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Art without borders: Carnegie International kicks off

| Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
During the press review, Susan Rigotti, with the Carnegie Museum, makes preparations inside the Tea Tent, 'Untitled 1992 (Cure)' by artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, at the Carnegie Museum of Art n Oakland, Friday, October 4, 2013, for the 2013 Carnegie International.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
During the press review, Susan Rigotti, with the Carnegie Museum, makes preparations inside the Tea Tent, 'Untitled 1992 (Cure)' by artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, at the Carnegie Museum of Art n Oakland, Friday, October 4, 2013, for the 2013 Carnegie International.

An exhibition of art from around the world is bringing international attention to the Pittsburgh region.

Opening weekend for the 2013 Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art kicked off Oct. 4, drawing artists and enthusiasts from around the globe for a series of private events. The public opening is at 10 a.m. Oct. 5.

“There are no boundaries between countries in this city right now,” says Takaharu Tezuka, of Tezuka Architects. He and wife Yui are the artists behind “Fuji Playground,” an installation involving a projected film of children playing around a building the Tezuka firm designed. The images are shown on walls surrounding a thick bubble-wrap floor covered in balloons. Viewers are encouraged to play in the space, thus immersing themselves in the joy the children in the film exude.

The 2013 Carnegie International includes an exhibit of new international art, a visual history of mid-century playground design and the reinstallation of the museum's collection of modern and contemporary art tied to past International exhibitions.

This year's exhibition, featuring the work of 35 artists, focuses on themes of individual and the exceptional, dissonance and beauty. The beauty and struggle of everyday life is the focus of many pieces.

“We really shared an interest in life and what's really going on,” says Daniel Baumann, who curated the show along with Dan Byers and Tina Kukielski.

Attendees at the private opening expressed everything from excitement to a sense of feeling overwhelmed upon their initial viewing of the exhibit. Frances Stark, a Los Angeles-based artist who debuted her newest video installation, encourages visitors not to feel intimidated by the scope of the exhibit.

“Don't feel duty-bound to ‘get it,' ” she says. “Art is there to seduce you, play with you and lead you in a different direction.”

Artists hail from all over the world, from New York to New Delhi. The event is expected to draw press and visitors from as far as Indonesia, says Jonathan Gaugler, museum spokesman. The coming together of so many cultures is key to the exhibit, artists say.

“There are so many kinds of people in this world, each one with a unique culture of their region and city,” Tezuka says.

That concept was a driving force behind the exhibit's inception in 1896, when Andrew Carnegie created it in attempts to connect Pittsburgh to the world. The International is held every few years, with the last occurring in 2008 and drawing more than 380,000 visitors from around the world. This year marks the 56th event.

It took the curators three years to organize the current exhibit, Byers says.

“It definitely involved travel all over the world but was very much rooted here,” he says. “We wanted to make it fit in the museum and make it part of the museum.”

They also focused on reaching out to the Pittsburgh community through a variety of interactive events.

The public opening will include performances by several artists throughout the day, including an interactive performance piece by Ei Arakawa, a music performance by Rodney Graham, readings of work by Mladen Stilinovi, and a puppet performance written by Paulina Olowska and performed in the museum's café-turned-cabaret.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 6, guests can take a bus from the museum to an art lending collection in the Braddock Carnegie Library hosted by local collective Transformazium. Work includes pieces drawn from a variety of sources, including all of the artists participating in the International.

For the last month, artist Zoe Strauss has invited residents of the Homestead area to the Homestead Portrait Studio to have their portraits taken. The first 200 have been printed for exhibition as part of the Carnegie International.

Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or

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