Author Archives: Ian Finch, Associate Editor of Publications

New Hire: Dacia Massengill


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What is your official title, and what are some of your general responsibilities? 
Marketing and communications manager. My main responsibility is to plan and implement initiatives to drive attendance and secure maximum visibility for CMOA exhibitions, programs, collections, and staff. This includes social media, advertising, and community outreach, among other things.

What were you doing before joining us at CMOA?
I was the marketing director for Brooklyn Philharmonic, commonly known as  Brooklyn Phil. It was my first time working with a performing arts organization, and during my time there I got to work with some amazingly talented folks: Alan Pierson (Alarm Will Sound, Crash Ensemble), Mos Def, Royce Vavrek, David T. Little and Erykah Badu, just to name a few.

What’s your favorite exhibition that you saw this past year (at any museum/event)?
Ann Hamilton’s the event of a thread at Park Avenue Armory in NYC. It was so beautiful, I never wanted to leave!

If you could steal one artwork from our collection, what would it be?
Dem Unbekannten Maler (To the Unknown Painter) by Anselm Kiefer. It’s currently not on view, so…

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Anselm Kiefer, Dem Unbekannten Maler (To the Unknown Painter), 1983, oil, emulsion, woodcut, shellac, latex paint, and straw on canvas; Richard M. Scaife Fund and A. W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund

What is your major source of inspiration?
OMG Cats in Space.

Five things you can’t live without?
My Kindle. My iTunes library. Coca-Cola. Paper. Pencil.

If you were a Crayola crayon, you would be:
Razzmatazz, obvs.

 

New Hire: Emily Rice


emilyWhat is your official title, and what are some of your general responsibilities?
Exhibition designer. My main responsibility is to work with our curatorial staff to design our exhibitions from concept through execution. I work through drawings, models, and renderings, which have either handmade physical versions or computer-aided digital versions. I work extensively with Hannah Silbert and Jeff Lovett in the exhibitions department to make sure that each exhibition fulfills the goals of the curatorial team and the museum while working within the project’s budget and schedule. I am also tasked with maintaining continuity in the museum’s style and appearance in terms of casework, exhibition layouts, furnishings, lighting, and a thousand other criteria which comprise an exhibition.

What were you doing before joining us at CMOA?
I was working for a company, TAKTL, which manufactures ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) building cladding panels. I was an architectural projects manager, which meant I handled relationships with architects and installers from the initial point of inquiry through to the purchase of the product, providing technical support, pricing, design assistance, etc., along the way. I also looked after the samples program and a small line of UHPC furniture. Before TAKTL, I was special projects assistant at CMOA for White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes, a 2012 exhibition curated by Raymund Ryan in the Heinz Architectural Center. I also worked for a few different architecture firms in Pittsburgh after receiving my B.Arch. from Carnegie Mellon University.

What’s your favorite exhibition that you saw this past year (at any museum/event)?
I had a great day walking through the Mike Kelley retrospective at the PS1 in Queens this fall (see above) which was impressive in its sheer size and variety of experience, let alone the actual installations. Another definite highlight was visiting the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, more so for the amazing architecture than anything else.

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Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Domestic), 2002, cast plaster on various armatures; Owned jointly by Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; The Henry L. Hillman Fund

If you could steal one artwork from our collection, what would it be?
Rachel Whiteread’s Untitled (Domestic). The piece, a very large negative casting of a staircase, is owned jointly by CMOA and the Albright-Knox Museum, where it is currently on view. Given its enormous size, I think it’s safe to say I won’t be carrying out that plan.

Five things you can’t live without?
Yoga, graph paper, sewing machine, a kitchen, coffee.

Describe Pittsburgh in five words or less.
Watch out for the ravines.

Favorite hobbies? Or any other projects you’d like to share?
I’m a founding board member at Assemble, a small non-profit community arts and technology space on Penn Avenue here in Pittsburgh, and I currently serve as secretary of the board. We’re heavily volunteer-run and we have a working board, so I spend a bit of my free time working to keep the organization running smoothly.

New Hire: Kelsey Small


Kelsey Blog Photo

What is your official title, and what are some of your general responsibilities?
My official title is financial manager. In this role, I’m responsible for compiling budgets for CMOA operating, designated, and restricted funds. I track actual expenses against various project budgets and review accounting and budget activity to ensure adherence to annual budget. I also report on federal, state, and private grant expenditures and serve as a point person for staff regarding financial and administrative policies and procedures.

What were you doing before joining us at CMOA?
Before joining CMOA, I was completing my Masters in Arts Management degree at Carnegie Mellon University and working as the associate director of operations for Future Tenant, a multidisciplinary visual and performing arts gallery space in downtown Pittsburgh.

What’s your favorite exhibition that you saw this past year (at any museum/event)? Any favorite artist or work?
The 2013 Carnegie InternationalMy favorite piece within the show is Pedro Reyes’s Disarm (Mechanized). His ability to transform destructive weapons into musical instruments is truly inspiring and enlightening. The piece suggests the kind of hopefulness that can emerge from war and misery.

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Pedro Reyes, Disarm (Mechanized), 2012–13, recycled metal, Courtesy of the artist and Lisson Gallery, London; Photo: Greenhouse Media

If you could steal one artwork from our collection, what would it be?
Dancers, Entrance on Stage, Edgar Degas. 

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Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, Dancers, Entrance on Stage, c. 1898–1908, pastel on paper, Acquired through the generosity of the Sarah Mellon Scaife Family

Describe Pittsburgh in six words or less.
It’s starting to feel like home.

Favorite hobbies (links, etc.)? Or any other projects you’d like to share?
Attending Pittsburgh arts events, taking ballet classes, baking, and cheering on the Florida Gators and Pittsburgh Pirates!

Sign up for The Art Connection—it’s not too late!


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On the first day of The Art Connection, the 6th-grade students began life-size, abstract self-portraits inspired by the drawings of the late Chinese artist Guo Fengyi, currently on view in the 2013 Carnegie International. As they draw in colored pencil and oil pastel on large sheets of paper, the students use line and mark making to express thoughts, emotions, memories, and functions of the body.

This year’s Art Connection is off to an exciting start! Students arrived to a museum transformed, with bold new work from around the globe spilling out from the galleries into unexpected places. Classes will explore and discuss new works of the 2013 Carnegie International, a process sure to spark inspiration and critical thinking. The International’s theme of “play” provides added engagement to set the wheels of creativity in motion. The Art Connection’s art studio environment encourages students to experiment, play and practice in the process of developing creative ideas. Professional artist educators and experienced assistants work with students to encourage collaboration and to help each student gain confidence in developing their artistic voice.

This year’s Art Connection has just begun, and it’s not too late to sign up for young artists in grades 5 through 9. Artists including Andy Warhol, Duane Michals, and Philip Pearlstein all got their start in our Saturday art classes—but you can develop your unique style and vision through your art! Check out this video to see what the program’s all about:

Tom Sarver, Artist Educator, The Art Connection

New Hire: Hattie Lehman


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What is your official title and what are some of your general responsibilities?
Program coordinator, adult group programs. My main responsibilities are focused around the CMOA Docent Corps. Along with Becky Gaugler (assistant curator of education, programs for student & adult groups), I work to prepare docents to give the best experience possible to all participants of docent-led tours. I also work to expand and strengthen adult audiences and assist with new adult programming.

What were you doing before joining us at CMOA?
I was the assistant curator of education at The Textile Museum in Washington, DC, for the past 4 years. As a member of a two-person education department, I was responsible for a whole lot of everything, but focused primarily on youth and family programming and outreach.

What’s your favorite exhibition that you saw this past year?
Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design; 1848–1900 at The National Gallery of Art. The brotherhood’s ability to so richly depict textiles on a two-dimensional surface knocks my socks off every time, I can’t help it!

If you could steal one artwork from our collection, what would it be?

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Bruce Talbert, designer, British, 1838–1881; Gillow and Company, manufacturer, British, c.1730–1987; Side cabinet, 1867, walnut with walnut veneer, multi wood inlay, and brass; Berdan Memorial Trust Fund

Bruce James Talbert’s Side cabinet, manufactured by Gillow & Company, 1867. It is breathtaking.

Describe Pittsburgh in five words or less.
Friendliest place I’ve ever lived.

Favorite hobbies? Timewasters? Etc.?
I like to write letters the old-fashioned way, with paper, pens, envelopes and stamps. I will happily tackle any textile-related project and love my sewing machine. I enjoy time outside: in a garden, camping, or just walking around.