Category Archives: Museum News

CMOA Commissions a Sculpture of Pittsburgh Icon Rick Sebak


Rick Sebak-1_1600px

WQED’s Rick Sebak stands in the Hall of Sculpture at Carnegie Museum of Art, the future location of his sculpture. Photo: Bryan Conley.

We always get excited to work with living artists, and so we were excited to see the announcement of a major commission by famed British artist Lucie Poole. She has chosen Pittsburgh icon Rick Sebak as the latest model in a series of works featuring contemporary American men, and the sculpture will be installed in the Hall of Sculpture at the heart of the museum. Poole will be the first artist to install a work in the Hall since Nicole Eisenman’s Carnegie-Prize winning works in the 2013 Carnegie International. One of these sculptures, Prince of Swords, was acquired by the museum, and remains on view.

Poole has chosen Sebak to be the latest subject of her series (hyper)MASCULINE, and will arrive at the museum next week to begin the work. The series meditates on classical ideals of male beauty, and focuses on what the artist calls “men whose masculine energy presents itself to them, almost uncontrollably,” and who are “enigmatic, yet bound by their own externalities.” Subjects are given almost impossibly perfect forms, taking cues from Greek and Roman sculpture. Previous selections include writer and television host Anthony Bourdain, and Massachusetts senator Scott Brown. Works in the series can be found in the collections of the Tate Modern and Detroit Institute of Arts. The series presents what Poole calls “body archetypes” that “invert the normative conditions of our temporal states through an eruption of antiquity into our contemporary world.”

Continue reading

How to Transform Pittsburgh’s Gulf Tower Beacon into a Mood Ring


gulf-tower_mood-ring_distant-feel_antoine-catala_crop

Here at CMOA we’re gearing up for a new exhibition, Antoine Catala: Distant Feel, one of the more challenging yet rewarding shows to come through our Forum Gallery. Catala is interested in how images provoke feelings, notably empathy. But, he asks, how should we express empathy online, to strangers? Now that we’re able to see thousands of images per day through Internet-connected devices, what are the emotional ramifications?

It’s a potentially limitless line of inquiry. It’s also difficult to communicate. “So,” several of us thought, “what if we plan some sort of live demonstration for the whole city of Pittsburgh?”

The beacon atop Gulf Tower came to mind immediately. Six stories tall, and pyramid-shaped, the Art Deco-inspired structure has had one lighting scheme or another since it first opened in 1932. In 2012, a new set of LED bulbs enabled the lighting to change drastically, and its weather program feeds directly from KDKA through an Internet connection. We could do something similar, except around emotional responses to images. It seemed perfect. Hence the Gulf Tower Project was born.

Continue reading

New Hire: Kate Barbera


new-hire_kate-barbera_1200p

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.

Continue reading

New Hire: Emily Davis


me_and_the_Chicken

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

Help Inform the Future of Play in Pittsburgh


ultimate-play-day_april-2014_01

Two young girls climb on the Lozziwurm play sculpture at Carnegie Museum of Art during The Ultimate Play Day on April 27, 2014 © Carnegie Museum of Art. Photo: Josh Franzos.

Call to Action: Take the Pittsburgh Playability Survey and help Carnegie Museum of Art make the city more playable and family-friendly. 

Play was a central theme of the 2013 Carnegie International, with The Playground Project exhibition and Lozziwurm play sculpture encouraging a larger ongoing discussion about the way we approach childhood, risk, public space, and education. And it’s a topic that remains timely. In a recent segment on NPR, for example, it was reported that time on the playground may be more important than time in the classroom.

“The experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain,” Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, told NPR’s Jon Hamilton. “And without play experience,” he said, “those neurons aren’t changed.” Continue reading