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Participatory and interactive works by artist and poet Alison Knowles come to CMOA
May 20–October 24, 2016
Pittsburgh, PA…Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) presents Alison Knowles, the first museum exhibition to consider the full breadth of the artist’s work across media. The exhibition, which is the 77th installment of the museum’s Forum series, features a focused selection of key pieces from the 1960s to the present, including interactive sculptures; sound-making objects; large works on paper, silk, and canvas; and a selection of the artist’s own collected ephemera.
Visitors to CMOA’s Forum Gallery can share in the artist’s experience through touchable, interactive works such as Bean Garden (1971/2016), a tactile encounter that creates a soundtrack for the gallery, as the rustling of dry beans underfoot are amplified throughout the space using microphones. The Boat Book (2014–2015), a large sculptural work consisting of eight-foot-tall moveable pages organized on a central spine, offers an immersive reading experience—an ode to the artist’s older brother who worked on fishing vessels in the Atlantic. A cabinet filled with found objects from Knowles’s own studio—a kind of “retrospective in a box”—also joins the installation. Facilitators in the gallery bring visitors closer to the show through engaging demonstration and conversation.
“Alison Knowles is best known for her performative works of the 1960s, in which she and other artists of her generation associated with the avant-garde group Fluxus expanded the boundaries of art, music, and poetry,” says exhibition curator Eric Crosby, The Richard Armstrong Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at CMOA. “With this show, we are casting equal light on her innovative printed work, collages, sounded objects, and sculptures. I hope the installation will draw museum visitors into Alison’s inquisitive way of looking at the world.”
Since the 1960s, Knowles has performed her “event scores” around the world, inviting audiences to take part in their fruition. During the exhibition’s May 19 opening event, the artist invites participation in her iconic Celebration Red (1962), in which hundreds of Pittsburghers will contribute to a temporary installation of found red objects in the Hall of Sculpture. Visitors may encounter performances of additional scores in the gallery space and beyond.
Opening Event: Celebration Red
May 19, 6:30–8 p.m.
Hall of Sculpture
Join Alison Knowles as she conducts one of her favorite event scores, Celebration Red. For free admission to the museum, bring a red object to leave in our temporary participatory installation in the Hall of Sculpture. Be among the first to enjoy Alison Knowles in the Forum Gallery.
Third Thursday: CELEBRATE
May 19, 8–11 p.m.
CMOA & Sculpture Court
$10 / $8 members / $5 students / $5 Celebration Red participants
Every Third Thursday, we keep the galleries open late and turn up the volume! In the Sculpture Court, catch live performances by Meeting of Important People and The Garment District. We’ll keep Alison Knowles’s event score Celebration Red active throughout the night—bring a red object to contribute to the growing collaborative installation. All CMOA galleries remain open until 11 p.m., including the just-opened Alison Knowles in the Forum Gallery.
About the Artist
Born in New York City in 1933, Alison Knowles is a visual artist and poet admired for her sound works, prints, installations, performances, and publications. In the 1960s, she was a founding member of Fluxus, an international avant-garde group known for its performance events and widely distributed multiples. Notably, she compiled the book Notations (1969) with John Cage, an influential anthology of experimental music compositions, and she silkscreened Marcel Duchamp’s Coeur Volants (1968), his final printed work.
Over the course of her career, Knowles has consistently engaged the notion of the book, expanding our understanding of the form with small published objects such as Bean Rolls (1963), editions to be worn and performed such as Loose Pages (1983), and large-scale immersive volumes such as The Boat Book (2014–2015). Her much discussed event scores Make a Salad (1962) and The Identical Lunch (1969) have been performed at Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and many other venues worldwide. In addition to her many teaching engagements, Knowles has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship (1968), grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1981 and 1985), a Lifetime Achievement Award from the College Art Association (2003), and honorary doctorates from Columbia College (2009) and Pratt Institute (2015).
Support for the Forum series is generously provided by the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation.
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
Carnegie Museum of Art enriches people’s lives through art. The museum is committed to global engagement and regional advancement. We champion creativity and its importance to society with experiences that welcome, inspire, challenge, and inform. Our core activities—collecting, conserving, presenting, and interpreting works of art—make those experiences possible. Our world-class collection of over 30,000 works emphasizes art, architecture, photography, and design from the 19th century to the present. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. Learn more: call 412.622.3131 or visit cmoa.org.