Thursday, September 29, 2016

Brett Abbott Leaving High, Headed to Texas

Brett Abbott, until recently the Donald and Marilyn Keough Family Curator of Photography and Head of Collections at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, has announced his resignation. 

Abbott will move to Fort Worth, Texas, to become Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, beginning late October. 

Abbott came to the High in 2011 from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where he served as associate curator of the department of photographs.

During his tenure at the High, Abbott supervised the acquisition of more than 2,000 prints to the museum's collection, and contributed significantly to the furthering of photography as a significant part of the High's mission as a repository of fine art. 

Abbott also worked with philanthropist and photographer Lucinda W. Bunnen to establish the museum’s first dedicated gallery space for photography.  

In addition, he worked with the museum's development officers to attract a number of major gifts in support of the High's photography collection, including a $2 million endowment from the Donald and Marilyn Keough Family to endow a permanent curator of photography position at the museum.

During his time at the High, Abbott also organized a number of notable exhibitions, including a retrospective of Wynn Bullock’s work. His legacy at the High is embodied in a soon-to-open show of new works from the internationally renowned German photographer Thomas Struth. 

The Struth show will open on October 16, and will will feature more than 30 pieces of new work by Struth, the first time any of this work has been seen in the USA.

I once had the opportunity to tour the High's photography exhibitions with Abbott as my guide, and I came away with a strong impression of his knowledge of photography, especially Southern photography, his awareness of current trends in fine art photography, and his commitment to making the High Museum the major museum of photography in the South. 

Abbott has certainly succeeded in his goals, and this success has earned him a promotion. 

Texas' gain is Atlanta's loss, but Abbott has built a strong foundation for future development of the photography collection under new leadership.

Thanks to Abbott for his leadership in Atlanta, and best wishes for all success in Fort Worth.  

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