September 27, 2013 - Carnegie Museum of Art - 2013 Carnegie International: major commissions and projects
September 27, 2013

2013 Carnegie International: major commissions and projects

2013 Carnegie International
October 5, 2013–March 16, 2014

A far-from-complete preview of some of the major commissions and projects of the 2013 Carnegie International, presented throughout Carnegie Museum of Art and beyond.

Phyllida Barlow’s TIP (2013), a seemingly chaotic construction of wooden poles and colorful flags, bisects the museum’s front plaza. A tumultuous formal accomplishment, it appears to collapse into the glass walls of the museum to meet the wall sculpture untitled:wrecker (2013) in the lobby.

Bidoun Library, led here by Negar Azimi, Nelson Harst, Babak Radboy, and Ghazaal Vojdani, Bidoun Library takes the Western-coined term “Middle East” as an object of discourse rather than a fixed place. Installed on massive transparent walls in the heroic Hall of Sculpture, art books, comic books, romance novels, museum brochures, technical manuals, and state and corporate manuals all contribute to an extensive exploration of politics, economics, myths, stereotypes, and taboos that make up the idea of the Middle East. Visitors are invited to pick up and peruse the books.

Dinh Q. Lê’s projectrLight and Belief: Sketches of Life from the Vietnam War is composed of one hundred drawings and paintings made by Vietnamese men and women serving as artist-soldiers on the frontlines of the Vietnam War. This collection is accompanied by a documentary film consisting of interviews with the artists and brief animations to provide an unusual, personal perspective on what is also known in Vietnam as the Kháng chiến chống Mỹ, or “resistance war against America.”

Paulina Olowska’s work often focuses on forgotten figures, minor histories, and popular aesthetics—particularly of Soviet-era Poland. In a new work for the 2013 Carnegie International, Olowska has transformed the museum’s café into a puppet cabaret. Taking up the history of the Pittsburgh-based Lovelace Marionette Theatre Company (1949–1983), it reflects Olowska’s recent interest in puppet theater, a vanishing form of folk entertainment with deep roots in many traditional societies.

In 2012 Pedro Reyes transformed some 6,700 weapons, most confiscated from drug cartels in the city of Juarez, Mexico, into musical instruments. Disarm (2012–13) is a set of self-playing mechanized instruments, including a full drum set, a magnetic cello, and other more experimental instruments. Standing starkly again the museum’s white marble columns in the Hall of Sculpture, their music fills the lofty space and turns “agents of death” into “instruments of life.”

Gabriel Sierra’s deceptively simple project for the 2013 Carnegie International—repainting the walls of the monumental Hall of Architecture rich purple and adding discrete sculptural elements—is a conceptual and witty approach to the history of this storied space. It articulates the forms and patina of the casts, and coaxes out their complex relationships to architecture, representation, 19th-century globalization, sculpture making, industrialized production, original and copy.

Taryn Simon’s most recent project, Birds of the West Indies (2013), premiering at the 2013 Carnegie International, presents a visual inventory of three recurring elements in the James Bond films: women, weapons, and vehicles. This database of interchangeable variables used in the production of fantasy underlines how they function as essential accessories to the myth of the seductive, powerful, and invincible Western male and exposes the complex relationship between fiction and reality.

Zoe Strauss focuses her lens on Homestead, Pennsylvania, once home to Andrew Carnegie’s flagship plant, Homestead Steel Works, and the site of the infamous 1892 labor strike. Strauss established a portrait studio in Homestead, and has filled a museum gallery with photographs of the town’s residents. Strauss’s project—and its photographs—reflects an unswerving commitment to and enjoyment of the people living and working around her.

Transformazium was founded in 2007 in North Braddock, a borough adjoining Pittsburgh, by Dana Bishop-Root, Leslie Stem, and Ruthie Stringer. Partnering with the Braddock Carnegie Library, the first public library philanthropist Andrew Carnegie built in the United States, Transformazium has created an Art Lending Collection, which includes works donated by artists in the International as well as local, regional, and national artists. Anyone with an Allegheny County library card is able to borrow the works and take them home.

Joseph Yoakum, a self-taught artist and master storyteller, claimed to have traveled the world “four times over” during the 1910s and ’20s. His drawings, made from 1962 until 1972, the year of his death, are mostly visionary, if not psychedelic, landscapes; they also include portraits of boxers, cowboys, steel drivers, or important figures of African American culture like tennis player Althea Gibson and novelist Zane Grey. The largest exhibition of his drawings in decades, this presentation brings this artist admired by numerous contemporary artists to broader attention with a cross-section of his vast body of work.

The 2013 Carnegie International presents works by Ei Arakawa/Henning Bohl, Phyllida Barlow, Yael Bartana, Sadie Benning, Bidoun Library, Nicole Eisenman, Lara Favaretto, Vincent Fecteau, Rodney Graham, Guo Fengyi, Wade Guyton, Rokni Haerizadeh, He An, Amar Kanwar, Dinh Q. Lê, Mark Leckey, Pierre Leguillon, Sarah Lucas, Tobias Madison, Zanele Muholi, Paulina Olowska, Pedro Reyes, Kamran Shirdel, Gabriel Sierra, Taryn Simon, Frances Stark, Joel Sternfeld, Mladen Stilinović, Zoe Strauss, Henry Taylor, Tezuka Architects, Transformazium, Erika Verzutti, and Joseph Yoakum.

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Carnegie Museum of Art

Carnegie Museum of Art, founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895, is nationally and internationally recognized for its collection of fine and decorative art from the 19th to 21st centuries. The collection also contains important holdings of Japanese and old master prints. Founded in 1896, the Carnegie International is one of the longest-running surveys of contemporary art worldwide. The Heinz Architectural Center, part of Carnegie Museum of Art, is dedicated to enhancing understanding of the built environment through its exhibitions, collections, and public programs. The Hillman Photography Initiative serves as a living laboratory for exploring the rapidly changing field of photography. For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, call +1 412 622 3131 or visit our website at

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