The Carnegie International opens at the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) on Oct. 13, bringing stunning works by artists from around the globe to Pittsburgh. The show is years in the making and visitors will find works in a huge range of styles and media.
When we wrote about plans for the show last spring, the International’s celebrated curator Ingrid Schaffner told us she hoped the exhibition would spark “museum joy” for visitors. To create this dramatic showcase of impactful art, Schaffner traveled through 15 countries to choose more than two dozen artists and art collectives using diverse materials, experiences and approaches.
Which will fascinate you most and leave you seeing the world in a new way? To give you a sneak peek, we’ve scoped out 10 pieces and installations that are especially worth hunting for — from the small and subtle to the most enormous.
CMOA won’t tell us too much about Tavares Strachan’s work, which will hang on the building’s exterior. But they will tell us that it’s based on his encyclopedia of invisible people, places, groups and things, and it’s very much worth seeing. You’ll have to do a bit of walking, we’re told, if you want to see the whole thing.
WE GET IT.
Artist Mel Bochner grew up in Pittsburgh taking art classes at CMOA and became a pioneering artist working with text-based creations. His blunt interjections make their first appearance at the International and are sprinkled throughout the show. You’ll find “I DON’T GET IT,” “DO I HAVE TO DRAW YOU A PICTURE?” and “I STILL DON’T GET IT,” made by smashing thick paint into black velvet, hung in unexpected places. And you thought black velvet canvases were just for paintings of Elvis.
A Steelers schedule on the building?
Nigeria-based artist El Anatsui has a history of making building-scale sculpture from recycled materials. After a trip to the top of Mt. Washington, the gorgeous topography of our region inspired a massive work 160 feet long that’s being mounted on the face of the museum. It’s made of used aluminum printing plates from nearby Knepper Press. Look closely and you’ll see all manner of ads, magazine spreads, and yes, a 2018 Steelers schedule.
All in a day’s work.
Kevin Jerome Everson’s “Park Lanes” represents one complete shift at a factory that makes bowling equipment. This video is beautifully shot and edited, and is literally a full day’s work to consume from start to finish: It’s eight hours long. Sit down any time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to catch a glimpse into these workers’ lives.
One artist’s daily walk (and smoking habit) creates pocket-sized perfection.
Yuji Agematsu takes a daily walk around his neighborhood. Along the way, he picks up little bits of junk: wrappers, gumballs, pieces of foil. He carefully arranges each into an empty cigarette pack cellophane wrapper, creating a daily artwork that resembles a terrarium. The International will have a full year’s worth of these daily collections, which come together to create a stunning mix of colors and textures.
A world of images that belong to children (and the children in all of us).
Classic children’s book illustrations are somehow instantly recognizable, even if you don’t know which book a particular illustration came from. There is a gentleness to them, a language our culture uses to speak to children even before they’ve begun reading. Artist Rachel Rose cuts and collages these images into gorgeous animated creations, then Lucy Skaer reproduces them at colossal scale.
Paintings with so much more than paint.
Step into the first gallery, and you’ll see geometric paintings on all surfaces. Except, they’re not exactly paintings. Clay tile, baked enamel, intricate weaving and even painted fabric that’s been cut and then sewn back together. Artists Sarah Crowner and Ulrike Müller inject craft work into paintings that are even more than the sum of their handmade parts.