(This is a guest post from our very own Kim!)
You have just one more month to see the Carnegie International — one of the eight great modern art exhibitions in the world. As it’s just down the street from me, I figured I ought to tell you why you should go.
This exhibition is about conversation — a playful, whimsical discussion about the world around us, that manages to stay solidly grounded in Pittsburgh. It’s a sprawling exhibition, that spans the entire Carnegie Museum of Art, sneaks into and through the Carnegie Museum of Natural History… And sprawls outward, with a Lozziwurm (an architectural playground, vividly in orange and yellow) serving as introduction outside the museum, and farther afield, into Braddock (with the Transformazium, an art lending library inside the Carnegie Library).
The works of Nicole Eisenman, winner of the Carnegie Prize, would be worth the trip alone. Her works on America portray a wity — and horrified view of America. However, one balances that with her pictures of her German homeland — equally deplored. Her best piece of the exhibition, “Amazon Birthday” is drawn with loving care, and a particular passion for displaying the humanity inherent in the ritual. It’s jarring, unsettling — and altogether delicious.
Another conversation — about the middle east, where a good handful of the artists come from.
From Yael Bertana comes the quietest protest (my term, not his) — two films about togetherness, one cropped from an early settler video, and the other Israelis rebuilding a Arab’s home, that had recently been demolished. The coincidence of these films, shown one after the other, is hardly coincidental. This is a protest, but one that strays far from the idea of outrage, and that embraces community. [Watching both of these while listening to a cacophonic symphony drawn from instruments molded out of ammunition boxes and guns, was both engaging and distancing at once.]
The Bidoun library brings us a full paperback/hardbound/magazine wall of Western works on the Middle East. The Romantic fantasy is given equal footing with what we might call fact. But we can also see how our western facts change, grow and wither. It’s an exhibit that asks “how much of what we believe is true?”
The Heinz Architectural Center brings us a truly childfriendly exhibit in the Playground Project — where else do you jump on bubblewrap and play with balloons — surrounded and screened by animated pictures of children playing in a playground?
You mustn’t miss the pictures of failed utopias. It’s a great picture of “what we thought would be awesome” — from Patch Addam’s Russian-flavored one, to Biosphere 2, Dome Village in LA to Oneida NY (yes, that Oneida).
The Hall of Architecture exhibits perhaps the most subtle — and yet striking piece. A repainting of the walls to be royal purple, rather than a mossy green. It enhances the other pieces — standing out while remaining a part of the background.
Tired yet? This Carnegie International grounds itself with a collage of exhibits from past Carnegie Internationals, allowing the viewer to see the bombastic, sexual, sensory barrage from the 1970’s — and the longest animated work ever done in MS Paint (a salacious, disturbing — and quite famous piece of art). You see the staidness of the artwork from the 1940’s, alongside what the Pythagora Switch would be like if done by an artist not an engineer (the studio catches on fire during the tape. still not sure if that was intentional).
Wow. all that and I’m leaving half of it out! If you want to experience it even if you can’t physically get there, you’ll need to go to their site.