Carnegie Museum of Art Announces Sohrab Mohebbi as Curator of 58th Carnegie International, Opening 2022
Carnegie Museum of Art
Pittsburgh, PA—Eric Crosby, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of Carnegie Museum of Art announced today the appointment of Sohrab Mohebbi as the Kathe and Jim Patrinos Curator of the 58th Carnegie International, the longest-running survey of contemporary art in North America. The International, which will open in 2022, has been the museum’s signature exhibition since its establishment in 1896.
“I am thrilled to welcome Sohrab to Carnegie Museum of Art and to support his vision for the 58th Carnegie International,” said Crosby. “I have deep admiration for his curatorial work, which consistently foregrounds artists who are uniquely equipped to guide us in navigating the complexities of contemporary life. As a curator, he is committed to examining immediate, local concerns in a broader picture of the world today. I have no doubt he will lead our museum in creating an International that is more collaborative, interdisciplinary, and socially engaged than ever before.”
Mohebbi is a curator, art critic, and writer and comes to Pittsburgh from New York where he most recently served as curator at SculptureCenter. He previously worked at REDCAT and Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Queens Museum in New York. Mohebbi’s research focuses on how art can unframe prescribed ways of inhabiting and perceiving the world.
“It is exciting to shape the next International and be a part of a tremendous exhibition history and discourse that in each edition had to confront, redefine, and question how art breaks away from arbitrary definitions, boundaries, and borders,” Mohebbi says.
With curatorial planning for the International commencing, the themes of decentralization and reconstitution are guiding Mohebbi’s early research. Mohebbi envisions an International that will present Carnegie Museum of Art as one location among others in and around Pittsburgh and beyond, prompting the museum to forge new partnerships with arts organizations, music venues, local universities, and other civic entities. By tracing social, artistic, intellectual, and industrial histories of the city, Mohebbi hopes to connect local concerns rooted in Pittsburgh’s past to current issues prompting national and international debate today. Central to his research will be a collaborative curatorial effort to explore how we reconstitute our lives after upheavals caused by colonialism, imperialism, and environmental disaster.
Mohebbi has organized solo exhibitions by Banu Cennetoğlu, Fiona Connor, Tishan Hsu, Hassan Khan, John Knight, and Falke Pisano, among others. His group exhibitions include Searching the Sky for Rain (2019), It is obvious from the map (2017; co-curated by Thomas Keenan) and Hotel Theory (2015; with Ruth Estévez), which received The Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award in 2013. In 2012, he was the recipient of a grant from the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for his blog presencedocuments. Mohebbi received an M.A. from the Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies and a B.F.A. in Photography from Tehran Art University.
“SculptureCenter congratulates Sohrab on this significant appointment at Carnegie Museum of Art,” says Christian Rattemeyer, Director of SculptureCenter. “We are proud of what Sohrab has contributed to our museum during his time as Curator. We look forward to his work for the Carnegie International, and his continued relationship with us as Curator-at-Large.”
History of the International
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 longest-running international survey exhibition in the world.
Since 1896, 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, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
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.
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 cmoa.org.