Archive for the ‘History of Carnegie Museum of Art’ Category

THE catalogue!

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

2013 carnegie international catalogue cover

This is the freshest catalogue I have seen in a long time. Artist Pierre Leguillon said that it looks like an annual report—and it somehow is: no gimmicks but full of information worth its price. Or as New York Times critic Roberta Smith put it: “excellent.” It has new texts on all artists written by Dan Byers, Amanda Donnan, Tina Kukielski, Raymund Ryan, Lauren Wetmore, and myself. You can listen to one of them here, the e-mail interview with Wade Guyton.

The catalogue contains an introduction explaining what this show is about—see an excerpt below—as well as three essays by the co-curators laying out their different points of view. Art historian Robert Bailey explores the International’s unique history and its relationship to the museum’s collection; urban planner Gabriela Burkhalter contributes a pioneering article on the history of playgrounds—with amazing pictures. You will also find a quite engaging text from 1961 by former Carnegie Museum of Art director Gordon Bailey Washburn, unaware of the transformations the 1960s were about to unfurl; a scheme about play by the French intellectual Roger Callois from 1958; an introduction to abstraction by Chicago curator Katharine Kuh from 1951; a quasi-abstract reflection on the difference between art and action by French poet Stéphane Mallarmé from 1897; an astonishingly contemporary set of claims for a better use of public space by artist Robert Rauschenberg from 1968; an ode to the power of laziness as a form of resistance by exhibition artist Mladen Stilinović from 1993; and a reflection on spam describing the conditions of our technological world by artist and writer Hito Steyerl from 2011.

And hey, 1,000 thanks go to Katie Reilly, THE&OUR director of publication and to Chad Kloepfer and Jeff Ramsey, THE designers! More pictures!

Excerpt from the introduction:
Despite social media, the Internet, and our global information economy, it still makes a difference if you live in Tehran, a village near Kraków, Johannesburg, or Los Angeles. Yet all of the artists in the exhibition, while working from and within a local context, translate their views into pictures, (more…)

Enter the archive

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
Jeff Koons sculpture being installed during 1988 Carnegie International

Jeff Koons sculpture being installed during 1988 Carnegie International

Some say that the Carnegie Museum of Art was the first museum of modern and contemporary art in the U.S. It is true–as far as American institutions go–the Carnegie has been around the block. It opened in 1895 and a year later started an annual exhibition to bring work by the best and most talented artists to Pittsburgh. We inherited this model of an exhibition and hence thought it pertinent to reflect back on how it all went over these 117 years. Now, enter the archive: a visual history as told through installation photos and films (some seen for the first time), a few choice artworks, and a good amount of text. It opened over the weekend and will be up through the run of the 2013 Carnegie International.

Carnegie International in the 1990s and 2000s

Carnegie International in the 1990s and 2000s

 

Carnegie International in the 1960s

Carnegie International in the 1960s

 

 

 

The Film Collection – On view through March 2014

Friday, June 28th, 2013
harry smith_heaven and earth magick 1962

Still from Harry Smith’s Heaven and Earth Magick, 1962

This month we opened our new and improved modern and contemporary collection galleries. The installation is a component of the 2013 Carnegie International (as is the Playground Project, which also opened this month in the Heinz Architectural Center) and highlights the major role the International has played in forming the museum’s collection. As the show has been curated by different individuals over its nearly 120 year history, and as those individuals have chosen to acquire certain things rather than others, the collection has a unique character reflective of personal tastes and interests.  Sometimes major artists were missed, but with the benefit of hindsight, the museum has continued to fill in the gaps through new acquisitions. Works that weren’t in Internationals past are included in the reinstallation as well, to create a cohesive presentation of many of our best works.

Film and video is one facet of artistic practice that showed up late on the International‘s radar, appearing for the first time in the 1985 iteration. In the meantime, the Film and Video department was doing really innovative things, bringing some of the most important filmmakers to Pittsburgh to present their work and building an outstanding collection. Rethinking the collection galleries has given us the opportunity to make room for this frequently overlooked segment of our holdings (and history), so we’ve built an elegant new “black box” space in gallery 14.  Over the course of the next 8 months–through the run of the International– this gallery will be home to a roughly chronological, rotating program of works by 11 major artists (see the full upcoming schedule after the jump). Most of the films that will be on view were acquired during the Film and Video department’s first ten years (1970-1980), and some were presented in person by the filmmaker.

First up: Harry Smith‘s Heaven and Earth Magick (1962), a surreal collage film composed from Victorian-era catalogues and exercise manuals that Smith produced over a period of five years using a randomizing selection process called sortilege, inspired by the Surrealist practice of automatic writing.  Smith adopted a strategic regimen of sleep deprivation, working to the point of exhaustion and then transferring his dreams to film upon waking. The resulting animation revolves around a male magus character who, after injecting a female figure with magic potion, finds she has disintegrated and must be reassembled.

Heaven and Earth Magic includes references to the Kabbalah, 19th-century philology, and the writings of Dr. Wilder Penfield on open-brain surgery and the concept of the Homunculus, evincing Smith’s nearly encyclopedic knowledge of esoterica and mysticism. The artist was an avid collector of everything from pop-up books and forgotten folk records (he famously compiled the Anthology of American Folk Music, released in 1952) to Native American costumes, string figures, and Fabergé eggs. His interest in ethnic artifacts and everyday ephemera, as well as obscure forms of knowledge and the occult, was rooted in a search for universality underlying the diversity of human endeavor.

Stop by and see the film before July 8th, when we’ll switch it out for a compilation of Kenneth Anger‘s early work.

(more…)

Hell with the Lid Off

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Munhall Blog Gabi

Walking through the hallway at Carnegie Museum of Art, my eyes detected the familiar two letters of DU [“You”] for the renowned Swiss Art magazine founded in 1941. It was the February 1983 issue dedicated to Pittsburgh (!). Edgar Munhall, born and raised in Pittsburgh and later curator of the Frick Collection in New York (1965–2000) contributed the opening essay. Unimpressed by the devastating descriptions of poets and intellectuals, he portrays the steel city in a surprisingly positive way. Munhall had left Pittsburgh for New York in 1951, then 17 years old.

“The city I was leaving did not have a very good reputation. As one of the greatest industrial centers of the word it had been described by Lincoln Steffens (1866–1936, American journalist) in 1905 as ‘Hell with the lid off.’ A few years later [sic] Herbert Spencer (1820–1903, English philosopher) opined that, ‘A month in Pittsburgh would justify anyone in committing suicide,’ and, on her deathbed in 1924 Eleonora Duse (1858–1924, Italian actress) was said to have exclaimed, ‘Oh, my God, I am dying in Pittsburgh!’ The short-story-writer O. Henry (1862–1910, American) called the city ‘the low-down-est hole in the surface of the earth.’”

Unlike them, Munhall expresses the true love for his hometown: “Growing up in such a maligned environment had left me with totally different feelings, for I had always thought that Pittsburgh possessed a magical and unique beauty, sinister and awesome. Even before I had found artistic parallels in Whistler’s views of London to justify my cause, I had thrilled to the experience of walking to school unable to see through the smoky fog more than three feet in front me.”

Gabriela Burkhalter is the guest curator of The Playground Project.

Munhall-pittsburgh-text2046[1]Munhall-pittsburgh-text044[1]

Steel City Angels Present

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

2013 Carnegie International October 5, 2013–March 16, 2014 carnegieinternational.org

Ei Arakawa/Henning Bohl, Phyllida Barlow, Yael Bartana, Sadie Benning, Bidoun Library, The Collection, Nicole Eisenman, Lara Favaretto, Vincent Fecteau, Rodney Graham, Guo Fengyi, Wade Guyton, Rokni Haerizadeh, He An, Amar Kanwar, Dinh Q. Lê, Mark Leckey, Pierre Leguillon, Sarah Lucas, Tobias Madison, Zanele Muholi, Paulina Olowska, The Playground Project, Pedro Reyes, Kamran Shirdel, Gabriel Sierra, Taryn Simon, Frances Stark, Joel Sternfeld, Mladen Stilinović, Zoe Strauss, Henry Taylor, Tezuka Architects, Transformazium, Erika Verzutti, Joseph Yoakum. More information

TumblrPinterestCarnegie Museum of Art