Ingrid Schaffner will curate 57th Carnegie International


Emily Willson
Carnegie Museum of Art

CMOA Names Ingrid Schaffner Curator of 57th Carnegie International

Schaffner will assume her role May 1, 2015

Lynn Zelevansky, The Henry J. Heinz II Director of Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA), announced today the appointment of Ingrid Schaffner as curator of the 57th Carnegie International. The Carnegie International, initiated in 1896, is one of the world’s preeminent surveys of contemporary art. The 57th International will open in fall 2018. Schaffner will assume her role on May 1, 2015, and move to Pittsburgh in September 2015.

Ingrid Schaffner, Photo: Constance Mensh

Ingrid Schaffner; Photo: Constance Mensh, courtesy of Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania

“The International is CMOA’s signature exhibition,” said Zelevansky. “It is the largest, most ambitious show that we take on, bringing art and ideas from around the world to Pittsburgh, while emphasizing the city’s unique sense of place.” She added, “It takes a special kind of curator to successfully organize such an exhibition, and we are delighted to have Ingrid on board. She is thoughtful and knowledgeable, an excellent writer, and has true collaborative spirit.”

Schaffner is an American curator, art critic, writer, and educator, specializing in art history. She lives in Philadelphia and Lubbock, Texas. Since 2000, she has directed the exhibition program as chief curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the leading museums dedicated to exhibiting the innovative art of our time. Her work often coalesces around themes of archiving and collecting, photography, feminism, and alternate modernisms—especially Surrealism. She is author of more than 20 books and nearly 200 articles, reviews, and features, ranging from Salvador Dalí’s Dream of Venus to The Essential Andy Warhol, from an essay on exhibition wall text to an art history of chocolate.  She has organized monographic exhibitions of the work of Karen Kilimnik, Barry Le Va, Jess, Jason Rhoades, and Anne Tyng, among others, and thematic group shows such as The Photogenic, The Puppet Show, Queer Voice, and Dirt on Delight: Impulses that Form Clay.

Born in Pittsburgh, Schaffner grew up in Los Gatos, California. She attended Mount Holyoke College, and attended the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program, where she was a Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow. She then received a master’s degree in art history at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. After organizing shows for the Drawing Center, Swiss Institute, Haus der Kunst (Munich), Hayward Gallery (London), Independent Curators International, White Columns, and elsewhere, Schaffner was invited by then-director Claudia Gould to reshape and oversee ICA’s curatorial department.

Schaffner envisions the 2018 edition of the Carnegie International as an exhibition informed by the perspectives of an international group of “traveling and thinking partners.” Invited for their expertise of different areas of the art world—geographic as well as disciplinary—each curator colleague will accompany Schaffner on a journey to a region unfamiliar to them both. Expanding on the role of the advisor, through the process of research, the partners will also spend time in Pittsburgh, integrating experiences of the particularities and perspectives of this city into the exhibition’s themes and ideas.


According to Schaffner:

“Crafting the next Carnegie International is a chance to shape one of the momentous cultural forces that helped form me. I grew up going to the Carnegie museums and library, and I have been making pilgrimages back to Pittsburgh to see the International since 1995. For me, embarking on this project is a venture into the unknown—a massive research enterprise that will be informed over the next three years by looking, by thinking and talking with artists, colleagues, and collectors, and by traveling to look some more. What better way to see where contemporary art will lead us in 2018?”

Established in 1896 as the Annual Exhibition, the Carnegie International was initially held every fall (with few exceptions) and focused almost solely on painting. By 1955, the show had adopted a triennial schedule and, in 1958, it became known as the Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture, a title it retained until 1970. After an interruption in the 1970s, the exhibition resumed in 1977 and 1979 as the International Series, single-artist shows intended as a parallel to the Nobel Prize for the arts. In 1982, it reappeared under its original triennial survey format as the Carnegie International, and has been mounted every three to five years since. After the Venice Biennale, the Carnegie International is the oldest international survey exhibition in the world.

Over the last 119 years, the museum has acquired hundreds of works of art that have appeared in Carnegie International exhibitions, including works by Josef Albers, Dara Birnbaum, Louise Bourgeois, Mary Cassatt, Nicole Eisenman, Isa Genzken, Robert Gober, Dan Graham, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Mike Kelley, Ellsworth Kelly, Louise Lawler, Glenn Ligon, Agnes Martin, Julie Mehretu, Bruce Nauman, Chris Ofili, On Kawara, Nam June Paik, Sigmar Polke, Auguste Rodin, Doris Salcedo, John Singer Sargent, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Kara Walker, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

Prizes awarded to Carnegie International artists include the Carnegie Prize for outstanding achievement in the exhibition in the context of a lifetime of work, and the Fine Prize for an emerging artist in the exhibition.

The 2013 Carnegie International was highly praised as “a quiet triumph” (New York Times), “strikingly thoughtful” (The New Yorker), and “focused, considered, and perfectly scaled” (The New York Observer). Museum staff eagerly anticipate the first bursts of activity around the next edition of CMOA’s signature exhibition.

Major support for the 57th Carnegie International is provided by The Fine Foundation, the Jill and Peter Kraus Endowment for Contemporary Art, and the Friends of the Carnegie International. Additional early commitments have been received from Nancy and Woody Ostrow, Ellen and Jack Kessler, Mr. and Mrs. Marshall P. Katz, Gordon and Kenny Nelson, and Lise Woodard and John J. Reilly. 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 understanding 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

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