Behold the Beauty of the Still Life in A Delight for the Senses

Exhibition Features Carnegie Museum of Art’s First Dutch 17th Century Still Life, Gift of the Late Drue Heinz

Contact
Taia Pandolfi
Carnegie Museum of Art
pandolfit@cmoa.org
412.688.8690

A Delight for the Senses: The Still Life
November 2, 2019–March 15, 2020
Gallery One

Pittsburgh, PA—Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) is excited to present a new exhibition exploring the rich tradition of still life painting in A Delight for the Senses: The Still Life. Once considered the lowliest genre of painting, the still life has long been overshadowed in the history of art; in this exhibition, visitors will encounter examples from nearly 250 years of the tradition, from the 17th century of Dutch and Flemish painting to America’s Gilded Age.

On the surface, these picturesque arrangements are easy to appreciate for their aesthetic beauty and skillful rendering. A closer look at these sumptuous, calculated arrays of objects ranging from the mundane to the luxurious reveals moral undertones and allusions to the transience of life. The exhibition asks visitors to look closely and unearth meanings that resonate with them while considering the tradition of this once humble genre.

A bowl of ripe lemons, some peeled, with greenery in the background.

Jacob Fopsen van Es, Still Life with Lemons, ca. 1660, Carnegie Museum of Art, Gift of the Drue Heinz Charitable Trust

Special loans from the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Frick Pittsburgh, and severala local private collections will be featured, along with recent bequests from the late Drue Heinz that include the first Golden Age still life in the museum’s collection: Still Life with Lemons, ca. 1660, a painting by Jacob Fopsen van Es that makes its debut in this exhibition.

“We are particularly excited to show the van Es painting,” says Akemi May, assistant curator of Fine Arts. “It’s a marriage of perfectly balanced composition and remarkable technical skill that embody this high point in the still life genre. You almost want to reach out and pick up the lemon peel.”

A dark table showing two bottles of beer, one glass full to the brim with beer, and a large slice of cheese on a cake plate.

Albert Francis King, Late Night Snack, ca. 1900, Carnegie Museum of Art, Purchase, Gift of R. K. Mellon Family Foundation

The exhibition is accompanied by two public events. On November 16, the museum hosts a free event featuring still life photographer Charlee Brodsky in conversation with May; they will discuss the history of the genre and Brodsky’s own practice. This is followed by a $10 hands-on still life composition workshop led by Brodsky, wherein participants will learn how to use lighting and framing to create a still life of their own.

A Delight for the Senses: The Still Life is curated by Akemi May, assistant curator, Fine Arts, Carnegie Museum of Art.

A dark table showing fruit, leaves, and plates in an array of autumnal colors.

Severin Roesen, Still Life with Fruit, ca. 1854–1855, Carnegie Museum of Art, Gift of Gulf Oil Corporation, a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation


Support

Major support for this exhibition is provided by Elizabeth Hurtt Branson and Douglas Branson. Additional support is provided by the Virginia Kaufman Fund.

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.

Mission

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.

Carnegie Museum Of Art Announces Major Survey Of The Prints Of Jasper Johns

Contact
Taia Pandolfi
Carnegie Museum of Art
pandolfit@cmoa.org
412.688.8690

An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018
October 12, 2019–January 19, 2020
Heinz Galleries

Pittsburgh, PA—Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) is pleased to announce it will be the premiering venue for a major touring exhibition dedicated to the printed work of iconic American artist Jasper Johns. Organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which holds a complete archive of the artist’s prints, An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018 presents a rare opportunity for visitors to explore the influential artists’ work in depth.

When Jasper Johns’s paintings of flags and targets debuted in 1958, they brought him instant acclaim and established him as a critical link between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. In the ensuing 60 years, Johns has continued to astonish viewers with the beauty and complexity of his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints. Today, he is widely considered one of America’s most influential artists.

A colorful target on a bright background with a few paint drips coming from the bottom edge

Jasper Johns, Target, 1974, screen print on paper, 35 1/8 x 27 3/8 in., ed. 3/70, Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton, 1988. © Jasper Johns/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Four Carnegie Internationals in the 1950s and 1960s featured Johns’s work, and he received the exhibition’s top Carnegie Prize twice. These events aligned with a monumentally important era for his career, a period that would secure Johns’s status as an artist of international influence and acclaim.

“Jasper Johns has a significant history with this museum,” says Eric Crosby, Henry J. Heinz II Acting Director and Richard Armstrong Senior Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art. “We are honored to present his prints in greater depth to our audience and launch the tour of such an important exhibition.”

An Art of Changes surveys six decades of Johns’s work in printmaking through a selection of some 90 works in intaglio, lithography, woodcut, linoleum cut, screen printing, and lead relief. This broad selection of works manifests the shifts in subject, material, and mood over the course of Johns’s virtuosic career.

Organized in four thematic, roughly chronological sections, the exhibition follows Johns as he revises and recycles key motifs over time. While his early works were intentionally uninflected, later images are more personal, melancholic, and even surreal.

Two U.S. flags side by side: the left one is brighter and cleaner and the right is dingier, the white of the stripes yellowed and greying

Jasper Johns, Flags I, 1973, screen print on paper, 27 3/8 x 35 ½ in., ed. 3/65, Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton, 1988. © Jasper Johns/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

The exhibition begins with a group of works based on common signs and symbols, such as flags, targets, and the alphabet—familiar subjects from the paintings that launched his career—which Johns refers to as “things the mind already knows.” Works in this section include the Color Numeral Series of 1969; the bravura screen print Flags I (1973); and Fragments of a Letter (2010), which presents a text in both English and American Sign Language.

In the second section, viewers will experience prints of artists’ tools and materials, such as stretched canvases, brushes, rulers, and color names. A highlight of this section is the series Fragments According to What (1971), seven prints based on motifs Johns extracted from his eponymous 1964 painting. Also in this section are Souvenir (1972), the first print in which Johns included an image of himself; the offset lithograph Decoy II (1971–73), made from castoff examples of an earlier print; and six variations of his well-known image of paintbrushes in a Savarin coffee can.

Jasper Johns, Savarin, 1977, lithograph on paper, 45 1/2 x 34 in., ed. 3/50, Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton, 1988. © Jasper Johns and U.L.A.E./VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, Published by Universal Limited Art Editions

The third section features abstract works based on motifs such as flagstones and hatch marks. These became a rich source that he returned to often during the 1970s and beyond. Works in this section include Between the Clock and the Bed (1989) and Within (2007).

During the mid-1980s, Johns began using overtly personal motifs in his work, acknowledging that although he had tried in his early work to keep his emotions and personality hidden, it was finally time to “drop the reserve.” His paintings and prints began to teem with autobiographical and personal imagery. These motifs are featured in the final section of the show, which features a series of large-scale intaglios, The Seasons (1987). Also on view are several prints that incorporate elements of a portrait by Pablo Picasso, such as Face with Watch (1996) and Untitled (2016); and a series from 2014, Regrets, which are based on a photograph of the artist Lucien Freud and stamped “Regrets/Jasper Johns.”

The exhibition is accompanied by weekend tours and daily drop-in conversations with docents, free with admission.

Jasper Johns, The Seasons (Summer), 1987, intaglio on paper, 26 ¼ x 19 1/18 in., ed. 3/73, Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton, 1988, © Jasper Johns and U.L.A.E./VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, Published by Universal Limited Art Editions

“Johns reinvented the medium of printmaking in the 1960s and 1970s and since he has continually used it to reinvent himself as an artist,” says Crosby. “This exhibition will be nothing short of a master class in visual creativity.”

An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018 is organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Major support is provided by Judy Dayton and the Prospect Creek Foundation.

The exhibition is curated by Joan Rothfuss, guest curator, Visual Arts, Walker Art Center. Carnegie Museum of Art’s presentation is organized by Eric Crosby, Henry J. Heinz II Acting Director and Richard Armstrong Senior Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art.


Support

Major support for this exhibition is provided by The Virginia Kaufman Fund, the James H. and Idamae B Rich Art Exhibition Endowment, the Bernard S. & Barbara F. Mars Fund, and the Martin G McGuinn Art Exhibition Fund.

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.

Mission

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.

Carnegie Museum Of Art Announces New Exhibitions That Explore Creativity In Its Many Forms

Highlights Include a Survey of Prints by Influential American Artist Jasper Johns and a New Collection Gallery Dedicated to Art and Design from Pittsburgh

Contact
Taia Pandolfi
Carnegie Museum of Art
pandolfit@cmoa.org
412.688.8690

Pittsburgh, PA—Over the next six months, Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) will present a program of thought-provoking exhibitions that investigate the many facets of human creativity. From 17th-century still life paintings to vibrant, contemporary prints and a new commissioned sculpture, the offerings present visitors with a diverse range of artistic experiences and myriad opportunities for conversation.

“Where does creativity come from?” asks Eric Crosby, Henry J. Heinz II Acting Director and Richard Armstrong Senior Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art. “How do our minds and hands give form to something new, unfamiliar, perhaps even strange? What, fundamentally, is the work of the artist? By posing these questions across our many exhibitions, we hope visitors will look closely, encounter new ideas, and unearth answers that are meaningful to them.”

CMOA’s upcoming calendar is anchored by two special exhibitions, each presenting a detailed investigation of a single mode of creative expression. In the Heinz Galleries, An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018, organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, surveys the influential American artist’s careerlong fascination with printmaking. In Gallery One, A Delight for the Senses: The Still Life celebrates an often-overlooked genre of painting that for centuries has harnessed the power of close observation to spark creativity.

Elsewhere in the museum, visitors will have a surprising encounter with a meticulously rendered, lifelike sculpture by Los Angeles–based artist Margaret Honda in the Forum Gallery. A selection of iconic photographs by Charles “Teenie” Harris—staff favorites from past exhibitions—will greet visitors in the Lobby Gallery. Finally, in the Scaife Collection Galleries, A Pittsburgh Anthology will explore Pittsburgh’s special place in history as a city of creativity and artistic innovation by featuring a rotating selection of objects from CMOA’s collections.

A large, green pickle on a white plate

Duane Michals, A Gursky Gherkin is Just a Very Large Pickle, 2001, Carnegie Museum of Art, The Henry L. Hillman Fund. © Duane Michals

A Pittsburgh Anthology
Scaife Gallery 17
August 15, 2019–ongoing

A Pittsburgh Anthology celebrates stories of creative life in Pittsburgh as prompted by Carnegie Museum of Art’s collections across time and media. Since its inception in 1895, the museum has collected works by, about, and for Pittsburgh. Each object sheds light on the many ways that artists, whether local or passing through, engage with the city, its people, communities, landscape, and built environment. While some objects reveal the creative impulse to map or document the city, others speak to Pittsburgh’s unique cultural character.

With this project, CMOA will dedicate Scaife Gallery 17 to exploring these stories, relayed by a multitude of voices from inside and outside the museum. Each story will unfold on printed cards displayed near the artworks, which will be free for the taking. For those wishing to create their own anthology, customizable binders will be available for purchase in the museum store.

A Pittsburgh Anthology is organized by Eric Crosby, Henry J. Heinz II Acting Director and Richard Armstrong Senior Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art; Rachel Delphia, The Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts & Design; and Hannah Turpin, Curatorial Assistant, Contemporary Art and Photography, Carnegie Museum of Art.

A young woman sits on top of a large old-school car in front of a smoky city landscape

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Doris Clark (Moody) seated on Buick car with steel mill in background, Clairton, ca. 1945, Teenie Harris Archive, Carnegie Museum of Art

Iconic: The Photographs of Charles “Teenie” Harris
Lobby Gallery
Ongoing starting this summer

The next exhibition of photographs by Charles “Teenie” Harris will look back at some of the Hill District native’s most iconic images of Pittsburgh. For more than four decades, Harris photographed the city’s African American community for the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the nation’s most influential black newspapers. Since 2011, Carnegie Museum of Art has been showcasing his indelible work through a series of focused exhibitions spanning a number of themes, topics, and histories—Hair (2013), Civil Rights (2015) and Jazz from the Hill (2018)—to name a few. The museum’s collection of nearly 80,000 Harris images is one of the most detailed and intimate records of the black urban experience known today.

This installment celebrates Harris’s work with a selection of staff favorites from past exhibitions. From portraits of Pirates pitching ace Al McBean at Forbes Field and a haunting double exposure of Nina Simone to a pair of Tuskegee Airmen standing at attention and three young boys witnessing the demolition of the Lower Hill, Harris documented cultural moments that were at once hyper-local and nationally resonant. CMOA is currently preparing a gallery in the Scaife Collection Galleries dedicated to the Archive, which will open in early 2020.

The exhibition is organized by Charlene Foggie-Barnett and Dominique Luster, Teenie Harris Archive, Carnegie Museum of Art.

Margaret Honda
Forum Gallery
September 20, 2019–January 26, 2020

The 82nd installment of CMOA’s Forum series debuts a new commission by Los Angeles–based artist Margaret Honda (b. 1961, San Diego, California). For this exhibition, Honda has created a singular, enigmatic sculpture. Painstakingly rendered in lifelike detail including internal organs, and measuring nearly five feet long, the work is modeled after a frog-like form Honda observed in a Renaissance painting at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in Milan. The painting, Bramantino’s Madonna delle Torri (1520), depicts the Madonna and Child enthroned; at their feet lies a slain man and a gargantuan frog with anthropomorphic features. At once material and philosophical, Honda’s sculpture prompts us to ponder our relationship to art and the world we make.

Margaret Honda is organized by Eric Crosby, Henry J. Heinz II Acting Director and Richard Armstrong Senior Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, Carnegie Museum of Art.

Major funding for the Forum series is generously provided by the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation. Additional support for this exhibition is provided by the Ruth Levine Memorial Fund.

An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018
Heinz Galleries
October 12, 2019–January 19, 2020

When Jasper Johns’s paintings of flags and targets debuted in 1958, they brought him instant acclaim and established him as a critical link between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. In the ensuing 60 years, Johns has continued to astonish viewers with the beauty and complexity of his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints. Today, he is widely considered one of America’s most influential artists.

An Art of Changes is a rare opportunity to survey six decades of Johns’s work in printmaking through a selection of some 90 works in intaglio, lithography, woodcut, linoleum cut, screenprinting, and lead relief. Organized in four thematic, roughly chronological sections, the exhibition follows Johns as he revises and recycles key motifs over time. Viewers will see examples of his familiar flags and targets as well as images that explore artists’ tools, materials, and techniques of mark-making; abstract works based on motifs known as flagstones and hatch marks; and later works that teem with autobiographical and personal imagery.

An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018 is organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Major support is provided by Judy Dayton and the Prospect Creek Foundation.

The exhibition is curated by Joan Rothfuss, guest curator, Visual Arts, Walker Art Center. Carnegie Museum of Art’s presentation is organized by Eric Crosby, Henry J. Heinz II Acting Director and Richard Armstrong Senior Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art.

A bowl of ripe lemons, some peeled, with greenery in the background.

Jacob Fopsen van Es, Still Life with Lemons, Carnegie Museum of Art, Gift of the Drue Heinz Charitable Trust

A Delight for the Senses: The Still Life
Gallery One
November 2, 2019–March 15, 2020

Once considered the lowliest of the painting genres, the still life has long been overshadowed in the history of art. A Delight for the Senses: The Still Life is a celebration of this humble genre, exploring nearly 250 years of the tradition from the Dutch Golden Age to America’s Gilded Age.

On the surface, these picturesque arrangements are easy to appreciate for their aesthetic beauty and skillful rendering. A closer look at these sumptuous arrays of objects ranging from the mundane to the luxurious reveals moral undertones and allusions to the transience of life. Loans from the Detroit Institute of Arts and several local collectors will be featured, along with recent bequests from the late Drue Heinz, including the only Dutch Golden Age still life in the museum’s collection on view for the first time.

A Delight for the Senses: The Still Life is curated by Akemi May, Assistant Curator, Fine Arts, Carnegie Museum of Art.

Major support for this exhibition is provided by Elizabeth Hurtt Branson and Douglas Branson.


Support

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.

Mission

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.

Carnegie Museum Of Art Announces New Fellowship To Advance Diversity In The Curatorial Profession

Contact
Taia Pandolfi
Carnegie Museum of Art
pandolfit@cmoa.org
412.688.8690

Pittsburgh, PA—Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) is honored to announce the creation of the Margaret Powell Curatorial Fellowship, a full-time, two-year position for recent college graduates from historically underrepresented backgrounds in the art museum field. Slated to begin in 2020, the fellowship is designed to expand access and build experience for early-career curators while also addressing a field-wide need for greater staff diversity in museums today.

The Margaret Powell Curatorial Fellowship is made possible by generous funding from the Arts, Equity, & Education Fund, a Pittsburgh-based private family foundation. It is named in honor of CMOA’s late curatorial assistant in decorative arts and design who passed away earlier this year. Powell was a valued and tenacious colleague who advocated for historically marginalized artists in her research.

A young man sits on the floor of a gallery, speaking with a group of people.

Photo: Bryan Conley

“We are indebted to the Arts, Equity, & Education Fund for their partnership in creating this critical opportunity for new voices in the curatorial field,” said Eric Crosby, CMOA’s Henry J. Heinz II Acting Director and Richard Armstrong Senior Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art. “A commitment to bringing new voices to the table is essential for museums to thrive in the 21st century.”

“Carnegie Museum of Art’s commitment to deeper community engagement and expanding opportunities aligns closely with AE&E’s mission. The Margaret Powell Curatorial Fellowship will expand the museum’s endeavors to connect people to art, ideas, and one another. This is an exciting opportunity and we are pleased to be partners with the museum,” said Chris and Dawn Fleischner, founders of the Arts, Equity, & Education Fund. Chris Fleischner is also a member of Carnegie Museum of Art’s Advisory Board.

For the two-year fellowship period, the Fellow will gain immersive professional experience in CMOA’s team-oriented curatorial division, working collaboratively across disciplines at the museum and contributing to collection research, interpretive writing, and exhibition development.

“The Fellow’s contributions will be vital to CMOA’s artistic program,” explained Catherine Evans, Director of Strategic Initiatives. “The fellowship is intended to be flexible to align with the Fellow’s interests and to build expertise through research. The Margaret Powell Curatorial Fellowship represents our shared commitment to increasing access to curatorial fields, starting with young people who are embarking upon their careers.”

A job description will be posted widely this summer and CMOA will select a final candidate in the fall.


Support

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.

Mission

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.

Carnegie Museum of Art Spotlights Politically Charged Work of Photographer An-My Lê in 2020 Exhibition

Contact
Taia Pandolfi
Carnegie Museum of Art
pandolfit@cmoa.org
412.688.8690

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

Pittsburgh, PA—Next year, Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) will present 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 will draw connections across Lê’s career and provide unprecedented insight into her subtle, evocative images that draw on a landscape tradition to explore the complexity of war and conflict.

A group of people crouch in a trench, holding guns, in a dirty and chaotic environment. There are film crew members at the front of the image holding boom microphones.

An-My Lê (American, b. Vietnam, 1960), Film Set, “Free State of Jones,” Battle of Corinth, Bush Louisiana, 2015, from the series Silent General, 2017, inkjet print. Courtesy the artist and STXfilms. © An-My Lê

Born in the midst of the Vietnam War, Lê vividly remembers the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in a warzone. She and her family were eventually 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.

A black and white photo of a river with two small boats afloat on top, with various large advertisement signs in the background.

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 creates her photographs from the unique perspective of someone who has experinced civil war from multiple sides,” says Dan Leers, curator of photography at CMOA. “As a woman photographer of Vietnamese descent, Lê also brings a critical viewpoint to a field historically dominated by men. Through her lens, we are exposed to military training, maneuvers, and reenactments which, in turn, invite us to question our own relationship to, and involvement in, conflict and war.”

A man sits in the center wearing a Naval dress uniform in front of a portrait backdrop and the U.S. flag; a woman fixes his tie.

An-My Lê, Portrait Studio, USS Ronald Reagan, North Arabian Gulf, from the series Events Ashore, 2009, inkjet print. Courtesy the artist. © An-My Lê

The exhibition presents selections from all seven of Lê’s major series. The first, Viêt-Nam (1994–1998), is a meditation on her homeland, twenty years after she was forced to flee. In Small Wars (1999–2002), Lê documents Vietnam War reenactors in North Carolina and Virginia, exploring the fantasy and mythology of armed combat. 29 Palms (2003–2004) depicts real soldiers experiencing a dramatized version of the Iraq War as they perform training exercises in California. In Events Ashore (2005–2014), Lê photographs life aboard U.S. Naval ships for the better part of 10 years. Two unpublished series, Sculpture and Trap Rock (1991 and 2006, respectively), examine the effects of human incursion on the landscape.

Finally, CMOA presents Lê’s newest series, Silent General (2015–ongoing), which grapples with the legacy of America’s Civil War. These photographs respond to the complexities of our current socio-political moment with its unsettling echoes of the Vietnam war. Taking inspiration from Walt Whitman’s autobiographical Specimen Days, the series probes the ways in which past conflicts influence and shape the present landscape.

A black and white photo of tall trees and an explosion emanating from the ground.

An-My Lê, Explosion, from the series Small Wars (1999–2002), gelatin silver print. Courtesy the artist. © An-My Lê

While Lê is represented in many major museum collections, An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain will be the first ever survey of her work in an American museum. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue featuring many never-before-published images.

An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain is part of a broader effort by the museum to exhibit the work of diverse, talented photographers who have too often been overlooked,” says Eric Crosby, Henry J. Heinz II Acting Director and Richard Armstrong Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “We are committed to creating a world-class program of photography here in Pittsburgh that will resonate globally.”

An-My Lê: On Contested Terrain is organized by Dan Leers, curator of photography at Carnegie Museum of Art.

A woman adjusts a large format camera.

Portrait of An-My Lê, pictured with her large-format camera, 2012. © John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation


Support

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.

Mission

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.

# # #