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Pittsburgh, PA…Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) announces a year of immersive special exhibitions. Experience art emphasizing participation and interaction, and art that captivates, whether through overwhelming scale, or through deep examination of stories and ideas.
CMOA is Pittsburgh’s premier venue for international contemporary art. In 2016, the museum presents the most complete survey to date of Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica, including his touchable works, wearable art activated by movement, and total environments. Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s colossal bronze sculptures Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads will occupy and resonate with the magnificent Hall of Architecture. Legendary artist and poet Alison Knowles invites visitors to contribute to a temporary installation of her Celebrate Red at the opening of the most complete retrospective of five decades of her visual and performance art. And Building Optimism at the Heinz Architectural Center at CMOA investigates new architecture that is shaping South American public spaces for the better.
CMOA collects. Through its world-class collection of more than 30,000 objects, CMOA creates a constantly changing gallery experience that pairs visitor curiosity with deep knowledge and design smarts. Our photography department leverages its holdings, and that of our sibling Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, for Strength in Numbers, with photographic groupings spanning over a century. With actor Bill Nunn as guest curator, our Teenie Harris Archive celebrates performances, both offstage, and onstage (with a companion show at The August Wilson Center). And as always, nearly 100,000 square feet of gallery space houses our world-class collection of art, architecture, and design, emphasizing the 19th century to the present.
Teenie Harris Photographs: Great Performances Offstage
Charles “Teenie” Harris had tremendous behind-the-scenes access to stage and screen performers over his four-decade career. Teenie Harris Photographs: Great Performances Offstage celebrates performances of all kinds as produced or experienced by Pittsburgh’s African American community between ca. 1935 and ca. 1980.
Actor Bill Nunn guest curated the exhibition, as well as its companion show, Great Performances Onstage at the August Wilson Center, and was struck by how the artists, August Wilson and Teenie Harris, were able to blend worlds. “August Wilson and Teenie Harris brought young people and the everyday working man together with the great artists of the day,” said Nunn. Whether it was a star showcase production from Harlem’s Apollo Theater, or a Sunday school nativity pageant, Teenie Harris was there to photograph the anticipation, excitement, and showmanship of a great performance.
Associated Artists of Pittsburgh 104th Annual Exhibition
May 14–August 15
The AAP annual exhibition is the longest and oldest continuing survey exhibition of regional art in the country. Established in 1910, the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh (AAP) is an artist member organization with more than 600 members in the southwestern Pennsylvania region. The 104th Annual Exhibition features selections by juror Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, a Los Angeles–based writer and curator.
May 20–October 24
For five decades, visual artist and poet Alison Knowles (b. 1933) has expanded the boundaries of art with her performative work and participatory installations. Taking ordinary things such as books, beans, shoes, and strings as curious points of departure, she engages our senses and invites us to share in her intimate way of seeing the world. The exhibition–the first at any museum to consider the breadth of the artist’s work across media—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 for feet that creates a soundtrack for the gallery, as the rustling sounds of dry beans are amplified throughout the space. 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 of 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 hands-on interaction.
Since the 1960s, Knowles has performed her “event scores” around the world, inviting audiences to take part in their completion. 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.
Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads
May 28–August 29
Hall of Architecture
This summer, dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s monumental sculpture Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads adds a compelling new layer to CMOA’s magnificent Hall of Architecture. Comprising 12 bronze animal heads representing the traditional Chinese zodiac, Ai’s work reimagines those that that once adorned the famed fountain-clock of Yuanming Yuan, an imperial retreat in Beijing destroyed by the British in 1860. It debuted on the world stage in 2011 shortly after the artist, an outspoken critic of the communist regime, had been detained by Chinese authorities and held for 80 days.
Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads pays homage to China’s history while speaking to contemporary concerns. “It’s about the future and the past, and how China is looked at today and how it looks at itself,” explains the artist. “It has many, many different layers—is it art or not art, and to what degree?”
The expansive Hall of Architecture houses one of the world’s few remaining cast collections, filled with reproductions of classical facades and fragments from throughout the Western world. Likewise, Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads reinterprets a cultural and political remnant of China’s past. Together they create a one-of-a-kind immersive experience that brings together past and present, and underscores how cultural histories are retold.
This presentation complements the concurrent exhibition Andy Warhol/Ai Weiwei at The Andy Warhol Museum (June 4–August 28).
Strength in Numbers: Photography in Groups
July 23, 2016–February 6, 2017
Photographers often work in series to construct narratives or delve deeply into a subject. Strength in Numbers: Photography in Groups explores the concept of groupings through three significant collections. Featuring more than 75 photographs from Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and The Andy Warhol Museum, Strength in Numbers presents constellations of photographs around three themes. The themes—People, Place, and Perspective—include works from the early 1900s to the present and address the ways in which groups of pictures enhance our understanding of the world.
Building Optimism: Public Space in South America
The Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art
September 10, 2016–February 13 2017 + summer 2016 micro-show
Discover design for urban life in South America that builds upon radical optimism—a belief that planning can shape and improve lives. Spanning more than a dozen projects in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela, Building Optimism: Public Space in South America investigates ways that emerging architects and designers instigate change through design in the public realm. Through video and photography, as well as drawings and models, the exhibition immerses visitors in inventive ways that public space can become social space—sites that respond to the unique circumstances and potential of their communities.
Internationally renowned Ecuador-based architects Al Borde will use Building Optimism to showcase their concepts for North Braddock’s Recycle Park. Recycle Park is a community gathering place and playground undergoing a transformation that incorporates the needs of its neighbors. “Al Borde often works on projects with low budgets; they attempt to turn scarcity of resources into an advantage, considering not just money, but also skills, knowledge, materials, property, or even friends and acquaintances as assets in the project.” –Chicago Architecture Biennial
Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium
October 1, 2016–January 2, 2017
Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium is the first comprehensive US retrospective of the influential Brazilian artist (1937–1980). Ranging from beautifully balanced geometric paintings to immersive, interactive environments, Oiticica’s work is visually arresting, wholly original, and seeks to build a participatory relationship with audiences. The exhibition is co-organized by CMOA, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Art Institute of Chicago.
Installed in CMOA’s Heinz Galleries and expanding into its Hall of Sculpture, Hélio Oiticica moves from the artist’s two-dimensional works into his explorations of color and form in three-dimensional space. His Penetrables are colorful structures inspired by makeshift dwellings in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro that can be traversed by viewers. Parangolés, works in fabric that can be carried or worn, were originally made for the samba dancers in the Mangueira favela. The massive installation Eden, installed in the Hall of Sculpture at the heart of the museum, includes tents for sleeping or listening to music, and beds filled with straw for relaxation or light reading. Because of its size, it is rarely presented.
The first exhibition to explore in depth the artist’s New York years (1971–1978) and his return to Rio (1978–1980), Hélio Oiticica invites a reconsideration of an internationally recognized yet too-rarely encountered artist.
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.
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