ABOUT TOWN: Arts center in West Midtown announces big expansion
Plus comedy, art shows, photography, pottery, spiders, John Cusack and a couple of haute couture icons
The Goat Farm, West Midtown’s cultural hub since 2010, has announced a significant expansion to its 12-acre campus that will begin construction in the spring, a press release announced, making it one of Atlanta’s largest centers for contemporary thought, art and performance. The growth plans comprise three new buildings in addition to the twelve existing structures, resulting in half a million square feet of art studios, live spaces, creative offices, and various multidisciplinary and exhibition venues. A restaurant, bar, and cafe as well as an art bookshop are to be opened on the premises as well.
The campus will house artist-in-studio residency programs and also present a collection of permanent and rotating exterior and interior public art installations from local artists, with a mix of sculpture, large scale works, interactive new media, and an annual juried collection of small installations.
In addition, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia will move into a new 26,000 square foot building on the site once construction is completed in 2025. “Placing a collecting museum amongst hundreds of local practitioners within a nexus of arts programming spaces and curators is a first in Atlanta. MOCA GA is already community oriented so the net result will be interesting to watch unfold over time,” says Anthony Harper, the Goat Farm’s original founder.
Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski. Theatrical Outfit — Following an off-Broadway and international run, this one-man show hits Atlanta, with Andrew Benator playing the role Jan Karski, a Polish diplomat during World War II who traveled throughout Europe to bring evidence of the Holocaust to Western governments. “From the Warsaw ghetto to the Oval Office, this daring and incredible story explores how this self-described ‘insignificant little man’ risked his life in an act of extraordinary moral courage,” the synopsis says. The play is written by Clark Young and Derek Goldman and is co-produced by the Breman Museum. “It combines the epic scope of a war movie with a deep and resonant message about preserving our humanity in the darkest of times,” notes Artistic Director Matt Torney. “Jan Karski’s story inspires us with the power of human conscience and reminds us that all of us have the power to foster goodness in the world, no matter how powerless we feel.” — Kevin C. Madigan
$15 - $25. The Balzer Theater at Herren’s, 84 Luckie Street, Atlanta, 30303. 678-528-1500 theatricaloutfit.org/remember-this
Larry Walker: Permanent Art Collection and Archive, Museum of Contemporary Art — The late Georgia artist Larry Walker is being celebrated with a new exhibition opening this month. It’s curated from the MOCA GA permanent art collection and accompanied by a selection from his archives, “representing the scope of his extensive career through which he reached so many,” the museum announced, adding, “He inspired future generations to push the boundaries of their materials and methods of making, while redefining how artists can activate creativity in the name of social justice.” Walker taught students at Georgia State University for almost two decades and served as director of its School of Art and Design. — Kevin C. Madigan
Free entry. 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, 75 Bennett Street, Atlanta, 30309 mocaga.org
Gail Albert Halaban, Mary Ellen Bartley & Andrea Torres Balaguer, Jackson Fine Art — The work of photographers Gail Albert Halaban and Mary Ellen Bartley, “whose architectural compositions and thoughtful geometry belie the intimate worlds contained within,” will be on view at Jackson until Mar. 22, and so will a selection of works from Spanish photographer Andrea Torres Balaguer. According to the JFA website, Halaban “explores notions of intimacy, isolation, subjectivity, neighborly perception, and daily life,” while Bartley “is known for her quiet exploration of the printed book’s potential for abstraction.” Balaguer, on the other hand, explores “themes of identity, memory, and the intersection of personal and collective histories, fused with traditional techniques and innovative concepts.” — Kevin C. Madigan
Free entry. Jackson Fine Art, 3122 East Shadowlawn Avenue, Atlanta, 30305. jacksonfineart.com
Cristóbal Balenciaga: Master of Tailoring, SCAD FASH Museum of Art & Design — Cristóbal Balenciaga was the preeminent 20th century fashion designer whose craft was admired by contemporaries such as Hubert de Givenchy, Coco Chanel, Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior; the latter called him “the master of us all” and Chanel deemed him “the only couturier in the truest sense of the word.” The brand he founded more than 100 years ago remains an industry powerhouse to this day. Balenciaga mentored the likes of Oscar De La Renta and Paco Rabanne when they started out, and his clothes have been the subject of numerous exhibitions in prominent museums around the world.
Master of Tailoring “beckons viewers into the classical oasis of the Spanish couturier’s Parisian showroom to experience his habitude with hushed reverence, immersed in his chapel-like salon frequented by the Hollywood starlets and royalty who donned his creations,” SCAD says in its introduction. Curated with rarely seen archival pieces from the 1940s to the late 1960s, many making their U.S. debut, the show “affirms the prowess and breadth of the couturier’s work in an elegant display of his signature silhouettes with a touch of the unexpected.” — Kevin C. Madigan
More details online. SCAD FASH Museum of Art & Design, 1600 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, 30309. scad.edu
Death of a Valley: Photography By Dorothea Lange & Pirkle Jones, Booth Museum — This exposition chronicles the destruction of the Berryessa Valley, northeast of San Francisco, as photographed by Dorothea Lange and Pirkle Jones, and is deemed “a nearly 70-year-old story full of contemporary issues such as water policy, private property rights, land conservation and local governance vs. state and federal jurisdiction.” In the 1950s, the valley, which included the town of Monticello, was submerged by a dam and the creation of Lake Berryessa to provide water for irrigation and for “recreational purposes.” Lange, famous for her social realist images during the Great Depression, and Pirkle, a protégé of Ansel Adams, had been commissioned by Life to shoot the project, but the magazine declined to publish their work once completed. Some of the photographs appeared instead in Lange’s own publication Aperture , and were then exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and later at the Art Institute of Chicago. The collection was largely forgotten until 2023, when the Booth Museum stepped in and organized the current display; it includes more than 80 images that are described by curators as “historical and cultural documents as well as fantastic twentieth century photographs printed in vintage silver gelatin.” — Kevin C. Madigan
$10 - $13. Booth Western Art Museum, 501 Museum Drive, Cartersville 30120. 770-387-1300 boothmuseum.org
An Evening with John Cusack and a Screening of Grosse Pointe Blank, Symphony Hall — Rescheduled from last November, actor John Cusack’s appearance in Atlanta, features a screening of the George Armitage crime caper Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), in which Cusack starred alongside Minnie Driver, Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd and Hank Azaria. Cusack plays an errant hitman attending his tenth high school reunion, with federal agents on his tail. (The movie was notable for its stellar soundtrack with songs by The Clash, The Specials, The Jam, Eels, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Reed, The Pogues and others.) After the screening, Cusack will take questions from attendees. The 58-year old actor and producer is known for his strong political views, calling himself in a recent tweet an “Apocalyptic shit disturber & elephant trainer,” and adding, “Justice for all — or no one. Peace in Israel and Palestine.” — Kevin C. Madigan
$39.50 - $120. 8 p.m. A limited number of VIP seats will be available that include a photo opportunity with the actor.
Atlanta, Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, 30309. 404-733-4800 aso.org/events
Batman (1989) 35th Anniversary Concert, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre — If you’re into the whole comic book superhero thing, the 1989 Batman movie is being screened in its entirety at Cobb Energy along with a full orchestra playing Danny Elfman’s score; the one-night-only event will be conducted by James Olmstead in what organizers are calling “a unique live multimedia experience.” Attendees are encouraged to don costumes for the occasion.
Director Tim Burton said Elfman “gets the right mixture of light and dark” with his soundtrack. The film starred Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson and was a huge hit at the time. According to IMDB, Nicholson’s percentage of the profits netted him around $60 million. — Kevin C. Madigan
$40 - $127. 8 p.m. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, 30339. mgplive.com cobbenergycentre.com
Candlelight Concerts Valentine’s Day Shows, The Chapel on Sycamore & Magnolia Hall — As part of this popular candle-laden series, the Listeso String Quartet will play sappy tunes from the soundtracks of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Titanic, Romeo and Juliet and “other romantic melodies” such as Giacomo Puccini’s ‘O Mio Babbino Caro, ‘Clair de Lune’ by Claude Debussy, and Astor Piazzolla’s ‘Libertango.’
The shows take place at The Chapel on Sycamore in Decatur on Feb. 9 and at Magnolia Hall next to Piedmont Park on Feb. 14. — Kevin C. Madigan
$34+ 7 p.m. & 9 p.m. Fri., Feb. 9, The Chapel on Sycamore, 318 Sycamore Street, Decatur 30030. feverup.com
$30+ 7 p.m. & 9 p.m. Wed., Feb. 14. Magnolia Hall, 1320 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, 30306 feverup.com
Coco Chanel: The Life of a Fashion Icon, Atlanta Ballet — The often polarizing life of fashion icon Coco Chanel is portrayed in Belgian-Colombian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s full-length narrative ballet. Under the artistic direction of Gennadi Nedvigin, Atlanta Ballet is co-producing with Hong Kong Ballet and Queensland Ballet in this North American premiere. Chanel’s legacy is “defined by brilliant designs, shrewd business acumen and glamorous lifestyle; and it is also defined by immorality and opportunism on her rise to the top,” according to Atlanta Ballet. “I am interested in telling stories about strong historical women,” says Ochoa, who has also produced works on Eva Perón and Frida Kahlo. “Behind the surface of a strong woman, there is always a hidden emotional story full of hardships and flaws.”
A press release announced that Atlanta Ballet, in conjunction with this production, is working with SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film and The Breman Museum to develop programs that focus on the House of Chanel’s immense influence on the fashion industry, as well as the harmful impact of Chanel’s antisemitism and collaboration with the Nazis. — Kevin C. Madigan
$26 - $109. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, 30339. 404-892-3303. atlantaballet.com
Spiders – From Fear to Fascination Fernbank Museum — How would you like a close encounter with a black widow? Fernbank is inviting people to hang out with a bunch of arachnids in what they’re calling a “fully immersive experience,” allowing visitors to “walk through hundreds of scattering spiders along a glowing forest floor, bringing an animated spider to life, and even competing in a mating dance-off with a jumping peacock spider.” Spider anatomy, reproduction and growth, webs and silk and spider senses will all be discussed. — Kevin C. Madigan
$25.95 for adults, $24.95 for seniors, $23.95 for children ages 3-12, free for children ages 2 and younger, and free for members. Fernbank Museum, 767 Clifton Road, Atlanta, 30307. 404-929-6300. fernbankmuseum.org Guest.Services@FernbankMuseum.org
Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina, High Museum — Sixty ceramic objects created by enslaved men and women in South Carolina, before the Civil War, are being put on display at the High in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. “Considered through the lens of current scholarship in the fields of history, literature, anthropology, material culture, diaspora, and African American studies, these nineteenth-century vessels testify to the lived experiences, artistic agency, and material knowledge of those who created them,” curators say. Hear Me Now will also feature work by contemporary Black artists “who have responded to or whose practice connects with the Edgefield story,” including Theaster Gates, Simone Leigh, and Woody De Othello. — Kevin C. Madigan
$18.50 for non-members. High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, 30309. 404-733-4400 high.org
Bianca Del Rio: Dead Inside, Atlanta, Symphony Hall — Often referred to as the ‘Joan Rivers of the Drag World,’ Bianca Del Rio is the first and so far only drag queen to sell out Wembley Arena, and also won RuPaul’s Drag Race in its sixth season. Her shows cover politics, pop culture, political correctness, current events, cancel culture and everyday life. Born Roy Haylock in Louisiana in 1975, Del Rio designed costumes for the New Orleans Opera before moving to New York after Hurricane Katrina. “The world is on fire, but I’m not concerned. I’m dead inside and find humor in everything,” Del Rio says. “If you’re not easily offended and ready for a night of irreverent humor, get in, losers… we’re going for a ride!” — Kevin C. Madigan
$39- $125. 8 p.m. Atlanta, Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, 30309. 404-733-4800 aso.org