From today’s perspective, George Sauter’s The Bridal Morning is only one among innumerable paintings showing a female nude. It depicts a standing female from behind who is being assisted by two other women as she gets dressed for her wedding. But in 1909 the public response to the work was greatly divided. The painting, which received second prize at the Carnegie Institute in the 1909 exhibition, aroused a huge controversy ranging from praise to condemnation.
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The Carnegie Museum of Art shares a massive building with both the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Carnegie Library. One of my favorite things to do is to walk through the art museum’s massive Hall of Architecture and use my employee badge to open a small dark door in the back corner and then suddenly appear in the middle of a bustling public library. A few steps away, nestled in a cozy corner of the very user-friendly first floor, is the Zine Collection. There are always teenagers and others reading the zines. I love encountering these DIY, subversive, weird, brilliant little publications in the middle of the library. The collection is overseen by Jude Vachon, who does all sorts of good things with zines and art around town. Here’s a nice piece she wrote for the Post-Gazette about the library.
Next time you’re at the museum, don’t miss the zines next door.
The jawbone of a Nicaraguan pig, scissors touched by Kim Il-Sung, a cat staring at you from a Lawrenceville window…. just a taste of the many inspirations shared by presenting artists at the SIX x ATE: Vegetable event last Monday. The SIX x ATE series is an ongoing themed dinner and lecture event promoting a more interdisciplinary arts community in Pittsburgh. The series began in the summer of 2012 at the 2013 Carnegie International apartment before moving to other sites, including the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Bar Marco. For each dinner, six artists and one cuisinier are asked to present work on a theme. The artists present for a few minutes throughout the night, as guests (a mixture of arts professionals and others connected to the theme) enjoy tasty treats, meet new people, and share ideas.
Monday’s event featured the artists of CSA PGH: Kim Beck, David Bernabo, Lenka Clayton, William Earl Kofmehl III, Alexi Morrissey, and Ed Panar. The CSA PGH project is based on the model created by Minneapolis’ Springboard for the Arts and is supported by the Sprout Fund and Fractured Atlas. Similar to the boxes of fruit and vegetables that one might get from a local farm as an agricultural CSA, the CSA PGH will create “shares” of art to feed the public’s cultural appetite. Each artist will create 50 editions, which will be packaged into 50 shares for the public. These will go on sale April 30th on www.CSAPGH.com, where you can also find more information about the project and the artists.
Guests of SIX x ATE: Vegetable also had a special treat from Tina, Daniel, and Dan. Their dramatic reading of the 2013 Carnegie International press release with visualization provided by Pinterest moved the audience to tears, or at least chuckles.
For more information on SIX x ATE or to subscribe to the mailing list, visit www.caseywhat.com.
Casey Droege was raised by two artists and a mime. Their incessant side hustles, ranging from chimney sweep to insurance sales, created the time management monster/slightly organized tornado that is Casey. And while her mother made it clear to her that she should go into computers, she now lives and works as an artist using language to objectify the subjective.
(Photos: Heather Mull)
During some archival research for the upcoming re-installation of the International’s collection, I came across an unlabeled black-and-white photograph (top). After some some further digging it became apparent that the picture represents a highlight in the early history of both the exhibition and Major League Baseball. The photo features a huge painted billboard which bears an image of Pittsburgh Pirates fans packed into the stands at Exposition Park and is flanked by two inscriptions: PRESIDENT TAFT APPLAUDING WAGNER’S TWO-BAGGER MAY 29, 1909 and WELCOME MR. PRESIDENT FOUNDER’S DAY MAY 2, 1910. The painting on the board was a reproduction of a photo taken by Frank Bingaman first published in the Pittsburgh Press on May 30, 1909. The related article, “Taft Has Jolly Time at Ball Game but Upsets Plans,” detailed how William Howard Taft (an avid baseball fan) was “the first U.S. President to attend a Major League baseball game at a location other than Washington.” The game also gave Taft the chance to witness the legendary play of Pirate Honus Wagner, “The Flying Dutchman.” The Pirates lost this game 3–8 to the Chicago Cubs, but ultimately won the World Series later that year (thanks in large part to Wagner’s .339 batting average for the season).
President Taft remained in Pittsburgh for two days. Besides attending the Pirates game, he participated in the initiation of Memorial Fountain in Arsenal Park and visited the Allegheny County Club, confirmed by several photographs in the museum’s archives (below).
Just one year later, President Taft returned to Pittsburgh and again attended a Pirates game, which the Pirates won this time 5–2 against the Cubs on May 2, 1910. According to the press, Taft’s visit to Forbes Field was part of a tight schedule the President had to complete during his two-day stay in Pittsburgh. An article in the Pittsburgh Press read “Great Preparations Made to Entertain Head of Nation.” On the morning of May 2, 1910, thousands must have lined the streets in Oakland to catch a glimpse of the President residing in the Schenley Hotel and leaving for the Carnegie Music Hall later on. President Taft attended the museum’s Founder’s Day celebration, which coincided with the opening of the Annual Exhibition (now known as the Carnegie International). He gave a speech and officially opened the fourteenth International.
The following day the Pittsburgh Press article “President Gives Talk about Art“ described the atmosphere and decorations in the Carnegie Music Hall for the event and featured a summary of the President’s speech. The small annual booklet that typically contains the Founder’s Day summary included a report on the occurrences and a reproduction of the entire address. Here is an excerpt:
“The contrast necessarily impresses itself on one’s mind of the enormous material development and progress of Pittsburgh on the one hand, with the smoke and the fire that indicate the great industries on every hand, and then the esthetic side of the community, that is shown and encouraged in this great temple of art, of music, and of learning….In the old countries the people—the common people—love art and music, and therefore, those who have the control of the government do not hesitate to use the proceeds of taxes to encourage those tastes, and to give the pleasure that music and art give to those people….In Europe you cannot help being impressed with the love of art of the common people. And while we may be pardoned in our first hundred years for not having spread wider that love because of the difficulties we had to encounter in settling this country and in making it prosperous in a material way, we certainly cannot as a people escape from severe condemnation if in the next hundred years we do not make great progress, great strides in the matter of the love of art, and its cultivation on every hand.”
In more recent news, Taft has recently been elected to join the Washington Nationals’ “Racing Presidents” Mascots.
Nicola Schroeder is a German art historian currently living in Pittsburgh and working on the archive of the Carnegie International.
Sorry I haven’t posted… We opened Cory Arcangel: Masters on November 2nd, 2012, with a special artist talk with Cory. The same evening we also launched a social media intervention designed by Cory. Here are some of the results. Visit us during this last week of the exhibition and don’t miss Arcangel’s band, Title TK, perform this Saturday at the Carnegie Lecture Hall. They open for Bonnie Prince Billy.