Author Archives: Matthew Newton, Associate Editor

New Hire: Kate Barbera


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

My official title is Archival Assistant for the Time-Based Media Collection. I am part of a broad, comprehensive effort to preserve all of the film, video, and audio assets at the museum. My main task is to create an archive that will house the photographs, letters, reports, posters, slides, and memos that provide context for the media materials. These papers help tell the fascinating history of film in Pittsburgh. I am working to preserve the records and taking steps to make them available to everyone inside and outside the museum. Some materials will even be scanned and put online. Overall, my goal is to make this information readily accessible so more people can use it for research. I hope my work helps others discover the city’s unique, exciting, and influential film scene.

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Studio Visit: Inside the Firehouse Workspace of Sculptor Dee Briggs


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Briggs’s office in a Wilkinsburg firehouse that she converted to a studio for her art practice back in 2009. Photograph courtesy of Dee Briggs Studio.

Arriving at the firehouse-turned-studio where sculptor and architect Dee Briggs centers her art practice, it’s hard to ignore the feeling that you’ve stumbled upon a well-kept secret. Located in Wilkinsburg, a small town just outside of Pittsburgh that’s become better known in recent years for its economic decline rather than its prosperous history, the building is partially obscured from public view by an abandoned house that towers over nearby Swissvale Avenue. In fact, nearly every street within walking distance of Briggs’s studio features either a vacant lot or an abandoned home, nature quietly reclaiming the open spaces and derelict structures in a tangle of thistles and ivy. The reality outside her front door, however, is not lost on Briggs. Instead it’s an issue that occupies her thoughts and informs her work.

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The Shadow of Memory in a Post-9/11 World


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Under Attack candles, 2010. Image courtesy of Sebastian Errazuriz Studio.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, nightmare-like imagery appeared on television screens across the country. News footage of two commercial airliners flying dangerously low through the New York skyline played on an infinite loop. The twin towers of the World Trade Center hemorrhaged fire and black smoke against a clear blue sky. Office workers helplessly plummeted from windows. Clouds of ash rolled through New York’s financial district like slow-moving dust storms. Crowds of strangers wept and hugged one another in the streets. It was unbearable to watch, yet impossible to look away. Thirteen years later that graphic imagery still lingers in the nation’s collective memory, a stark reminder of what personal loss and incalculable horror looks like.

Like so many other people who looked on in disbelief that day, Chilean-born artist Sebastian Errazuriz was influenced by the events that transpired. For more than a decade, Errazuriz—whose first major solo museum exhibition, Look Again, opened last Friday at Carnegie Museum of Art—has been creating sculptures, photographs, collages, and sketches in memory of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Collected under the title Never Forget, Errazuriz treats the ongoing project as not only an exercise in memory, but as a way to reconsider the messages and imagery that surfaced both during and after the attacks.  

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New Hire: Emily Davis


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Emily Davis, taking a spin in the backyard with her pet chicken, in Alameda, New Mexico, circa 1985.

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

My official title is Senior Research Associate for the Time-Based Media Collection. I am working on an exciting multi-faceted project funded by the A.W. Mellon Foundation. One of my main responsibilities is to ensure the long-term sustainability and accessibility of the museum’s time-based media collection, which includes film, video, audio, and software-based artworks. To do this I am assessing the preservation needs of the holdings, determining what works need and can be migrated to digital formats, working with the artists, galleries, and estates to migrate the work according to best practices, and updating the collection records to document the preservation work. I will also be working with the new archival assistant to arrange and describe the related archival materials in  order to gather more information about the collection and make it accessible to staff and researchers. Continue reading

On This Day: The Legacy of A. Philip Randolph


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Charles “Teenie” Harris, Labor Day celebration honoring A. Philip Randolph (waving from balcony of Civic Arena), surrounded by clergy, Lower Hill District, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 4, 1967, black and white: Kodak Safety Film, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund, 2001.35.3994 © 2006 Teenie Harris Archive.

On this day in September 1967, labor leader and civil rights pioneer A. Philip Randolph was honored during a Labor Day Mass at the Civic Arena, where Bishop John Wright presented him with an award for his outstanding leadership in a distinguished career that spanned more than half a century. Photographer Teenie Harris was in attendance that day, covering the event for the Pittsburgh Courier, when he captured this stark black-and-white image of Randolph being welcomed by a delegation of clergy from the Pittsburgh region and beyond. Continue reading