Exhibits expand on Carnegie International's ethos
By Kurt Shaw
Published: Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
When the 2013 Carnegie International opens next weekend at Carnegie Museum of Art, it won't be the only exhibit geared toward an international audience. For months, many of the region's art institutions have been preparing internationally themed exhibits of their own.
“Every museum from around the world comes to Pittsburgh,” says Michael Olijnyk, co-director of the Mattress Factory in regard to the Carnegie International.
That's why, at the Mattress Factory, visitors will find three new exhibits on display: “Janine Antoni,” “Detroit: Artists in Residence” and “Chiharu Shiota: Trace of Memory.”
“During the Internationals, we always have all of our shows open at once,” Olijnyk says. “We want everything open at once, we don't want anything in process.”
That means there will be no sawing and hammering in one gallery, while another is open for viewing, which is often the case at this museum known the world over for showcasing cutting-edge installation art, such as the work of internationally acclaimed light-and-space artist James Turrell who has several permanent installations also on display.
But still, the Mattress Factory will be a hive of activity next weekend. Russ Orlando, one of the Detroit artists in residence, will perform “Saddles & Sacrifices” in his installation, “Cured,” which features a variety of salt-covered car parts hanging from meat hooks.
He will be performing from 11 to 5 p.m. Oct. 5 and 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 6 in his installation in the Mattress Factory's main building at 500 Sampsonia Way.
From 2 to 4 p.m. Oct, 5, the Mattress Factory will host two live performances of “Trevor” at the museum's 1414 Monterey St. Gallery. (Free with museum admission, but space is extremely limited. If interested in attending, reservations should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.) Set to a lullaby, “Trevor” is part of Stephen Petronio's latest performance of “Like Lazarus Did,” which was set in St. Paul's Chapel, Lower Manhattan's oldest surviving church.
It also relates to a video in Antoni's exhibit titled “Honey Baby,” which is based on gestures captured by a sonogram of a fetus in the womb. Inspired by motion in utero, the video reveals a folding and tumbling body suspended in a honey-filled environment. The performance promises something similar, but expect a few surprises.
The Mattress Factory is planning extended hours for next weekend as well, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 4 to 6.
“We also will have a group of 200 VIPs that will be coming through associated with the International,” Olijnyk says. “They have a whole programmed weekend in which they'll go to the Warhol on Saturday night, Oct. 5, and then they come here for a private dessert reception, and all the buildings will be open for them.”
Over at the Andy Warhol Museum, the group will get a preview of the exhibit “Yasumasa Morimura: Theater of the Self,” a retrospective of Japanese artist Yasumasa 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 Warhol's work.
A conceptual artist on the lines of 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-eyebrowed Frida Kahlo to the reclining nude in Manet's “Olympia.'' The exhibition opens to the public at 10 a.m. Oct. 6.
“I've been working on Morimura and his work for years and always wanted to do his retrospective in the States,” says Warhol director Eric Shiner. “Launching it the weekend of the International made sense to me, as the show will be presented in the same global and playful spirit of this year's iteration of the International. Obviously, all of Pittsburgh wants to put its best foot forward during the International, and I know that Morimura's work fits perfectly into the equation this year.”
Also having an international flair, the Frick Art & Historical Center in Point Breeze recently re-installed the exhibit “Clayton Days Revisited: A Project by Vik Muniz,” to coincide with the regional focus on contemporary art during the Carnegie International.
Since working with the Frick, Muniz has received international acclaim, while his work has continued to be marked by his inimitable blend of wit, historical references, aesthetic excellence and social relevance.
Accompanied by new interpretive materials, the exhibit features both period photographs and period photo re-creations of life at Clayton, the onetime home of industrialist Henry Clay Frick and his family, which is now a house museum.
In addition to the Clayton Days prints, a selection of more recent work has been installed to give a sense of what Muniz has accomplished since his Pittsburgh residency.
And just last weekend, the Society for Contemporary Craft recently opened “ENOUGH Violence: Artists Speak Out,” an exhibit featuring 48 works by national and international contemporary artists that investigates the impact violence has on our lives and the role the arts can play in restoring peace and security.
Works like metalsmith Boris Bally's “Brave III” necklace comprised of 100 handgun triggers collected through Goods4Guns Anti-violence Coalition in the city of Pittsburgh, echo pieces like Pedro Reyes' “Disarm,” an installation of musical instruments made from confiscated guns on display in the Hall of Sculpture at Carnegie Museum for the 2013 Carnegie International.
“Visitors will discover how creative expression and working with your hands can be used as tools to process complex emotions, respond to inexplicable events and be encouraged to feel, heal, transform and be part of the solution,” says Kate Lydon, the Society for Contemporary Craft's director of exhibitions.
Even one of the galleries in town is getting in on the International action.
Having recently opened “Robert Lepper & Nancy Callan,” which features the work of internationally recognized glass artist Nancy Callan and Robert Lepper (1906-91), a one-time professor in the industrial-design program at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) who influenced legions of students, including Andy Warhol and Philip Pearlstein.
“We were interested in showing Lepper's work at the same time that the International opens because a lot of the strategies and intellect that informed his work has actually become current again, such as the use of everyday objects in the creation of artwork, like how the guns are integrated into Pedro Reyes' work,” says gallery owner Sam Berkovitz.
Plus, says Berkovitz, “Seeing a large body of his work at one time is pretty compelling.”
Kurt Shaw is the art critic for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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