Artist Thaddeus Mosley. Photo by Brian Conley.

North America’s oldest exhibition of contemporary art, the Carnegie International, has always provided a dose of steroids for the city’s art scene, bringing top international talent to show provocative works at the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA). The list of participating artists for the 57th edition of the International, which starts in October and runs through March 2019, was just announced.

International and local

The International’s curator is living up to her reputation for taking a broad approach to collecting and collaborating with artists and scholars from across the globe. Ingrid Schaffner, who previously served as chief curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, traveled through 15 countries — recounted in a lively series of Travelogue essays — to develop a list of 32 artists and artist collectives who explore diverse media, experiences and approaches.

Schaffner hopes the International will spark “museum joy” in viewers, tasking artists with creating site-specific works in the galleries.

Huma Bhabha, who recently installed her massive figurative sculptures on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will be shown along with El Anatsui, a sculptor based in Nigeria who uses simple materials to create dazzling, draping compositions, and Postcommodity, an Indigenous artist collective whose two-mile “Repellant Fence” straddles the U.S.-Mexico border.

There will be an immersive work by Alex Da Corte, who has art directed vibrant videos for the musician St. Vincent, and the Ho Chi Minh City-based collective Art Labor, who examine the politics of coffee by recreating a Vietnamese truck stop (hammocks and coffee included).

Film artist Tacita Dean will install a performance-based work in the jewel box Hall of Music, and other filmmakers will be included in a series of four, day-long Saturday “Cinémathèque” programs.

The list also includes Kerry James Marshall, a masterful painter, and the younger conceptual artist, Tavares Strachan, whose “You Belong Here” (2012) set sail on a barge in New Orleans with that inclusive message.

Dakar-based “exhibition-maker” Koyo Kouoh will shake up the museum’s gallery devoted to “pre-1300, African and Asian art.”

Meanwhile, conceptual artist Mel Bochner will make a homecoming, and Pittsburgh-based artists Lenka Clayton and Jon Rubin will delve into the International archives to develop a new piece.

Some works look back as well as forward: Internationals of the early 1950s influenced Pittsburgh-based sculptor Thaddeus Mosley, whose wooden carvings will be displayed en masse at this year’s edition.

Works from the archives of Teenie Harris, a prolific photojournalist for the Pittsburgh Courier, examine Pittsburgh’s history.

And beyond the International, the Andy Warhol Museum will open the first solo museum exhibition by Carnegie Mellon professor Devan Shimoyama, whose glittering canvases explore queer black masculinity.

Downtown, the August Wilson Center and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will co-present “Flying Girls” by Peju Alatise. Both are shows not to be missed.

See the full list of participating artists here.

Participants after the Tam O’Shanter Drawing Session: Vietnamese Coffee with Art Labor, December 2, 2017. Sketch scent, and tint drawings of plants with Vietnamese coffee. Courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Meet the artists with Tam O’Shanter Drawing Sessions

Though the International will run from October 13, 2018 through March 25, 2019, some programming has already begun. In the spirit of Carnegie’s efforts to found a museum that educates and inspires, the Tam O’Shanter Drawing Sessions is a series of workshops conducted by the exhibition’s participants. The name “Tam O’Shanter” is a nod to the art classes that CMOA has offered since 1929, which have educated countless Pittsburgh youth, including renowned artists such as Mel Bochner, Duane Michals and Andy Warhol.

Today, these workshops have a new spin: Schaffner thinks of “Tam sessions” more like “jam sessions,” a space for creative freedom taking place in different spaces throughout the city. Artists Maira Kalman, Prem Krishnamurthy, Thaddeus Mosley, Dayanita Singh and the collective Art Labor have already led sessions that have ranged from painting with coffee to curating jazz playlists. Later this month, visitors can make ‘zines with Mimi Cherono Ng’ok and artifact critters with Lucy Skaer. Expect more events to be announced in the coming months here. And act fast, because they sell out quickly.

Keyword “international”

Sarah Rafson

Sarah Rafson is the founder of Point Line Projects, an editorial and curatorial agency for architecture and design. She serves on the board of ArchiteXX, an advocacy organization for women in architecture.