The Carnegie International: Notes from the Curator

As the artists and installation crew ready the Carnegie International for its October 13 opening, curator Ingrid Schaffner shares some of the ideas that informed the making of the exhibition.


Emily Willson
Carnegie Museum of Art

Jen Joy

Curator stands in gallery beside ceramic glazed tiled artwork

Curator Ingrid Schaffner stands in front of Sarah Crowner’s Wall (Wavy Arrow Terracotta), 2018. Photo: Bryan Conley.

Pittsburgh, PA (October 3, 2018) Since she began her research in May 2015, curator Ingrid Schaffner has traveled to 23 countries on 5 continents, visiting with artists and absorbing the currents and concerns of contemporary art in all its richness and variety. It has taken more than three years to shape those encounters into the rigorously crafted whole that opens on Saturday, October 13. Now Schaffner invites the public to explore the exhibition and interpret the art.

The 57th edition of the Carnegie International offers visitors an abundance of encounters with the work of artists and collectives from around the world. The exhibition explores what “international” means at a moment when questions of nations, nationalism, boundaries, and border crossings are becoming ever more urgent. At the same time, the exhibition is very much of its specific place and time: Pittsburgh, 2018; local visitors will recognize the art of familiar, Pittsburgh-based artists. Bridging shifting terrains and forging surprising linkages, the exhibition invites visitors to make their own connections in the presence of art and other people.

Schaffner offers four interpretative themes to guide these explorations:

  • Children respond to art with immediacy and directness—with curiosity, delight, and sometimes boredom.
  • Politics connects art to the world at large.
  • Beauty delivers on art’s promise—albeit sometimes in forms that appear downright ugly.
  • Sound signifies art as lived experience.

The Carnegie International offers visitors an opportunity to imagine what the future might be. Schaffner invites visitors to open themselves to ideas and feelings the exhibition may spark; “I hope people will use all their senses, make their own meaning, and revel in the creative work of interpretation the exhibition invites.”


Major support for the Carnegie International, 57th Edition, 2018 has been provided by the Carnegie International Endowment, The Fine Foundation, and the Keystone Friends of the 2018 Carnegie International. Additional major support is provided by the Friends of the 2018 Carnegie International, the Jill and Peter Kraus Endowment for Contemporary Art, The Fellows of Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Louisa S. Rosenthal Family Fund.

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 creates experiences that connect people to art, ideas, and one another. 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 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. To learn more, please call 412.622.3131 or visit