Carnegie Museum of Art Presents Diane Severin Nguyen’s Tyrant Star as Third Installment of its Online Exhibition Series
The museum also announces the acquisition of Tyrant Star for its permanent collection
Pittsburgh, PA—Today, Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) unveils Diane Severin Nguyen’s video work Tyrant Star (2019) as the third installment of its online exhibition series. The museum’s inaugural presentation of Tyrant Star corresponds with the museum’s acquisition of the artwork for its permanent collection. Now through February 14, 2021, audiences can experience Nguyen’s film on cmoa.org.
Tyrant Star is a 16-minute, single-channel video work set in and around Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Nguyen (b. 1990, American), created the piece while enrolled in Bard College’s MFA program and the film premiered at the 57th New York Film Festival in 2019.
“Our ever-evolving film and video collection showcases the diversity of artists pushing the boundaries of the medium,” Eric Crosby, the museum’s Henry J. Heinz II Director, says. “We are honored to share this striking new work by emerging artist Diane Severin Nguyen with visitors to cmoa.org. Not only does Nguyen have a keen understanding of the relationship between different sensory experiences, she also brings a unique perspective to the medium as one of the youngest artists represented in the collection.”
Tyrant Star’s unique structure guides viewers through three acts, beginning with intimate views from the edges of the metropolis accompanied by spoken poetry, transitioning to a young woman recording Simon & Garfunkel’s hit song The Sound of Silence, and concluding with footage of children at an orphanage on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. Through the interplay of image and sound, Tyrant Star examines themes of disconnection and communication, which take on amplified meaning in our era of social distancing.
“I wanted to depict the simultaneous realities and timescales of life which can coexist under a single regime, and the impossibility of bridging these gaps through language,” Diane Severin Nguyen says. “The ‘star’ transmutes from symbol, to icon, to flesh; from authoritarian state star, to pop star, to the abjected bodies which suffer the star.”
“In its vivid depiction of everyday moments, Tyrant Star both highlights Nguyen’s background in photography and takes on additional resonance as we watch from home during the pandemic,” exhibition curator Hannah Turpin explains.
A digital extension of the museum’s curatorial program, CMOA’s online exhibition series is dedicated to sharing the museum’s robust film and video collection with audiences worldwide. Diane Severin Nguyen: Tyrant Star follows the presentation of Doug Aitken’s migration (empire) earlier this fall and Rachel Rose’s video work Lake Valley in May 2020.
A series of virtual programs will accompany CMOA’s presentation of Diane Severin Nguyen: Tyrant Star. This will include a conversation between the artist and exhibition curator Hannah Turpin on Wednesday, December 16th at 6:00 pm ET exploring Nguyen’s filmmaking practice and her background in photography. Led by teaching artist Joke Slagle, a trio of DIY family-friendly making activities will take inspiration from Tyrant Star over the course of the exhibition. Following the New Year, teen audiences will have the chance to join a multi-part virtual event with Nguyen. Unless otherwise noted, CMOA events are pay what you wish with registration. More details can be found on cmoa.org.
Diane Severin Nguyen: Tyrant Star is organized by Hannah Turpin, Curatorial Assistant for Modern & Contemporary Art and Photography at CMOA. The exhibition is on view and accessible to all, free of charge, on cmoa.org.
Online Exhibition Series
A first in the museum’s history, this series is dedicated to the museum’s film and video collection. This extension of the museum’s curatorial program into the digital sphere offers a new channel for local and global audiences to experience time-based works previously only accessible in-person. With this initiative, CMOA is revolutionizing how visitors can engage with its significant holdings at a time when many cultural institutions are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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. Additional generous support from Carnegie Museum of Art Premier Partners: Highmark, NOVA Chemicals, and Waldron Wealth.
Health and Safety
The health and safety of museum visitors and staff is CMOA’s highest priority. CMOA is following CDC recommended safety protocols with updated health and safety procedures. These include limiting admissions to 15% of building capacity through required timed ticketing; requiring face coverings; encouraging safe social distancing of six feet or more between groups and individuals; enhanced air- filtration and cleaning protocols; and clearly marking foot-traffic patterns in high-traffic areas. CMOA is also designating special hours for those visitors who are high-risk due to age (65+) or a medical condition on Wednesday mornings from 10 a.m.–12 noon.
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 cmoa.org.
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