Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Carnegie International

The Carnegie International is held once every 4 years at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA. The exhbition was started by Andrew Carnegie in 1896 to bring bright 'on the cusp' artists to public light, per his love of modern art. Each year there is a theme and this years was 'life on mars'. Artits were invited to submit a piece that speaks on these questions.




Many incredible artists have particpated in this event over the years -the 'greats' of the art world so to speak - including in recent times. Whistler, Miro, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, Pissaro, de Koonig, Magritte and Pittsburgh's own Andy Warhol to name just a FEW.The museum then has the option to purchase the pieces for its own collection.
This was the 3rd carnegie international I have attended and I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed this year - surprisingly so. The past 2 exhibitions have really opened my eyes to the depth of modern art. However, there were a few pieces I did enjoy.Ryan Gander's piece was simple enough, a bunch of crystal balls with sheets of paper etched into the center spread out over a gallery floor. However, upon looking closer, you could examine the room through the balls, distorting your view of your surroundings; a 4th dimension as it were.
The most interactive and 'fun' work was by Thomas Hirschhorn, entitled 'signals'. A whole gallery was transformed into a cave through cardboard and packing tape-like you were on mars. you walked under, over and through it. Scattered among the rooms were artifacts of our society that made you wonder: if we moved to another planet, are they worthwhile? Pornography, tabloids, sociology, different types and styles of governments, trash in the form of empty soda cans, books and knowledge. While on the surface a fun house, this had depth and was really thought provoking. The 3rd piece that attracted my attention was by Friedrich Kunath and was untitled. It was the silhouette of a man with luggage, walking towards the line drawing of a very modern house in ruin; behind it was a beautiful, almost atomic sky. This painting tugged at your emotions, you could feel the yearning for home and for the past. It showed a dismal view of life, despite the colorful sky - a lost soul.The fourth and last installation I'll mention was by Richard Hughes. While he had a few pieces shown together, the one that caught my eye was 'the aura of a savage man - signals'. The walls of the gallery were shown with many layers of paint, stripped and chipped away to reviel the layers beneath - a beautiful rainbow of colors. This felt like modernity and mankind stripped away, left to rot. There was beauty in the decay.I must say that quite a few pieces felt like afterthoughts. I didn't see a connection to any of the questions posed, and they raised no thoughts or emotions. Parts of the exhibition felt like a garage sale; were the artists clearing out their storage units? While it wasn't the best I've seen, I must say it's still worth visiting.
the rear courtyard, an installation piece was played out here
All photos are my own or were taken from the offical website listed above.

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