Archive for the ‘Past Internationals’ Category

David Weiss

Monday, May 21st, 2012

One half of the incredible duo Fischli/Weiss, David Weiss succumbed to cancer this past month. Peter Fischli and David Weiss began collaborating in 1979, and they participated in the 1988 and 2008 Carnegie Internationals. Weiss was present at both exhibition openings, and I’ve heard very fond remembrances from many current and former CMA staff. Look for The Way Things Go (part of the CMA’s collection, and called “one of the most acclaimed art films of the late 20th century,” by the NYT‘s Roberta Smith) to be on view in our “Fountain Gallery” (outside the Scaife restrooms) in the coming month. You can read the Times‘s obituary here.

Filmoteka Launched out of Warsaw

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Yael Bartana Walls and Towers

Wow, this is really something special. Just a few days ago, the Museum of Modern Art Warsaw launched an online collection of Polish film and video: Filmoteka. It’s all there— digitized, catalogued by artist, and accessible by the click of a button. (Thanks to Tate film curator Stuart Comer for pointing this out in his talk at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Art last night.) You will remember names like Paweł Althamer, Katarzyna Kozyra, Wilhelm Sasnal, and Mirosław Bałka from past Carnegie Internationals. But check out the long list of films by Artur Żmijewski and Zbigniew Libera as well as Yael Bartana, Joanna Malinowska, Wojciech Bąkowski, and Anna Molska. The Lawrenceville Apartment needs to host a night of screenings, stat!

James Lee Byars, 1964 Carnegie International

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

In 2010 one of our registrars, Elizabeth Tufts-Brown, turned up a treasure trove in the museum archives: a box filled with postcards and letters (performable objects?) sent by artist James Lee Byars to former Carnegie director, Gustave von Groschwitz, between 1964 and 1967.  Byars’s even, rounded lettering, usually in pencil or China marker, appears across this remarkable collection on everything from ultra thin Japanese rice paper to purple construction paper and newspaper, even cellophane. One was a large circle (printed only with “A White Paper Will Blow Through the Streets”), several were heart-shaped, some were scrolls. One was an entire 119-foot-long roll of cash register tape on which Byars had painstakingly written out a lengthy invite list complete with mailing addresses. Reading through all of these long-forgotten letters was amazing, and sometimes (as Byars undoubtedly intended) required quite a bit of maneuvering.

Many of the letters, which we exhibited as part of Ordinary Madness in 2010, pertained to three performances that Byars staged at the Museum in conjunction with the 1964 Carnegie International, which von Groschwitz curated. The first two took place on November 6, 1964  (1 x 50 Foot Drawing) and January 13, 1965 (A 1000-Foot Chinese Paper). Both were performed by a Catholic nun named Sister M. Germaine, and involved her carrying a folded paper object to the center of the room, then slowly unfolding and refolding it over the course of an hour. A third happening, The Mile Long White Paper Walk, was performed in the Hall of Sculpture on October 25, 1965, by dancer and choreographer Lucinda Childs. For this work, a riveted, 475-foot-long paper form was manipulated through the course of the performance by Childs, who was dressed in an elaborate white ostrich-feather costume. Alternating between each end of the paper form, Childs moved one riveted section at a time toward the center of the room, creating a pinwheel effect on the floor.

In both cases, a “performable object” of the artist’s design dictates the actions of the performer by virtue of its particular folded form, mechanizing her motions as she unravels an ephemeral drawing in time and space. In full habit or feather costume, she becomes a remote and ethereal icon, moving silently across the white marble floor. The Hall of Sculpture (which was constructed in the early 20th century to simulate the interior of the Parthenon) must have immediately appealed to Byars, with his penchant for purity and perfection, symbolism, and drama. Many artists have taken on the space since that time; most recently, Icelandic artist and musician Ragnar Kjartansson staged a long-duration performance there that Byars would surely have appreciated. In the photo above, Ragnar’s nieces recall the Three Graces, as they sing the refrain, “The weight of the world is love…”


A Brief History of the Carnegie International, 1896–2008

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

2013 Carnegie International, October 5, 2013–March 16, 2014

Opening reception on October 4, 2013

Created as a means to build the collection of the newly founded Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Carnegie International (est. 1896) is, after the Venice Biennale (est. 1895), the oldest international contemporary art survey exhibition in the world.

Established as the Annual Exhibition, the show was held every fall, with few exceptions, until 1955 when a triennial schedule was adopted. From 1958 until 1970 it was known as the Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture. After an interruption due to soaring costs and the construction of the museum’s new wing, the exhibition resumed in 1977 and 1979 as the International Series, single-artist shows intended as a parallel to the Nobel Prize for the arts. In 1982, the exhibition reappeared under its original survey format as the Carnegie International, and has been mounted every three to five years since.

1896–1921: The International was selected by Carnegie Museum of Art director John. W. Beatty in consultation with foreign advisory committees. The exhibition selection system was two-tiered: some artists were invited to participate directly, shipping their work straight to Pittsburgh and bypassing the selection process, while some were invited to submit works to a selection committee, often at their own expense.

1922–1950: The Institute’s second director, Homer Saint-Gaudens, instituted a new, streamlined system whereby foreign representatives scouted promising works for his annual trips to Europe. Saint-Gaudens instituted the display of works by country during these years and in 1924 introduced the Popular Prize, voted upon by the public; he retired after the 1950 show. Between 1940 and 1949—the war years—three domestic shows were mounted by assistant director John O’Connor while Saint-Gaudens served in the military: American Painting, 1940; Directions in American Painting, 1941; and Painting in the United States, 1943-1949.

19511962: Gordon Bailey Washburn maintained his predecessor’s use of foreign advisors, but dropped nationality as the organizing structure. He organized four Internationals, which he distinguished from larger competitors (the Venice Biennale and São Paolo Bienal) as the only international survey curated by a singular person, offering “one man’s view of contemporary art.” In 1958, Marcel Duchamp and Vincent Price sat on the jury of award.

19631969: The 1964 and 1967 Internationals were organized by the Museum’s fourth director, Gustave von Groschwitz in consultation with seven national correspondents based in Europe, who he referred to as “informal co-jurors.”

19701979:  The 1970, 1977, and 1979 Internationals were organized by the museum’s fifth director, Leon Arkus. Arkus eliminated prizes for the 1970 show, and switched to a single-artist, retrospective format for the 1977 (Pierre Alechinsky) and 1979 (split between Eduardo Chillida and Willem de Kooning) shows.

19802008: John R. Lane became director in 1980, but hired curator Gene Baro to organize the 1982 International. This format has remained in place through all of the successive editions, with a twist in 1985, when Lane co-curated the exhibition with John Caldwell. Lane and Caldwell vowed a return to Andrew Carnegie’s vision for the exhibition as a means to advance international understanding, and assembled a team of American and European advisors in hopes of organizing the show by a “truly bilateral process.” The International was organized a second time by John Caldwell in 1988; Lynn Cooke and Mark Francis in 1991; Richard Armstrong in 1995; Madeleine Grynsztejn in 1999; Laura Hoptman in 2004; and Douglas Fogle in 2008.

The 2013 Carnegie International is curated by Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers, and Tina Kukielski. The show opens October 4, 2013, at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.