Inside the Carnegie Museum during the Carnegie International
Carnegie Museum of Art acquired Pio Abad's "Distant Possessions," 2022, which was a part of the 58th Carnegie International. Photo courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art.

Two of the main reasons Carnegie Museum of Art founder Andrew Carnegie initiated the Carnegie International exhibition in 1896 were to bring the best of contemporary global art to the people of Pittsburgh and surrounding communities — including art aficionados, artists and the general public — and to broaden the museum’s collection with works selected from the International.

Subsequently, museum-goers have looked forward to learning what choices were made and to comparing how those selections matched up with their own favorites, whether they be an arts administrator or a casual patron. 

While the museum broke with past practice and did not issue a press release announcing the 21 acquisitions from the 58th Carnegie International, which opened on Sept. 24, 2022, and closed on April 2, 2023, the museum provided this list to NEXTpittsburgh.

Pio Abad, “Thoughtful Gifts (October 20, 1988),” 2020. Photo courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art.

Pio Abad

Born 1983, Manila, Philippines

Three laser engravings on Carrara marble, each 13 by 10 by 13/16 inches:

“Thoughtful Gifts (October 20, 1988),” 2020, letter from Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos to U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

“Thoughtful Gifts (October 20, 1988),” 2022, letter from U.S. President Ronald Reagan to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

“Thoughtful Gifts (October 8, 1986),” 2022, letter from First Lady Nancy Reagan to Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos.

“Distant Possessions,” 2022, trompe-l’œil painting on wall.

This body of Abad’s work addresses the convoluted historic relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines. The museum purchases comprise a sentence from Andrew Carnegie’s 1898 text “Distant Possessions,” installed during the International above a gallery entryway, and three letters from the Reagan era given permanence in marble.

The sentence, “Americans cannot be grown there” appeared in “Distant Possessions: The Parting of the Ways,” published in the North American Review, the first literary magazine in the United States. It was part of Carnegie’s argument against the annexation of the Philippines.

The letters are illustrative of the Marcos couple’s political fall from grace.

Tony Cokes

Born 1956, Richmond, Virginia

Free Britney?,” 2022, single-channel video (color, sound), 40:53 minutes.

An example of what the artist refers to as “word portraits,” featuring multiple quotes about a particular person, in this example celebrity Britney Spears and her conservatorship battle.

Giana De Dier, “What we choose to not see no. 1,” 2022. Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Giana De Dier

Born 1980, Panama City, Panama

Four mixed media collages on Fabriano watercolor paper, each 25 9/16 by 21 5/8 inches:

“What we choose to not see no. 1,” 2022.

“What we choose to not see no. 2,” 2022.

“What we choose to not see no. 3,” 2022.

“What we choose to not see no. 4,” 2022.

Imagery from archival photographs, cut apart and recombined, tell the overlooked story of Afro-Caribbean women who traveled to early-1900s Panama to work in the Canal Zone. They dressed to pass as men so they would be eligible for the more lucrative work of constructing the canal.

Sanaa Gateja, “Together,” 2019. Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Sanaa Gateja

Born 1950, Kisoro, Uganda

“Together,” 2019, paper beads on barkcloth.

The artist trains and employs members of his community to roll beads from strips of recycled paper (magazines, textbooks, political posters) that he then arranges into patterns mounted on barkcloth.

Soun-Gui Kim

Born 1946, Buyeo, South Korea

Stock Garden-Mme Kong,” 2022, video and sound installation with real-time international stock exchange feed, plants.

An immersive installation that addresses the complex entanglement extant in global markets, stock and more.

Andy Robert

Born 1984, Les Cayes, Haiti

“Cargo,” 2022, oil and mixed media on linen with artist’s frame; 133 by 90 by 2 1/4 inches.

An abstracted urban environment — parts real, imagined and combined — that hovers within a frame the artist created from doors scavenged during walks around New York City.

Mohammed Sami

Born 1984, Baghdad, Iraq

23 Years of Night,” 2022, acrylic on linen, 37 3/8 by 88 9/16 inches.

This curtained image both literally and figuratively references an Arabic literary device that informs the artist: “taoria, whereby a statement has a double and, at times, contradictory meaning.”

Hiromi Tsuchida

Born 1939, Fukui, Japan

Eight inkjet prints on paper, each 46 13/16 by 33 1/8 inches:

“(Lunchbox),” 1982/2022.

“(Melted Statue of Buddha),” 1995/2022.

* “(Dress),” 1982/2022.

“(Watch),” 1982/2022.

* “(School Uniform),” 1982/2022.

* “(Nurses Uniform),” 2018/2022.

“(Monpe Jacket)”, 2018/2022.

* “(Fountain Pen),” 1982/2022.

A short text in the lower margin of each work describes the item photographed and the circumstance by which it came to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Tsuchida says that the text is embedded in the image itself and that one does not exist without the other.

The eight works accessioned, (* four of which were gifted by the artist), are from Tsuchida’s “Hiroshima Collection,” a part of his ongoing “Hiroshima Trilogy” project. “Hiroshima 1945-1979” includes portraits of people who lived through the bombing; “Hiroshima Monument” pictures the landscape at ground zero.

Tsuchida says that he began the trilogy as a way to examine the role each nation played in the bombing, and that of Nagasaki, particularly in light of Japan’s “historicization of the war in which Japan is the victim,” and that if there is a future nuclear war there will essentially be no distinguishing perpetrators and victims. “It will be a global war in which all can be victims.”

terra0, “A tree; a corporation; a person. (DAO #01, Black gum tree, Pittsburgh PA)” at 915 Ridge Ave. Photo courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art.

terra0

Born 2016, Berlin University of the Arts, Germany

Because “A tree; a corporation; a person. (DAO #01, Black gum tree, Pittsburgh PA” was not listed as a museum acquisition, but continues a dialogue of sorts with the institution, we asked for clarification. Here is our question and the museum’s reply:

Q: What is the relationship between the museum and terra0, if not as an acquired piece? Is it the first of its kind?

A: Carnegie Museum of Art’s role is to support select services for the tree, such as maintenance and insurance. As payment for performing these services, the tree will provide the museum with certificates of care, which would be in the form of an NFT on an annual basis. The NFT will be owned by Carnegie Museum of Art, however, NOT part of the museum’s collection. To our knowledge, this is the first of its kind, at least in the United States, but we do not know for certain.

Mary Thomas was the longtime art critic for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.