Exhibition: Material Georgia 1733–1900: Two Decades of Scholarship
This exhibition will review 20 years of scholarly activity at the Henry D. Green Center for the Study of the Decorative Arts. It will include numerous examples of furniture, textiles, pottery and metal work, present a synthesis of Green Center work, show new research and point the way for future research in Georgia-related decorative arts.
“Material Georgia” takes a comprehensive look at Georgia’s diverse contributions to early decorative arts as well as summarizing the scholarship of the past 20 years. It focuses on revealing new discoveries made in the field, pointing a way forward and making the case Georgia can hold its own against any other state in terms of the quality of its decorative arts. “Material Georgia” surveys Georgia decorative art in media including furniture, silver, pottery, textiles, basketry and portraits. Georgia has had a troubled history, shaped by the system of slavery and widespread inequality, but its diverse material culture tells about the lives of all its people.
The exhibition includes the largest group of 18th-century pieces of Georgia furniture on view yet, demonstrating both cultural influences and regional style. It also reintroduces the museum’s silver collection in light of new findings and will put forward fresh material on political silver. Recent discoveries show that, contrary to prior belief, silver was made in Georgia and its market affected national trends, social history and food culture. Pottery is one of the best documented forms of applied art in Georgia, and the Green Center’s collection has grown into a broad and representative sampling. “Material Georgia” presents areas of the craft that have not been previously researched and makes resonant historical connections. Notably, the exhibition features work by Lucius Jordan, Georgia’s earliest native-born prominent trained potter. It also includes significant textiles woven by yeoman women farmers, African-style baskets and portraits. These categories of craft do not cover every part of Georgia decorative arts, but the exhibition contextualizes different media and objects within the state’s cultural history. As a whole, this exhibition shows how Georgia’s early decorative art is relevant to the region and to the nation.
It is accompanied by an extensively illustrated book published by the museum.
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