Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia
(current location since 2007)
|Location||75 Bennett Street
The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA) is a contemporary art museum located in Atlanta. The museum collects and archives hundreds of contemporary works by Georgia artists. MOCA GA fulfills its mission through an exhibition schedule, increasing its permanent collection, and the Education/Resource Center, which houses the museum’s historical archive collection.
MOCA GA was co-founded in 2000 by David S. Golden and Annette Cone-Skelton. The museum was the evolution of the idea the co-founders presented in 1989. Annette Cone-Skelton’s artist background and David S. Golden’s position as the President of CGR Advisors (private real estate investment firm) led them to the idea for a contemporary art museum for the state of Georgia. Prior to MOCA GA, the city was bereft of any major institutions devoted to collecting and showcasing the work made since WWII by regional artists. MOCA GA was founded to fill in that historical gap. Its primary focus was to give Georgia artists a place of their own to protect and to archive the history of the state because so much of it was getting lost. They believed in Georgia artists and wanted to build the finest collection possible. As the collection grew and remained housed in a corporate environment, the co-founders proceeded to creating a museum for the collection.
Established with private funding, MOCA GA began with the extensive collections of Atlanta-based CGR Advisors, a real estate advisory company and Mr Golden’s personal collection. The museum’s first location was at 1447 Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia. The combined collection features more than 250 works by 110 Georgia artists and includes a variety of mediums—paintings, prints, sculpture, photography, and installation pieces. From bold color lithographs made by Trena Banks, and others to composed photographs by John McWilliams, Virginia Warren Smith, and others.
When the burgeoning collection needed more space, the CGR Advisors decided to move to another location. They also considered selling or giving the collections to various groups but the gap that existed in showcasing Georgia Artists was too large. Annette Cone-Skelton searched for a model of this type of museum but there was none quite like the one they needed, a model whose focus was contemporary art from the state in which it was located. The state of Georgia was in need of this type of institution. In January 2005, MOCA GA moved into the SunTrust Plaza. Two years later, the SunTrust Plaza location closed. In January 2007, MOCA Georgia moved into the downstairs suite M1 at the TULA Art Center at 75 Bennett Street in Atlanta, Georgia. In order to expand exhibition space MOCA GA expanded into additional galleries I, II, and III in Suite A2 and Suite O2 of the TULA Art Center in spring of 2008. MOCA GA now covers about half of the TULA Art Center with additional exhibition space for the permanent collection.
The museum’s permanent collection is composed of hundreds of works by Georgia artists. It is among the few contemporary visual arts museum which pays homage to and promotes local artists. To place its artists in a global context, the museum’s exhibitions include artists from around the world in addition to Georgia artists. The museum’s programs promote the visual arts by creating a forum for active exchange between artists and the community.
MOCA GA is a Georgia non-profit art organization. It relies heavily on membership and community support to operate. MOCA GA has an estimated 9,000 visitors annually. The museum and other Georgia non-profit art organizations frequently provide exhibition space for new and cutting edge contemporary art as well as traditional fine art. Besides visual arts, art organizations also provide facilities for music, performance art, and other arts, as well as education. MOCA GA’s base of operation continues to be held at 75 Bennett Street.
MOCA GA membership includes free general admission to artist talks. Admission is $8 for non-members, $5 for students and seniors, and free of charge to Military with ID. Certain events and programming are for members only; other programs are offered to members for free or at a discount. MOCA GA offers various levels of membership, all including free admission to the museum and exhibition openings, and many special events such as artist talks, MOCA GA outings to other venues, and special programs for members.
MOCA GA’s solo exhibitions exclusively feature Georgia artists, and group exhibitions often include national and international artists alongside those from Georgia. MOCA GA has mounted more than 120 exhibitions to date. Previous exhibitions include the grand opening exhibition of new sculpture by Martin Emanuel; Artists of the Heath Gallery: 1965–1998, comprising solo exhibitions of works by Herbert Creecy, Cheryl Goldsleger, Kojo Griffin, and Hope Hilton; and special exhibitions from the permanent collection. The exhibitions are accessible online through the museum's website after the exhibits are no longer on display.
In November 2002, the museum mounted Color, Culture, Complexity, an exhibition curated by Ed Spriggs, of the Hammonds House Galleries in Atlanta, and Dan Talley, co-founder of Art Papers magazine and former director of Nexus Contemporary Art Center in Atlanta  The exhibition, an exploration of the history and current conditions of race relations in America, highlights the works of artists from around the country and includes digital photographs by Amalia Amaki (of Atlanta and Delaware), computer-generated images by Marcia Cohen (of Atlanta), a triptych painting by Harry DeLorme (of Savannah), iris prints by Robert B. Stewart (of Atlanta), and conceptually derived digital prints by Lisa McGaughey Tuttle (of Atlanta).
MOCA GA boasts a permanent collection of nearly 600 works of contemporary art by more than 200 Georgia artists. The core of the collection, which was donated by CGR Advisors and David S. Golden in 2001, features work from the mid-1940s through today. The permanent collection includes a variety of media — paintings, prints, sculpture, photography, computer, and installation pieces. The Museum of Contemporary Art embraces diverse media and aesthetics in the works of its permanent collection. The Museum is a collecting institution and will continue to collect, document and archive significant works and documentation by Georgia artists and exhibit them for the benefit of the local community, and of the larger, global community.
In September 2010, the High Museum announced that it has transferred 21 works by 14 Georgia artists to MOCA GA. The High also transferred more than 700 duplicate publications from its archives to a new reference library currently under development by MOCA GA. All works were chosen by Annette Cone-Skelton in conjunction with High. The transferred works are:
- Shirley Bolton, “Silent Strings (Jazz Series),” 1974
- Santo Bruno, “Small Function,” 1977
- Larry Connaster, “Untitled,” 1969
- Herbert Lee Creecy Jr., “Study,” 1967, and “Study,” 1967
- Lamar Dodd, “Wind on the Coast,” 1941; “Sketch for Wind on the Coast,” 1944; “The White Door,” 1953; and “At the Foot of the Blackland”
- James McRae, “Untitled,” 1966
- Charles Mitchell, “Prometheus Bringing Fire Down to the Earth”
- Jarvin Parks, “Homage to the Four Arts”
- Robert Stockton Rogers, “A View of Taxco, Mexico”
- Joseph Schwarz, “Funeral”
- Benjamin Edgar Shute, “Compote with Grapes”
- Howard Thomas, “Reidsville,” 1943; “White House and Chickens,” 1946; “Get with Red,” 1962
- Gladene Tucker,” Untitled,” 1961
- Ferdinand Warren, “Haystacks and Corn”; “Garden Bouquet,” 1952
Education and Resource Center
The E/RC began with initial funding from the Forward Arts Foundation with documentation on Georgia artists, donated by Annette Cone-Skelton, Inc in 2000. Interns compiled and updated the donated materials into individual notebooks for each artist. The museum continues to document its own history and maintain the information on the permanent collection artists.
In the E/RC, MOCA GA's permanent collection, archives, libraries and other resources are made available to students, scholars, collectors, critics, educators and the general public. The Center serves as a unique, centralized source for historical documents and archived materials that tell the story of contemporary art in Georgia. These resources are foundation for the development of a new arts curriculum, which engage high school students in the history of Georgia art through visual, biographical, and interactive materials. Information on the individual artists in MOCA GA's permanent collection is also currently available. The information in the MOCA GA Education/Resource Center includes:
- Artist Notebooks
- Atlanta College of Art (ACA)
- Atlanta Women's Art Collective
- Girl Vigilantes
- Herbert Creecy Collection
- Genevieve Arnold Book & Catalogue Collection
- Joe Massey Book Collection
- John Howett Book Collection
- MOCA GA Library
- Art Forum
- Art in America
- Art Papers
- Miscellaneous Magazines & Journals
Programs & tours
MOCA GA’s programming includes artists’/curators’ talks, tours of the permanent collections, and interpretive tours of exhibitions for schools and the general public.
At MOCA GA artists are encouraged to engage visitors through regularly scheduled talks regarding current exhibitions. Admissions to artist talks are generally free of charge and provide an opportunity for patrons to meet the artists and ask questions. Artist/curator talks usually accompany the exhibitions.
Café MOCA is a high-school program where students network with each other and meet professional artists. The program introduces young artists to professional artists and the arts career choices made available to them. Its goal is to build a support network for young artists as they begin their careers. Café MOCA Artists have included Maria Artemis, Lisa Tuttle, Whitney & Micah Stansell, Eleanor Neal, and Lynn Marshall Linnemeier.
- The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Inc. The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. 12 October 2010.
- Cinque, Hicks. "MOCA GA preserves region's visual-arts legacy ." Creative Loafing 17 September 2008.
- Fay, Robin. The Arts: Museum of Contemporary Arts, 18 July 2008. The New Georgia Encyclopedia, 12 October 2010.
- Art-Support. Art-Collecting.com, 14 October 2010. 17 October 2010.
- Talley R, Dan and Ed Spriggs, "Color, Culture, Complexity, The Exhibition Catalog," 2002.
- Villarreal, Jose, "High to Transfer Art and Books to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia." ArtDaily.org, 25 October 2010.