From its roots in Andrew Carnegie’s desire to collect the “old masters of tomorrow,” held every four years the Carnegie International showcases the best of today’s emerging artists. This year is no exception as organizers expand the global reach and embrace the challenge of insuring the exhibit is truly international in scope, while the hold of its Pittsburgh roots firm.
Curators Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers, and Tina Kukielski have traveled the world, meeting with colleagues and visiting artists’ studios, exhibitions, and art fairs both large and small in search of a global perspective on art today. Baumann, a Swiss national, will move to Pittsburgh with his family later this summer, marking the beginning of the final year of preparation for the International. What has emerged over the past year is an energetic collaboration that will yield a multifaceted, surprising exhibition opening October 5, 2013.
This is the first International organized by three curators, which, according to the curators themselves, is a process rooted in generous, intense, organic conversation. Officials say the collaboration among three curators has enabled the International to have a greater global reach than in past years. According to Kukielski, “The challenge from the start was to actually be international. We thought about the places in the world we knew and those we didn’t. Choices were made early on to go to the Middle East, South America, Africa, and China, in addition to the more usual suspects.” Cities visited thus far for research include Barcelona, Basel, Beijing, Beirut, Belo Horizonte, Berlin, Białystok, Bogotá, Budapest, Cleveland, Chicago, Dakar, Dubai, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Kassel, Kraków, Kyoto, Łódź, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Miami, Milan, New Delhi, New York, Osaka, Paris, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Poznan, Ramallah, Reykjavík, San Francisco, São Paolo, Shanghai, Sharjah, Tehran, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Turin, Vancouver, Venice, Vienna, Warsaw, Zagreb, and Zurich.
Even as the International brings the far reaches of the art world to Pittsburgh, it remains firmly rooted in the city. At the Carnegie International apartment in the city’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, artists, curators, writers, and the interested public gather to discuss some of the ideas shaping the exhibition and the larger world. The curators are also in the process of selecting other off-site exhibition venues across the city, and according to Baumann, as they develop the big ideas that will carry through the show, they agreed that the exhibition “would not drop on the city from out of nowhere…but will be developed in exchange with Pittsburgh, its people, and its urban fabric. The 2013 Carnegie International is as much about bringing Pittsburgh to the world as it is about bringing the world to Pittsburgh.”
“Pittsburgh reveals itself to me more and more every day,” says New York City transplant Kukielski. “Sometimes we travel, but Pittsburgh is our everyday. Our International addresses the relationship between the city and the museum; lately we’ve been exploring this relationship on our blog and at the apartment. At night Pittsburgh really comes alive—in tiny, smoky bars, at art events downtown, in Oakland, or Braddock, or in people’s homes that allow so much more room (and time) for entertaining than apartments in NYC.”
The Carnegie International is the oldest North American exhibition of contemporary art from around the globe.