High Museum to feature exhibit on Coca-Cola bottle’s 100 anniversary

By Maria Saporta

It’s become one of the most iconic designs of our time – the Coca-Cola bottle.

And in honor of its 100th anniversary, the High Museum of Atlanta will be opening an exhibit: “The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100” on Feb. 28. The exhibit will feature more than 100 objects, including more than a dozen works of art by Andy Warhol and more than 40 photographs inspired by or featuring the bottle.

The works of art will be shown alongside original design illusrations, historical artifacts and early examples of the bottle.

Three Coca-Cola Bottles

Andy Warhol’s “Three Coke Bottles” – 1962 (Credit: High Museum of Art)

The exhibit, organized by the High in collaboration with the Coca-Cola Co, will be on display through Oct. 4. It will be presented in two floors of the museum’s Anne Cox Chambers wing. The first floor lobby will feature more than 500 contemporary 3-D printed bottles suspended from the ceiling in the shape of the famous Coca-Cola icon.

The second floor displays will feature three main areas:

  1. A section taking visitors through the design history of the bottle, including rare examples of the bottle and a “mash-up,” salon-style presentation of posters by contemporary designers who have re-imagined the bottle for the 21st century.
  2. The Pop Art section includes more than 15 works by Warhol, many on loan from The Andy Warhol Museum, including the 1962 silkscreen “Three Coke Bottles.”
  3. The photography section will  feature more than 15 images by William Christenberry from the High’s permanent collection, along with works by Walker Evans, Clarence John Laughlin, Abelardo Morell, and others that track the enduring presence of the Coca-Cola bottle within the cultural landscape of 20th and 21st century America.

The Coca-Cola bottle has become one of the world’s most recognized icons since its inception in 1915.

Coca-Cola billboard

Coca-Cola billboard (Credit: High Museum of Art)

“The High is honored to present this exhibition celebrating an iconic American design that has influenced artists from the 20th century to the present day,” said Michael E. Shapiro, who is the Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. director of the High. “The story of the Coca-Cola bottle’s creation and its impact on the cultural fabric of the world began right here in Atlanta, so it is fitting to share this story in the Southeast’s leading art museum.”

Originally designed by the Root Glass Co. in Terre-Haute, Ind., the bottle offered a distinct package for an already ubiquitous product launched in 1886. The design was the result of a competition that challenged bottle manufacturers to develop a container recognizable even if broken on the ground or touched in the dark. The winning design’s subtle curves and green-tinted glass ultimately had an outstanding impact on 20th-century visual art and culture.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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