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2013 Carnegie International opens in Pittsburgh
Pedro Reyes, Disarm, 2012-2013. Instrument made from decommissioned weapons, 7 7/8 x 19 11/16 x 19 11/16 in. Courtesy of the artist, Lisson Gallery, London, and Alumnos47 Foundation.
PITTSBURGH, PA.- Carnegie Museum of Art announces the artworks and projects in the 2013 Carnegie International, which opened October 5, 2013. The exhibition presents new voices rooted in history, a sense of place, and play. Organizing curators Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers, and Tina Kukielski have selected works based on a shared passion for the individual and the exceptional, that celebrate dissonance and beauty, and that stay in touch with the everyday.

Artists and Project Details
Ei Arakawa/Henning Bohl
Lives and work in New York, New York/Hamburg, Germany

The newly commissioned installation by artists Ei Arakawa and Henning Bohl centers on their video Helena and Miwako, a sci-fi road movie made in collaboration with Arakawa’s mother, Miwako; his brother, Tomoo; and Bohl’s 10-year-old daughter, Helena. The personal histories of this family-like unit unfold over their three-week tour of historical playground structures throughout Japan, focusing on Arakawa's now-famous hometown of Fukushima.

Phyllida Barlow
Lives and works in London, England

British sculptor Phyllida Barlow is known for her use of scrappy materials and rough construction techniques that contradict and undermine the monumental scale of her works. TIP (2013), a seemingly chaotic construction of wooden poles capped with concrete-covered chicken wire, and wrapped with colorful flags, was commissioned for the museum and is the largest of her recent series of sculptures. Bisecting the museum’s front plaza, it appears to collapse into the building’s glass walls, where it meets the hanging sculpture untitled:wrecker (2013) in the lobby.

Yael Bartana
Lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Berlin, Germany; and Tel Aviv, Israel

Yael Bartana’s films critically examine the social, political, and military rituals and rhetoric of her native Israel. Her video installation Summer Camp (2007) compresses a two-week-long project of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), in which a nonsectarian group of volunteers rebuilds the home of a Palestinian family that has been destroyed by the Israeli authorities. Bartana’s recent video trilogy …And Europe Will Be Stunned (2007–11) imagines the rise of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP)and will be shown during a special one-time screening event on November 21, 2013.

Sadie Benning
Lives and works in New York, NY

Sadie Benning’s recent foray into abstract painting is represented by the new work Locating Centers. Based on drawings made on the artist’s iPhone, blown up in scale, hand-cut, and painted, the 40 paintings meditate on the relationships between analogue and digital processes. Benning described the series as being inspired by the International itself: “I was thinking about being in this international group show, being in Pittsburgh, and how there is no center to such a show—that there is a multiplicity of centers that interlock and overlap.”

Bidoun Library
Negar Azimi, Nelson Harst, Babak Radboy
Founded 2009, New York, New York

Led by Negar Azimi, Nelson Harst, Babak Radboy, and Ghazaal Vojdani for its presentation at Carnegie Museum of Art, and installed in the museum’s heroic Hall of Sculpture, the Bidoun Library investigates the “Middle East” as an idea, rather than a geographic location. It assembles art books, comic books, romance novels, museum brochures, technical manuals, and state and corporate manuals—all contributing to an extensive exploration of politics, economics, myths, stereotypes, and taboos. Visitors are invited to pick up and peruse the books.

Nicole Eisenman
Lives and works in New York, NY

Nicole Eisenman's paintings and sculptures vacillate between the art-historical and the everyday. Epic subjects worthy of history painting, such as icy arctic expeditions, go hand in hand with casual gatherings of friends at a beer garden. A group of Eisenman’s paintings from the early 1990s to 2011 are presented in the museum’s Neoclassical Hall of Sculpture along with seven of her recent sculptures, evoking an archaeological playground of modern times. Both bodies of work demonstrate Eisenman’s uncanny capacity for capturing the joy, pain, embarrassment, and ecstasy of being human.

Lara Favaretto
Lives and works in Turin, Italy

Lara Favaretto’s four confetti cubes, each made up of nearly seven hundred pounds of compressed confetti, will gradually fall apart over the course of the International. In the museum's impressionism gallery, steel road plates (the kind used during construction projects) lie on the floor, crushing delicate silk fabric visible through holes at the edges. The slabs share the formal simplicity of Minimalist Carl Andre’s metal floor pieces, but their more obvious practical function imbues them with a sense of transgression, or even menace.

Guo Fengyi
Died 2010, Xi’an, Sha’anxi, People’s Republic of China

Guo Fengyi retired from her work in a factory for health reasons at the age of 45. A philosopher, healer, and artist, she created drawings that function as cosmic diagrams, healing devices, and art. As long as 16 feet in length, the 10 drawings by Fengyi in the 2013 Carnegie International depict figures transformed into vertiginous landscapes, where lines spread out and curl to form waves, trees, faces, and bodies.

Vincent Fecteau
Lives and works in San Francisco, CA

Vincent Fecteau practices a seemingly humble yet inventive form of formally confounding papier-mâché sculpture, and the exhibition features a mini-survey of the last seven years of Fecteau’s practice. Wrought on an intimate scale and rendered in both elegant and playfully awkward muted color schemes, the taut outcroppings and dark crevices are connected through illogical turns of surface and recess. While the artist’s hand is evident in each uniquely shaped and beautifully painted form, the energy that each object exudes from within extends beyond its surface.

Rodney Graham
Lives and works in Vancouver, BC

Rodney Graham’s work draws from literature, philosophy, music, cinema, and art history to conjure uncanny manifestations of culture. His light-box sculpture The Pipe Cleaner Artist, Amalfi, ’61 (2013),references two iconic images of 20th-century artists: one by Man Ray of Jean Cocteau ominously handling a headlike pipe-cleaner sculpture, and one a studio shot of Danish CoBrA artist Asger Jorn in a rustic Mediterranean studio. His film The Green Cinematograph (Programme 1: Pipe smoker and overflowing sink) (2010) cuts back and forth from Graham smoking a pipe in an armchair to a kitchen sink overflowing with bubbles, suggesting visual, narrative, and metaphorical implications between the two images.

Wade Guyton
Lives and works in New York, NY

Wade Guyton makes large-scale artworks that act like paintings and drawings, but which are created using flatbed scanners, desktop computers, and Epson inkjet printers. Printed on linen that is folded and run (and re-run) through wide-format inkjet printers, the artist’s designs meet the physical limitations of automated production technologies and streak, snag, crease, and misalign as the fabric feeds—or is pulled—through. Guyton has created five new works for the International, for two very different rooms. Installed with leather couches from the artist’s studio, four of Guyton’s works transform the museum’s main coatroom into an appealing if unlikely lounge area. On the other hand, his towering, four-panel work repeating a series of flames interrupts the stately opulence of the sumptuous Gilded Age Founder’s Room.

Rokni Haerizadeh
Lives and works in Dubai, UAE

Now living in exile in Dubai, Iranian-born Rokni Haerizadeh creates paintings, drawings, and animations that draw heavily on the painterly traditions of Persia. For each of his animations, Haerizadeh painstakingly hand-paints and draws over thousands of found images. In Just What Is It that Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? (2010­–11), he transforms media imagery of protest, disaster, and violence from the 2009 Iranian demonstrations into fairy tales of sensual delights, where human heads of protestors and newscasters alike are replaced with those of animals. A more recent animation, Reign of Winter, debuting at the 2013 Carnegie International, takes on the subject of the British royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

He An
Lives and works in Beijing, People’s Republic of China

Part of an emerging generation of artists born after China’s Cultural Revolution and in the midst of an enormous industrial expansion, He An incorporates neon light-box characters, stolen from the ubiquitous signage of fast-growing cities like Shenzhen and Wuhan, into his artwork. In his ongoing project, What Makes Me Understand What I Know?, begun in 2009, two names are repeated over and over, spelled out in different configurations by combining fragments of disparate signs. One name is He Taoyuan, his father; the other, Miho Yoshioka, is a favorite Japanese adult-video actress. The work abruptly combines references to a familial relationship and an anonymous yet intimate relationship; the alienating urban spaces under hyper-development in China; and memories of home from the artist’s new, adopted city of Beijing.

Amar Kanwar
Lives and works in New Delhi, India

Amar Kanwar’s films and installations address trauma, history, and conditions of conflict through experimental, often poetic, narration and documentary forms. The Scene of Crime (2011) focuses on the brutal interventions being performed by multiple state-backed industrial corporations on the landscape of the Indian state of Odisha. The film seeks to understand if art can be a recognized effective response to economic and ecological crime. Described by Kanwar as the “companion, the prelude, and the postscript to The Scene of Crime,” A Love Story (2010) explores time, narrative, and sequence as well as human isolation and connection amid an epically filmed study of a garbage dump on the outskirts of New Delhi.

Dinh Q. Lê
Lives and works in Saigon, Vietnam

Dinh Q. Lê’s project Light and Belief: Sketches of Life from the Vietnam War (2012) 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, accompanied by a documentary film consisting of interviews with the artists and brief animations of some of their drawings and paintings. This collective narrative provides an unusual, personal perspective on what is also known in Vietnam as the Kháng chiến chống Mỹ or “Resistance War Against America.” Lê’s project is also a personal history, as the artist traces events he escaped as a child when his family fled Vietnam for the United States, where they eventually settled.

Mark Leckey
Lives and works in London, England

Mark Leckey’s work in sculpture, sound, performance, and video explores the power that objects, images, and brands exert on us, and reflect his interest in the ways machines increasingly mediate our relationships and emulate human attributes. Pearl Vision (2012) centers on the artist’s rhythmic communion with a beloved Pearl Vision® snare drum. Made in ’Eaven (2004), a 16mm film displayed within Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s gem and mineral exhibit, similarly revolves around a reflective object of desire: one of artist Jeff Koons’s stainless-steel “balloon” bunnies, brought into Leckey’s studio by way of elaborate digital fabrication.

Pierre Leguillon
Lives and works in Brussels, Belgium

An artist, curator, and writer, Pierre Leguillon presents his acclaimed slideshow performance Non-Happening after Ad Reinhardt as a special one-time event. Also on view are two new installations: A Vivarium for George E. Ohr and Jean Dubuffet Typographer, both examining the ways artists skillfully staged individuality and authenticity—particularly relevant today, in an era obsessed with self-promotion. A Vivarium includes 31 ceramic objects by the famous “mad potter of Biloxi,” George E. Ohr (1857–1918). Jean Dubuffet Typographer transforms an existing case in Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Botany into a “landscape” of printed material, and is accompanied by a new publication.

Sarah Lucas
Lives and works in London, England

For centuries, sculpture was coded by the masculine eye and executed by men. Sarah Lucas embraces this tradition with irreverence, even contempt. She abandons the canonical form, mocks the celebratory use of material such as bronze or marble, and replaces the heroic with the flabby. Lucas’s recent sculptures, entitled NUDs, consist of tights stuffed with cotton and wire by which they can be intertwined to look like elaborately knotted legs and arms. The exhibition presents a survey of Lucas’ practice from 1998 to the present, including a selection of a new body of work that turns the visitor into a potential sculpture.

Tobias Madison
Lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland

For the 2013 Carnegie International, Madison collaborated in the summer of 2013 with an after-school class for children from the nearby urban community of Wilkinsburg. The participating students worked with the artist to produce an abstract film centering on the production process itself: the main actors were sound, light, props, film, and movement. With artist Flavio Merlo (Swiss, b. 1990), Madison has created the sculptural installation on view in the Grand Staircase, a space that heralds Andrew Carnegie’s power, ornamented with murals that celebrate the rewards of hard work. Madison meets this this language of top-down glorification by carving out serious, chaotic, and irreverent yet inclusive spaces for action and interaction. Quite certainly, the Grand Staircase was never planned to host a work co-produced by an afterschool class from Wilkinsburg, yet it is the perfect home for it.

Zanele Muholi
Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa

The 2013 Carnegie International presents selections from Zanele Muholi's photographic series Faces and Phases, begun in 2006. The artist worked in the townships of South Africa and beyond, giving visibility to the various faces of black LGBTI communities around the world. Muholi sees her work in photography and film as a lifetime endeavor aimed at redefining the face of Africa both within and outside the continent, giving visual credence to communities that too often are invisible. She composes her subjects in elegant yet assured postures, in front of purposeful backgrounds of fabric or industrial materials. The bold and honest portraits of Faces and Phases announce a collective front of incredible magnitude.

Paulina Olowska
Lives and works in Mszana Dolna, Poland

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 Carnegie Café into a puppet cabaret, taking up the history of the Pittsburgh-based Lovelace Marionette Theatre Company (1949–1983). This reflects Olowska’s recent interest in puppet theater, a vanishing form of folk entertainment with deep roots in many traditional societies, including parts of Poland. On view in the Heinz Galleries on the second floor are three paintings from her series called “Applied Fantastic,” based on postcards featuring Polish home-knitting patterns from the 1980s.

Pedro Reyes
Lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico

Through his socially engaged practice, Mexican artist Pedro Reyes explores the boundaries between ordinary experiences and extraordinary moments of interaction. Since 2012, Reyes has been transforming some 6,700 weapons, most confiscated from drug cartels in the city of Juárez, into musical instruments. Reyes’s installation for the 2013 Carnegie International features Disarm (2012–13), a new set of self-playing instruments including a full drum kit, a magnetic cello, an ebow, and other more experimental instruments. Set within the Hall of Sculpture, their complex and dark forms stand starkly against the white marble, and their music fills the lofty space. As an artist, Reyes is interested in the purposeful and playful, in turning “agents of death” into “instruments of life.”

Gabriel Sierra
Lives and works in Bogotá, Columbia

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. By painting the receding surfaces of the Hall of Architecture purple (as opposed to its previous muted sage green), Sierra 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
Lives and works in New York, NY

Taryn Simon investigates the impossibility of absolute understanding by exploring the disorienting and ambiguous spaces between image and text. Her medium consists of three elements: image, text, and graphic design. Her 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 between 1962 and 2012: women, weapons, and vehicles. The title of the work references the title of a 1936 taxonomy by ornithologist James Bond; Ian Fleming, an active bird watcher living in Jamaica, appropriated the author’s name for his novel’s lead character, citing it as “ordinary,” “brief,” “Anglo-Saxon,” and “masculine.” 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.

Kamran Shirdel
Lives and works in Tehran, Iran

Since the mid-1960s, filmmaker Kamran Shirdel has made bold documentary films that address issues of everyday life, especially in his native Iran. He was originally hired as a filmmaker for the government-sponsored Ministry of Culture and Art under Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in the 1960s, but over the decades his films have been banned, censored, and confiscated—ironically in some instances by the same parties that commissioned them. Largely unknown to American audiences, yet influential on an entire generation of Iranian filmmakers, six of Shirdel’s groundbreaking films will be shown for the duration of the 2013 Carnegie International.

Frances Stark
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA

Frances Stark creates artwork that is deeply rooted in language and poetry and in how we make sense of the confusion of everyday life. The artist’s newest video installation, Bobby Jesus’s Alma Mater b/w Reading the Book of David and/or Paying Attention Is Free (2013), makes its debut at the 2013 Carnegie International. Continuing her “brazen pursuit of unlikely alliances,” the work centers on a text projection centered on conversations with Bobby, a self-described resident of “planet ’hood” who has become her studio apprentice and friend.

Mladen Stilinović
Lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia

On view in Gallery One in the Scaife Galleries is a mini retrospective of the work of Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović. Since the 1970s, Stilinović has practiced a quixotic interrogation of power, or, as he calls it “the language of politics,” calling into question ideologies enforced by and maintained through symbolism, bureaucracy, and language. His omnivorous approach to art making—with major works in nearly all media, including drawing, painting, photography, performance, and text—demonstrates a fluent contribution to cultural and political dialogues spanning Yugoslavian socialism, the capitalist diaspora, and contemporary globalism (and a good amount of wry, very human humor). By focusing on specific yet shared features of life, such as language, food, labor, time, and currency, Stilinović’s accessible tactics of critique make him a unique voice.

Zoe Strauss
Lives and works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

For the 2013 Carnegie International, 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 (operational September 2–October 14, 2013), and filled a gallery with photographs of the town’s residents, along with projections of footage from a contemporary steel plant in China. We are introduced to individuals whose lives have grown up around, thanks to, in spite of, with and without the plant. Strauss’s project—and even its photographs—reflect an unswerving commitment to and enjoyment of the people living and working around her.

Joel Sternfeld
Lives and works in New York, New York

A pioneer of color photography at the time of its debut in the world of art in the 1970s, Joel Sternfeld is known for his in-depth meditations on uniquely American sites and stories. Sternfeld’s Sweet Earth is a series of photographs and accompanying texts that chronicle experimental utopias in the United States, in regions as diverse as California’s Mojave Desert, a roof garden in downtown Chicago, and the hills of Western Massachusetts, and from early American transcendentalist movements to more recent back-to-land endeavors. Whether Sternfeld is examining a religious sect, a government assistance program, or an ecologically minded commune for nature-lovers, the tension between success and failure is a dominant theme across the series as are the competing ideologies of individualism and collectivism.

Henry Taylor
Lives and works in Los Angeles, California

Henry Taylor lets the world into his Los Angeles studio, and onto every surface and object there—cigarette boxes, bottles, furniture, and stretched canvases. African American subjects, past and present, populate many of Taylor’s large paintings. People from the neighborhood might wander in and become the subject of a portrait alongside Eldridge Cleaver, an early leader of the Black Panther Party, or the artist’s son. While the expressive brushstrokes, exaggerated (or generalized) expressions, and fragmentary surroundings all signal emotion and psychological layers, the speed and surface of his works reveal a series of fluid exchanges: between snapshots, history, and present-day encounters; friends and strangers; and stuff that was found or remembered and then fixed into painting. The 2013 Carnegie International presents a survey of Taylor’s paintings from 2007 to 2013.

Tezuka Architects
Founded 1994, Tokyo, Japan

Takaharu and Yui Tezuka design buildings that make efficient use of resources, open interiors out to the exterior world, and facilitate playful activity. The Fuji Kindergarten, completed in suburban Tokyo in 2007, takes advantage of its plan to create an oval roof deck accessible from the generous patio and, via skylights, from the classrooms below. Children are allowed run at will across the roof and can descend directly to the patio by slide. The construction of the main building entails no solid walls and allows, by the insertion of tiny courtyards, for mature zelkova trees to remain in place. For the 2013 Carnegie International, the Tezukas’ immersive installation in the Heinz Architectural Center re-presents the kindergarten in a manner that allows for play, tactile experience, and spatial exploration—so important in a time where education becomes more and more obsessed with sitting still and staring at screens.

Dana Bishop-Root, Leslie Stem, Ruthie Stringer
Founded 2007, North Braddock, Pennsylvania

In partnership with the Braddock Carnegie Library—the first public library built by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in the United States—Transformazium has created an Art Lending Collection (ALC) intended as an alternative model for experiencing art, one that fosters a sense of community around intellectual and creative engagement. The ALC 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 and to borrow a pass to the museum. A special display area in the museum’s main lobby will feature a changing selection of works from the ALC curated by members of the Braddock community.

Erika Verzutti
Lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil

Erika Verzutti’s work reveals the beauty and symbolic power of common objects with enigmatic properties. Interested in the formal qualities of things found in nature, Verzutti transforms fruits and vegetables, with their potential for decay, into more permanent sculptures made of bronze and concrete. In her installation of new work in the Forum Gallery, a totemic tower of eggs implies some absurd ritual commemorating endless reproduction, life and death. The abundance of forms is arranged in a rather unmonumental way, mostly installed directly on the floor. The intuitive and material qualities of Verzutti’s work recalls the mid-20th-century Neo-Concretist movement in her native Brazil, which rejected mechanized and overly intellectual approaches to art making in favor of a sensual, intuitive relationship between the artist and the object.

Joseph Yoakum
Died 1972, Chicago, Illinois

Joseph Yoakum was a self-taught artist and master storyteller who claimed to have traveled the world “four times over,” crisscrossing North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia during the 1910s and ’20s as a circus advance man, soldier, train porter, hobo, stevedore, and stowaway. He started drawing in 1962, when he was in his 70s, and thereafter made one or two drawings a day until his death in 1972. The 57 drawings assembled in the Heinz Galleries for the 2013 Carnegie International represent a cross section of Yoakum’s vast body of work; the largest exhibition of his drawings in decades, it offers a unique opportunity to bring this important “artist’s artist” back to broader attention.

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October 8, 2013

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