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Bryan Conley/Carnegie Museum of Art

Tam O’Shanter Drawing Sessions

This is a series of public programs for those who draw and those who do not.

Tam O’Shanter Drawing Sessions are conducted by artists and organizers of the 2018 Carnegie International. Conjuring music sessions in general and Pittsburgh’s great jazz history in particular, the word “session” signifies. These are local get-togethers with International players who lead us to explore themes of their work and contemporary art by way of drawing—or some improvisation upon that activity. Mapping, marking, writing, doodling, sketching, rendering, and cartooning are among the many modes that will draw us together. Jamming on paper is how I think of Tam Sessions.

The sessions pick up a beat from the 2013 Carnegie International, when the curators rented a Lawrenceville apartment and used it as a hub for talks, screenings, and socializing in advance of the exhibition. Likewise, the Tam O’Shanter Drawing Sessions are building creative community with a programmatic rhythm that is part and parcel of the Carnegie Int’l, 57th ed., 2018. Taking place in and outside of the museum, the sessions happen on a variety of scales and pique different interests. With associate curator Liz Park at the Carnegie Science Center, a planetarium full of participants drew the stars; with traveling Companion, curator Ruba Katrib, an intimate band mapped their day and the way to Spaces Corners, the artist-run bookstore that hosted our gathering in Troy Hill. The astrophysicist Liz invited to speak revealed to us the Pleiades in cave paintings. Ruba pointed to the puddles and potholes in the work of artist and illustrator Saul Steinberg as potential portals into digital space. And that’s just two sessions! Given what an elemental, inventive, communicative, fantastical form drawing is, this series operates like an expanding definition of art. It started slowly, with sessions taking place intermittently, and is steadily building in volume and frequency—as artists and contributors get involved—inspiring us ever anew in ways to observe, to think, to interpret, to draw.

Still scratching your head?

The series is named after the original art classes for young people that Carnegie Museum of Art has been holding since 1929. Artists Mel Bochner, Kathy Grove, Duane Michals, Philip Pearlstein, Raymond Saunders, Mozelle Thompson, and Andy Warhol, and actor Jeff Goldblum are but a few alum of the Tam O’Shanter Art Classes for Children. A tam o’shanter, or tam, is a Scottish beret, oft adorned by a pompom. It too signifies: an emblem of museum founder Andrew Carnegie’s emigrant heritage.

Tam O’Shanter Drawing Sessions will take place up to and through the 2018 Carnegie International exhibition.

Schoolchildren in the Hall of Architecture at Carnegie Museum of Art.
Schoolchildren in the Hall of Architecture at Carnegie Museum of Art.

The Tam O’Shanter Drawing Sessions, an initiative of the Carnegie Int’l, 57th ed., 2018, are a series of public programs for those who draw and those who do not. Learn more about upcoming Carnegie International programming.