Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

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.

CMOA: Now Available in the App Store


CMOA Companion App

It’s no secret the proliferation of mobile devices and persistent connectivity are changing the way we live our lives—it even impacts the way visitors experience a museum. Today I’m happy to announce that Carnegie Museum of Art’s first mobile application is available for download from the Apple App Store. Beginning this Saturday, October 5th, in association with the opening of the 2013 Carnegie International, the museum will also make iDevices available to visitors for use in our galleries (first come, first served). It is our hope that this digital offering will deepen relationships with users via the objects on view at the museum.

A Companion App for Your Museum

Launching with the 2013 Carnegie International, this first version of the CMOA companion app will allow you to learn more about the 35 artists in the exhibition, see an image of every work that will be on view, experience related video and audio, explore thematic tours of artworks, and more. The app is a universal iOS application, meaning it is available for iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. As this has been the museum’s first foray into mobile application development, we chose the iOS platform because we simply needed a solid and stable place to start. The application works on devices running iOS 6.1 or newer, and it is optimized for the recently released iOS 7. We encourage you to download and install the app on your device (it’s free) or borrow one of ours to use while you’re visiting.

Usefulness and Usability

As we were building the app, we designed it to be useful for visitors in the gallery as well as users experiencing the app from outside the museum. An example of this functionality is the “My Bookmarked Artwork” feature.* Think of it as a “Read Later” service for your museum visit. If you’re in the gallery enjoying an artwork and want to learn more about it, but don’t want to experience the content during your visit, you can bookmark that object for revisiting later whenever you’d like. Conversely, you can use the “My Bookmarked Artworks” area to create a checklist of must-see pieces in advance of your next visit to the museum.

Personality

We want this app to be a delight to use. From the friendly and accessible user interface to the engaging audio and videos, our hope is that users will thoroughly enjoy the app experience and come to love its underlying personality. While substantive and informative, content relating to the 2013 Carnegie International is informal by design and occasionally introduces elements of humor, wit, and the people behind the exhibition. Videos in the “CMOA TV” section shine a light on the museum’s behind-the-scenes process, again highlighting the amazing people here that make the exhibitions happen.

Interoperability and Accessibility

We understand not everyone has an iDevice and we’ve gone to great lengths to build this app so it plays nice with external platforms and the open web. Each object represented in the app also has a corresponding presence on the open web. The open web permalinks include the same images, text, videos, and audio that are in the app. When you share an artwork from inside the app with your contacts or social networks, you are effectively sharing the open web versions so they can be viewed by everyone—even users who don’t have the CMOA app.

We’ve also leveraged the potential of mobile through integrations with popular messaging (Email, Messages, Facebook, Twitter), navigation (Apple Maps, Google Maps) and web browsing (Safari, Chrome) apps.

Future Growth & Development

This is version 1.0 of the CMOA companion app, and as I mentioned before, it’s just the beginning. We’re approaching this project as an organic, fluid and agile process. The app will remain in active development as we work to include the museum’s permanent collection and future exhibitions. We also plan to make it available to Android users in short order and rapidly introduce new and interesting functionality as opportunities arise.

Delivering this project was a true team effort. Without the hard work of the following people, this project would never have seen the light of day: Dimitry Bentsionov of Two Tap Labs; Katie Reilly, Ian Finch and the museum’s publications department; Marilyn Russell, Lucy Stewart and the CMOA education department; John Surloff and John Ericksen in IT; and our wonderful beta testers who helped uncover bugs and provide feedback during the development process.

What would you love to see in a museum mobile application? Please use the comment thread below to let us know your thoughts. Maybe you’ll see your concept in an upcoming version update!

*Hat tip to Jeff Lovett, CMOA’s construction and facilities coordinator. The bookmarking feature was all his idea.

New Hire: Kurt Christian


kurtredWhat is your official title, and what are some of your general responsibilities?  
My title is chief preparator, and I oversee the new department of Art Preparation and Installation (A.P.I.). This department deals with all aspects of art handling, installation, as well as collection care. The planning and coordination of these activities is a key component of my job function here.

What were you doing before joining us at CMOA?   
I was the head preparator at the Saint Louis Art Museum for seven years, where I oversaw installation, de-installation, packing and crating, object handling, and collection care, etc. Prior to my departure, and during my last four years at SLAM, a tremendous amount of my time was dedicated to the museum’s expansion and all of the activity that entailed (a huge amount of object movement as you would expect). Before Saint Louis I was the associate preparator at the Whitney Museum of American Art for eight years.

What’s your favorite exhibition that you saw this past year (at any museum/event)? 
Actually a group exhibition in Philadelphia of three painters comes to mind. The exhibition was at Larry Becker Gallery and included the work of Joseph Marioni, Peter Tollens, and Michael Toenges.

If you could steal one artwork from our collection, what would it be? 
I wouldn’t do that, nor even talk about it :)

Describe Pittsburgh in five words or less. 
Hmmm, I’m not sure I have a great sense of it just yet. “Just as I’d hoped for,” is accurate, and I mean that in a very positive way.

Favorite hobbies? Timewasters? Links?
Painting and reading are legitimate ones but I am also a huge fan of the nap if you can consider that an activity.

Indeed we do, Kurt.

Public Innovation Session with MAYA Design


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Thank you to everyone who participated in our Public Innovation Session with MAYA Design on July 18! In a lively conversation led by Mickey McManus, visitors shared their thoughts about current and potential experiences at Carnegie Museum of Art with each other and with museum staff (including museum director Lynn Zelevansky). We’re still sorting through the copious sticky notes on which people jotted down their reactions to and hopes for the museum; we’ll share some of the most powerful insights in posts to come. Stay tuned!

Video: The Art Connection


We just wanted to say thanks to everyone who came out on Sunday, April 14 to mark the opening of The Art Connection Annual Student Exhibition! Check out the video to see our student artists hard at work in the museum’s studios as they prepared for this year’s exhibition. Throughout the school year, students in grades 5–9 worked through the creative process with the help of teaching artists in the museum’s galleries and studios. Artworks in this year’s exhibition reflect the influence of recent exhibitions such as White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes, Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Art at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939, and Cory Arcangel: Masters.

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