum acquires four works at Collectors Evening

Fahamu Pecou stands in the High Museum of Art gallery where his Imagining New Worlds" exhibit is on view. It's the Atlanta artist's first solo show at the High. CONTRIBUTED BY GANNON

Credit: hpousner

Credit: hpousner

Fahamu Pecou stands in the High Museum of Art gallery where his Imagining New Worlds" exhibit is on view. It's the Atlanta artist's first solo show at the High. CONTRIBUTED BY GANNON

Fahamu Pecou's first solo exhibit at the High Museum of Art opened last weekend, just as his first solo exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia was closing. And just around the bend is another solo show opening at Paris' Backslash Gallery in June.

It’s a heady time for the Atlanta artist, whose works address contemporary representations of black masculinity, commenting in the process on hip-hop, fine art and popular culture.

He and Brooklyn artist José Parlá were invited by the High Museum to produce solo shows that reflect on the concurrent exhibit of the late Spanish surrealist Wifredo Lam, "Imagining New Worlds." Pecou's show includes mixed-media paintings on canvas, screenprints and, most uniquely, a sound station with headphones that invites museum-goers to take on the role of co-creator, producing their own musical compositions inspired by hip-hop and DJ culture.

The High has never had anything like it, for sure.

Asked, with everything else going on his career, if it was meaningful to have a solo exhibit in his adopted hometown, Pecou nodded affirmatively, and responded with remarkable humility.

“I grew up mostly in South Carolina,” said the Brooklyn-born artist, 39, who moved south with his young siblings to be raised by a great aunt after a family tragedy. “In the town that I lived in (Hartsville), there were no such things as an art gallery or museum. Growing up, I was just the boy who liked to draw.

“Then I came here to Atlanta, to the Atlanta College of Art, with aspirations of being an artist. At that time (1993-97) I was planning to be an animation major, what I thought I could do to be able to be an artist. So I got here and I remember a friend who used to come to my dorm room all the time, and I’d be drawing my cartoons and stuff, and she was like,’Those cartoons are cool and everything but come over with me to this museum and look at these paintings.’

“And she would bring me to the High Museum and we’d walk through the galleries and look at the work and it just really blew my mind. I can remember back then thinking, ‘One day I want to be in the High Museum,’ and here I am.”

Through May 24. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays (until 9 p.m. Fridays), noon-5 p.m. Sundays. $19.50; $16.50 ages 65 and older and students (ID required); $12 ages 6-17. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-733-4444, high.org.

Alex Prager's "Simi Valley" (2014) was one of the works acquired through the High Mseum of Art's Fifth Annual Collectors Evening.

Credit: hpousner

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Credit: hpousner

High acquires four works at Collectors Evening

The High Museum has added four significant works to its permanent collection as the result of the fifth annual Collectors Evening held Jan. 31.

The 300-plus guests at the at the St. Regis Atlanta event voted to select Lyle Ashton Harris’ silver foil print “Untitled (Silver Handcuffs)” (2007); Alex Prager’s large-scale photograph “Simi Valley” (2014); Vilhelm Kyhn’s painting “Girl at a Window” (ca. 1870); and a Qur’an (ca. 16th-17th century) from Timbuktu, Mali.

Prager's more than 8-foot-wide photograph "Simi Valley," will be featured in a High exhibition opening Feb. 28, "The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100." The other works will go on view in the museum's permanent collection galleries by April.

Decriptions of the newly acquired works here.