Carnegie Museum of Art Announces a Season of Socially Responsive Exhibitions

Carnegie Museum of Art Announces a Season of Socially Responsive Exhibitions

Taia Pandolfi
Carnegie Museum of Art

Pittsburgh, PA—In 2020 Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) welcomes a dynamic range of exhibitions that explore the many ways artists respond to their social, cultural, and ecological contexts. This ambitious season presents visitors with opportunities to consider the ongoing and sometimes ambiguous role of the artist in some of the most crucial conversations of our time.

“Artists have always been vital contributors to debates in our public sphere,” says Eric Crosby, The Henry J. Heinz II Acting Director and Richard Armstrong Senior Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art. “Whether channeling political attitudes of the moment or creating space for conversation, artists contribute essential nuance and complexity to the issues that shape our present moment. How cultural institutions will embrace them and foster their work is a challenge for our century.”

CMOA’s upcoming calendar begins with the opening of a new dedicated space in the permanent collection galleries for the Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive, as well as a rotating gallery for photographs and works on paper. Read on to discover what lies in store for the museum’s visitors.

A young boy sits in a boxing ring with boxing gloves on, smiling at the camera

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Little boy boxer seated in boxing ring, ca. 1945, Carnegie Museum of Art, Teenie Harris Archive

Teenie Harris Gallery
Scaife Galleries
January 25, 2020–ongoing

CMOA is thrilled to announce the creation of a dedicated gallery for the Teenie Harris Archive. This space will feature iconic examples of Harris’s photographs and host a number of educational programs and community events inspired by this world-renowned collection.

Harris—who was a photographer for The Pittsburgh Courier, one of the nation’s most influential black newspapers—created an unparalleled chronicle of African American history and culture during the mid-twentieth century. As both a member and documentarian of the black community, Harris remains an iconic figure in Pittsburgh to this day. With this installation, the museum celebrates Harris’s legacy and looks forward to creating opportunities for creative collaboration with local partners.

The Teenie Harris Gallery is organized by Dominique Luster, archivist, and Charlene Foggie-Barnett, archive specialist, Teenie Harris Archive.

Photography and Works on Paper Gallery
Scaife Galleries
January 25, 2020–ongoing

Adjacent to the Teenie Harris Gallery, Carnegie Museum of Art also debuts a dedicated space for the presentation of photography and works on paper from the permanent collection. Inaugurating this space will be a selection of recent acquisitions in photography, on view through June 14, 2020. Featuring 25 works acquired over the past four years, the installation will highlight new and significant additions to the collection by artists including Ansel Adams, James Casbere, Nona Faustine, Vivian Maier, and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

This installation is organized by Dan Leers, curator of photography, and Hannah Turpin, curatorial assistant for modern and contemporary art and photography.

A row of houses set behind a low wall with a colorful mural.

Christine Holtzer and Lauren S. Zadikow, 50 Greenspace Dumpsites, Forest Way, Site #2 (detail). Courtesy of the artists

Forum Gallery
February 21–July 26, 2020

The 83rd installation of CMOA’s Forum series presents a thematic group exhibition that addresses the present urgency of global warming. The title, taken from a quotation in Pittsburgh environmentalist Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), identifies the show’s specific focus on the fraught relationship between human impact and environmental response.

This exhibition features new and existing work by ten Pittsburgh-based artists who are acknowledging the transitory state of our environment, the ecological, economic, and public health consequences on the horizon, and how these conditions intersect with their own lived experiences. Through their selections of materials, the use of data and documentation, their surrealist imaginings, or references to urban development and disconnection from nature, these works grapple with the ecological present and its uncertain future.

Counterpressures has been developed in partnership with the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, the oldes continuously-exhibiting visual arts organization in the country. Artists include Allison Blair, Paper Buck, Seth Clark, Tara Fay Coleman, Christine Holtz, Stephanie Martin, Travis Mitzel, Njaimeh Njie, Su Su, and Ginger Brooks Takahashi.

Counterpressures is organized by Hannah Turpin, curatorial assistant for modern and contemporary art and photography.

Major funding for the Forum series is generously provided by the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation.

Viêt Nam Untitled Ho-Chi-Minh City 1995

An-My Lê, Untitled, Ho Chi Minh City, from the series Viêt Nam, 1995, gelatin silver print. Courtesy the artist. © An-My Lê

An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain
Heinz Galleries
March 14–July 26, 2020

Carnegie Museum of Art presents the first comprehensive survey of the work of photographer An-My Lê (American, born Vietnam, 1960). Featuring photographs from each of the artist’s major bodies of work, An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain creates connections across Lê’s career and provides unprecedented insight into her subtle, evocative images, which draw on traditions of landscape photography to explore the complexity of war and conflict.

Born in the midst of the Vietnam War, Lê vividly remembers the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in a war zone. She and her family were evacuated by the US military in 1975. It would take another 20 years for Lê to return to her homeland, this time with a large-format camera in tow. Since then, she has spent nearly twenty-five years recording the impact of the military on people, the landscape, and cultural memory.

The exhibition features selections from each of Lê’s seven series, including works from her latest series, Silent General, on view for the first time.

An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain is organized by Dan Leers, curator of photography. Major support for this exhibition is provided by Lannan Foundation, Philip and Edith Leonian Foundation, and The Martin G. McGuinn Art Exhibition Fund. Additional support is provided by The Fellows of Carnegie Museum of Art.

The Fabricated Landscape
Heinz Architectural Center
May 9–September 13, 2020

This exhibition presents work by ten architectural practices from around the world, each represented by three projects that range from single houses to projects that operate at the scale of the natural terrain and urban infrastructure. All of these projects exhibit a sensibility toward the larger world to which they belong and contribute.

Each of these practices looks anew at architecture’s need to communicate with and augment the public sphere. These architects approach urban intervention and landscape with an alertness to sociopolitical issues and a renewed appreciation of craft. Several of the projects are specific to postindustrial communities and the Global South. Many of the objects have not been exhibited previously in the United States.

The Fabricated Landscape features projects by Assemble (England), Frida Escobedo (Mexico), Go Hasegawa and Associates (Japan), Studio Anna Heringer (Germany), Studio Anne Holtrop (Bahrain), LCLA office (Colombia/Norway), MAIO (Spain), OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen (Belgium), SO–IL (USA), and UMWELT (Chile).

This exhibition is organized by Raymund Ryan, curator, Heinz Architectural Center.

Support for this exhibition was provided by the Drue Heinz Trust, which also provides generous support for the operations and other programs of the Heinz Architectural Center.


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 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