The highly anticipated exhibit Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings has finally arrived at the High Museum of Art, aptly concurring with the recent appointment of Sarah Kennel as lead curator of the High’s photography department. Kennel co-curated the exhibit with Sarah Greenough, a senior curator of photographs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
This is the final stop for the traveling show that had an international leg this summer at the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris after being shown in Washington, D.C.; Salem, Massachusetts; Los Angeles; and Houston. It’s on view in Atlanta through February 2.
Although a deeply celebrated artist, Sally Mann, now 68, has never had a major survey of her work. A Thousand Crossings fills that gap, offering for the first time an in-depth presentation of work that spans four decades, with more than 100 photographs, many never exhibited or published before.
The exhibit is organized into five sections that follow Mann’s artistic evolution, with overarching themes of family, memory, desire and death. But the common thread that unites the work is the American South. Mann — a native of Lexington, Virginia — is deeply rooted in the South. She has repetitively asserted her Southern heritage, defining her work as Southern by her “obsession with place, the past, family, death and dosages of romance that would be fatal to most contemporary artists.” As a young artist, she questioned the need to move to New York to find gallery representation, later realizing that fulfillment would come from exploring her homeland.