Teenie Harris Photographs: Cars
April 30–October 31, 2015
Carnegie Museum of Art
Charles “Teenie” Harris photographed several decades of life in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, and was known for his love of beautiful women, big dogs, and big cars. Teenie Harris Photographs: Cars presents 25 selections from Carnegie Museum of Art’s Teenie Harris Archive, which contains well over 2,000 images of automobiles from the 1930s to 1970s.
The exhibition emphasizes not only the beauty and elegance of these iconic cars—Cadillacs, Dusenbergs, Hudsons, and Buicks—but also the roles that they played in Pittsburgh’s segregated African American communities. Harris photographed the micro economy of the Hill District’s repair shops, service stations, and dealerships, as well as black celebrities interacting with cars, such as Willie Mays representing Buick, or Nat King Cole riding in a black-owned Owl Cab when other Pittsburgh taxi services refused black riders. Harris captured them on showroom floors, in driveways, on the street, and at parties, always as part of daily life.
Also on view will be recently-digitized 16mm film footage from the Archive. The video depicts Harris and his family with their cars, and is paired with oral histories by Harris’s children, Lionel Harris, Crystal Harris Pass, and Cheryl Harris Watson, recalling their childhood experiences with a car-loving dad.
Teenie Harris Photographs: Cars is organized by Kenneth L. Hawthorne (b. 1934), who once serviced cars for Teenie and his brother Woogie Harris. Teenie followed Hawthorne’s automotive career from Esso station owner to a vice president of Gulf Oil in Pittsburgh.
This is the fourth in a series of small exhibitions drawn from the Teenie Harris Archive on view in the museum’s Lobby Gallery.
Support for Teenie Harris Photographs: Cars is provided by The Fellows of Carnegie Museum of Art.
General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Carnegie Museum of Art
Located at 4400 Forbes Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, it is nationally and internationally recognized for its distinguished collection of American and European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 19th century to the present. Founded in 1896, the Carnegie International is one of the oldest surveys of contemporary art worldwide. The Heinz Architectural Center, part of Carnegie Museum of Art, is dedicated to enhancing understand of the built environment through its exhibitions, collections, and public programs. The Hillman Photography Initiative serves as an incubator for innovative thinking about the photographic image. For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, call 412.622.3131 or visit our website at www.cmoa.org.
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