Author Archives: Ian Finch, Associate Editor, Publications

New Hire: David D’Agostino


What is your official title, and what are some of your general responsibilities? 

My official title is multimedia producer. It is my responsibility to document significant and seemingly insignificant time-based events, people, happenings, etc., that exist inside and outside the Carnegie Museum of Art, by means of digital and analog technology. It is then my job to archive, and edit this documentation into informative and compelling stories. I collaborate closely with my talented supervisor, Jeffrey Inscho, Web & Digital Media Manager, to figure out the best media outlet to present each documented event or story.  Much of the content created will be edited into short form documentaries or “vlogs” to be presented on our newly redesigned website in addition to multimedia gallery interactives. For example, I just produced a focus piece called Pianoforte (below) which takes a closer look at one of the many fascinating objects in the recently opened show, Inventing the Modern World, Decorative Arts in the World’s Fairs 1851–1939. I had the great pleasure to interview and follow the extremely passionate co-curator of the exhibition, Jason T. Busch, who gives us a more in-depth look at the history of the surprising materials that comprise this mostly papier-mâché piano.

In just the past 10 years, digital media has advanced to the point where we can shoot and edit a professional broadcast quality film in a matter of hours. In the past, a five-minute film required at a least a 3-person crew and big lights and a budget out of the reach of most non-profits. Another problem was where to show it. Now, if a visiting artist comes to the museum, I can fit everything into a backpack set-up and interview them in an hour and have it edited and up on our website by lunch time (well, in theory!). What would have been an out-of-house investment is now an efficient in-house department. Of course with this comes my most important responsibility—restraint. All I have to do is step outside my office to find a story. My first day here involved baby tarantulas, free hot dogs, and X-rays of secret paintings. I believe my job is to use new technology, not just for technology’s sake, but as a tool to gently break down the walls created by museums in the first place—to give a voice to the conservators, the custodians, the curators, the directors, and to the culture and people of Pittsburgh.

What were you doing before joining us at CMOA?  

I was producing a feature documentary (still in production) about a man who truly believes it is his divine calling to gather 144,000 chosen homosexuals, specifically “Bears,” to leave this earth on Dec. 21, 2012, to escape Tribulation and ascend to heaven upon the return of a homosexual Jesus Christ. I’ll be taking that day off.

What’s your favorite exhibition that you saw this past year?

I really enjoyed the Paul Thek show here at the museum. Whether or not we “like” an artist, it always gives us a new appreciation to see a retrospective of their work in chronological order. In this case I went backwards… But the show gave me such a clear idea the development of the artist and how he came to arrive at a certain aesthetic. The show gently integrated his personal biography in a way that did not distract from the work but brought me closer to it. The curator did a great job of connecting me to individual pieces by Thek that I would previously have walked right by. Honestly I went into the show wearing my usual cynical coat of arms saying something dismissive like, eh kinda goth, but I left the show feeling naked and inspired. It’s probably one of the best shows I have ever been to and I gained a new favorite artist as a result. Of course there are always some underdog curators out there curating shows of underdog artists. Sometimes those are good.

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

I would Never!… But if I had to…. Probably the Pterodactyl over in Natural History. I’d mount it on the roof of my house in Swissvale as a sort of warning to my neighbors, because my dog is useless as a guard dog.

Describe Pittsburgh in five words or less.

Other city of brotherly love.

Favorite timewasters? 

You said timewasters right?  Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Gooskie’s of Polish Hill, but never at the same time….

Any personal projects you’d like to share?  

I am happily getting married to Michelle C. Fried in November.

New Hire: Adam Ryan


What is your official title, and what are some of your general responsibilities? 

I’m the new curatorial assistant for the photography department. Along with the normal day-to-day activities, I’m primarily assisting with a large exhibition planned for 2014—a definitive retrospective of the photographer Duane Michals.

What were you doing before joining us at CMOA?  

Before being hired at CMOA, I was wrapping up my Master’s degree at George Eastman House, in Rochester, NY. It’s a collaborative program, connecting GEH and Ryerson University in Toronto. It’s a very unique degree with a long title: Photographic Preservation & Collections Management. Before that, I studied photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

What’s your favorite exhibition that you saw this past year (at any museum/event)?

That’s a hard one. There were so many good shows this year. I’d say one of these: Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard, at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.; Weegee: Murder Is My Business, at the International Center of Photography in New York; and William Wegman: Hello Nature, at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, in Brunswick, Maine.

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

Eclipse, by Eugène Atget

1025236.900x900Eugène Atget, Eclipse, 1912, gelatin silver print. Gift of L. Bradley Camp.

Describe Pittsburgh in five words or less.

It’s much cleaner than Philly.

Favorite timewasters?

Making work of my own when I get the chance—and billiards. And this.

New Hire: Jeffrey Inscho

JeffreyWhat is your official title, and what are some of your general responsibilities?

My official title is Web & Digital Media Manager. That basically means I have my hands in all things interactive, from website & micro-site development and growing the museum’s online community to facilitating technology-based in-gallery visitor experiences.

I’m only in my second week on the job and I’m still very much finding my way, but I’m extremely excited to start working on a redesign of the museum’s website, integrating a new collections API and, of course, developing the interactive components for the upcoming Carnegie International in 2013.

What were you doing before joining us at CMA?  

Prior to joining CMA, I handled the web media and marketing for Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. Before that position, however, I served as the director of media and public relations for the Mattress Factory museum, a wonderful institution here in Pittsburgh. It was during my time at the Mattress Factory when I discovered my love for working in the museum environment. I’m so glad to be back in the arts & culture space and I look forward to working with the amazing team here at CMA.

What’s your favorite exhibition that you saw this past year (at any museum/event)?

Wow. That’s tough. It’s been an extremely busy year for me and I haven’t seen as much art as I would have liked. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed Teenie Harris here at CMA and Jim Rugg‘s solo show at the Toonseum.

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

I think that’d have to be Kandor 20 by Mike Kelley. (Yes, I’m a Superman fan.)

Describe Pittsburgh in five words or less.

Greatest city on the planet.

Agreed. Any projects you’d like to share?

In my spare time, I write a personal website, Static Made, that investigates the intersection of technology, creativity, and culture. I also host a weekly podcast called ZenGeek. Those two projects, in addition to my growing family, take up 25 of the 24 allotted hours in the day!


New Hire: Rosemary Burk


What is your official title, and what are some of your general responsibilities? 

My official title is development assistant. I support the director of development in all fundraising activities. On a typical day, I might be processing and acknowledging gifts, working on grant proposals and reports, attending meetings with potential sponsors, scheduling board committee meetings, or assisting with the planning of special events such as the upcoming Inventing the Modern World gala opening (October 12th, mark your calendars!). The best part of the job is being able to work closely with so many people—other CMA staff (curators, director, education, publications, etc.), board members, donors, as well as with our central development office which manages fundraising for all four Carnegie Museums. Never a dull moment!

What were you doing before joining us at CMA? 

Most recently I was living in Los Angeles and interning at the Getty Foundation, the philanthropic wing of the J. Paul Getty Trust. It was a wonderful experience, and I was able to work on both local and international funding initiatives, including Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980. Before that, I received my masters in art history and museum studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where I interned at MOCA Cleveland and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

What’s your favorite exhibition that you saw this past year (at any museum/event)?

I saw some great photography exhibitions this year—Cindy Sherman at MOMA, Francesca Woodman at the Guggenheim, and Herb Ritts at the Getty.

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

This would require much more stealth and guile than I possess, but I’d like the entire Hall of Architecture! Or, if I’m feeling less ambitious, I’d settle for this tiny, beautiful dining room from our Collection of Miniatures (from our Instagram):

Your favorite timewasters?


Scaife Galleries Renovation

scaife13Preparators Matt Cummings and Rob Capaldi hanging the first paintings in the newly renovated galleries.

Rosemary Sprig. Castleton Mist. Stuart Gold. Pomegranate. Tarrytown Green. Mysterious. Venezuelan Sea. Smoke Embers. Yes, the new paint colors for the Scaife Galleries renovation do sound like racehorses. Which makes sense because we’re nearing the final stretch.

scaife11Since this past spring, staff members from a range of departments—including the workshop, registrars, conservation, exhibitions, curatorial, publications, and others—have been busy updating five of the galleries, from refinishing floors and painting surfaces to selecting, refurbishing, and reinstalling some artworks that have been off view for a while. We think you’re going to like the changes.

scaife3There’s still plenty of work to be done in the next couple of months, but the reinstalled and renovated galleries will reopen September 15. Here’s a list of the popular works that are currently off view or are temporarily on view in Impressionism in a New Light. And here are some photos from the past few weeks:

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