"Vik Muniz." A celebrated fixture on the contemporary art scene, the Brazilian-born Muniz's cheeky, perceptive, imaginative retrospective proved both the High's growing ambition to present challenging work and Atlanta's willingness — in this well-attended show — to embrace the cutting-edge.
"Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink." Bill Yates' series of 1970s-era black-and-white photographs of a Tampa roller skating rink and its hard-partying denizens was a window into the past and a celebration of small-town grit and glamour spotlighted at Hathaway gallery.
"Black Chronicles II." A mesmerizing deep dive into history, this exhibition at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art featured 19th-century portraiture of black subjects: anonymous children, students, circus acts, entertainers and sports heroes. The show enhanced our understanding of history and of the black experience, offering up fascinating photographs that melted away divides of time and place.
"Cheryl Goldsleger: Recent Works." This Georgia artist's cerebral, haunting images of surveillance, of distant lands seen from above, materialized our contemporary angst in an increasingly knowledgeable but disconnected world.
"Mary Addison Hackett: A Tin of Egyptian Cigarettes." This delightfully wacky show at Midtown's Marcia Wood Gallery from a Nashville-based painter who reveled in the ordinary oddities of home and hearth often featured portraits of ordinary stuff, from Cuisinarts to coffee pots. Hackett's small format charm and a lo-fi wit brought humility and heart to contemporary painting.
"Fever Within: The Art of Ronald Lockett." Proving folk art can hold its own against museum-caliber contemporary work, this profound, heartbreaking exhibition paid long overdue tribute to an Alabama self-taught artist who tackled big issues of racial injustice and the Holocaust in his work, but also went micro in his empathetic tributes to family and the natural world.
"The Rise of Sneaker Culture." Like some of the High's populist shows ("Dream Cars," "The Coca-Cola Bottle") meant to pack in the crowds, this crowd-pleaser put a more diverse, millennial audience in its crosshairs. But this buzzy tribute to the all-American fashion and sportswear item, status symbol, subculture delineator, generational dividing line and creative and technological playground, expanded notions of design and the historical significance or ordinary objects.