Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The man who shaped the face of Atlanta

“John Portman: Art & Architecture” is coming to the High Museum of Art, October 17, 2009-April 18, 2010. It will feature architectural projects and works of art by Atlanta-based architect and artist John Portman, whose innovative design philosophy helped make Atlanta the world-class city it is today.

It may be hard to imagine that fifty years ago Atlanta had less than a handful of skyscrapers. And it might also be difficult to fully appreciate the huge impact that Portman’s design for the Regency Hyatt Hotel had when it opened in 1967. With its multi-storied atrium lobby, see-through elevators, and a flying saucer-shaped revolving restaurant on its roof, the Hyatt quickly became a magnet for vacationers, business travelers, and Atlantans alike. But that was just the beginning.

By the early 1970s, Portman‘s business spaces, imaginatively broken up by restaurants, sidewalk cafes and fountains, served as prima-facie proof that Atlanta was new, progressive and attractive. The city looked at itself and liked what it saw. The nation and the world took notice, too.

Atlanta’s love affair with Portman’s urban expressionism continues. The city’s skyline bristles with Portman-designed and developed properties: Peachtree Center, Marriott Marquis Hotel, Merchandise Mart, Atlanta Hotel, Inforum, SunTrust Plaza, Westin Peachtree Plaza, and dozens more. Portman’s global activities include hundreds of distinctive commercial and residential projects around the U.S., Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia and the Americas.

Portman is also an artist who engages in a more personal artistic practice as a painter and sculptor. He created hundreds of paintings, sculptures and furnishings to adorn the rooms, corridors, and courtyards of his architectural developments, offices and homes.

The High Museum’s exclusive exhibition traces Portman’s more than fifty-year career, covering national and international projects with large-scale photographs, design plans, elevations, text, articles, and architectural models. The exhibition will also feature paintings and sculptures by Portman—most never before publicly exhibited.

The High Museum is located in midtown at 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA, 30309, 404-733-4444.

Visit the BINDERS website at!

1 comment:

  1. I can remember fondly celebrating my family's arrival to Atlanta in the early 70's with a meal at the Regency Hyatt. That was my first introduction to the gift of John Portman to this great city. One cannot be in the city and not be absolutely enthralled by his genius at every turn. I am excited about "Art and Architecture" at the High, honoring this wonderful individual who has graced us all with his vision throughout the years, and years to come. Thank you John Portman, and thank you High.