Fall Arts: International spotlight on Pittsburgh with Carnegie exhibit

Kurt Shaw
| Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 4:45 p.m.

In regard to visual art, the big ticket this fall is the 2013 Carnegie International at Carnegie Museum of Art, which opens the weekend of Oct. 4.

Curated by Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers and Tina Kukielski, this massive undertaking will feature 35 artists from 19 countries, many of whom are converging in and around the museum to complete newly commissioned, large-scale installations.

The opening weekend is sure to attract the international art press as well, but you don't have to be a member of the art cognoscenti to enjoy various aspects of the International.

For example, at the Heinz Architectural Center, “The Playground Project,” which was on display from June 10 to Aug. 23, will re-open, allowing visitors to explore the history of postwar playground design yet again, and highlight important examples of experimental playgrounds from Europe, the United States and Japan from the mid-to-late 20th century. The Lozziwurm, a play sculpture designed in 1972, is already installed in front of the museum and open to the public.

Also of note, Byers and Kukielski have reinstalled the museum's important collection of modern and contemporary art in order to showcase more than 200 artworks acquired through past Carnegie Internationals, which began in 1896.

Speaking of visiting the past, there is perhaps no better place to do that at the moment than the Frick Art & Historical Center in Point Breeze. That's where the exhibit “Clayton Days Revisited: A Project by Vik Muniz” features period photographs and period photo re-creations of life at Clayton, the onetime home of industrialist Henry Clay Frick and his family.

The Frick family story, and particularly their life at Clayton, became the leitmotif behind “Clayton Days,” a series of 65 photographs Muniz competed while he was artist-in-residence at the Frick Art & Historical Center from 1999 to 2000. The whole collection has been brought out of storage and re-installed, along with several of Muniz's pieces created since then.

Muniz's unique period study will remain on view through Oct. 27. Frick will continue to turn back the pages of the past with its next exhibit, Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection beginning Nov. 9.

Over at the Andy Warhol Museum, the exhibit “Yasumasa Morimura: Theater of the Self” opens Oct. 6 in a grand manner befitting a queen … a drag queen, that is.

A Japanese Cindy Sherman, Morimura takes pride in inserting himself into well-known icons of Western art, portraying various gender roles, famous or otherwise, from a bushy-eye-browed Frida Kahlo to the reclining nude in Manet's ‘'Olympia.'' The exhibit will be a retrospective of Morimura's 30-year career covering his fascination with the self-portrait, celebrity, gay and transgendered life, art history and popular culture, aligning him closely with the work of Andy Warhol.

Currently at the Mattress Factory, three exhibits — “Janine Antoni,” “Detroit: Artists in Residence” and “Chiharu Shiota: Trace of Memory” — offer visitors a full day's worth of exhibition experience. First, eight Detroit artists fill the main building at 500 Sampsonia Way with delightful installations created on-site, specifically for this exhibit. Then, Brooklyn-based artist Janine Antoni makes the most of three floors at the museum's annex space at 1414 Monterey St. And finally, Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota has filled all three floors and eight rooms of the Mattress Factory's newest exhibit space at 516 Sampsonia Way with an installation made of thousands of feet of black yarn strung floor to ceiling, and wall to wall.

Not to be outdone, on Sept. 27, the Society for Contemporary Craft will open “ENOUGH Violence: Artists Speak Out.” Featuring 48 works by national and international contemporary artists, the exhibit will investigate the impact violence has on our lives and the role the arts can play in restoring peace and security.

Works on display in this exhibit — such as metalsmith Boris Bally's “Brave III” necklace of 100 handgun triggers collected through Goods4Guns Anti-violence Coalition in the city of Pittsburgh, and extremely personal pieces of jewelry created for victims of violence in Glasgow, Scotland, by internationally known artist, Dauvit Alexander — are powerful artistic responses to the urgent societal problems of gun-related crimes and violence.

Finally, the Westmoreland Museum of American Art will continue with a variety of “Pop-Up Art Exhibits” throughout the fall at its new temporary location, Westmoreland @rt 30, in the former Stickley Audi & Co. furniture store in Unity.

There visitors will find the work of the late sculptor Cydra Vauxfrom Oct. 2 to 27; conceptual artist Wade Kramm from Oct. 30 to Nov. 24; and abstract artist Anna Mikolay from Nov. 27 to Dec. 22.

Kurt Shaw is the art critic for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kshaw@tribweb.com.

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