Help Inform the Future of Play in Pittsburgh


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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

New Hire: Tom Fisher


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

Multimedia Producer. I plan, shoot, and edit videos that can be found in and around CMOA’s exhibitions and on the museum’s Vimeo channel. These videos include event documentation and original works like the Hillman Photography Initiative’s Invisible Photograph series. I also work closely with my supervisor Jeff Inscho to help organize and archive the museum’s digital assets.

What were you doing before joining us at CMOA?

In May I graduated from the Filmmaking Intensive at Pittsburgh Filmmakers. I’ve since been freelancing and was fortunate enough to intern with CMOA’s Multimedia Department. I’ve also spent the last two years working in a photo lab. Yes, people still shoot on film. Yes, people take ‘selfies’ with disposable cameras. Continue reading

This Picture: Guy Bourdin, Ad for Charles Jourdan Shoes


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Guy Bourdin, Ad for Charles Jourdan shoes, c. 1970, Estate of Guy Boudin, represented by Michael Hoppen Gallery, London. Used by permission.

I remember seeing this ad as an art student—it kind of had everything: a post-Carnaby Street, pre-hippie moment with mixed and matched colorful shoes and tights, presenting an edgy story and a sense of unattainable style.

It’s impossible to explain how unbelievably cool Charles Jourdan shoes were back then, and how coveted. None of us could afford them, but I was eventually able to buy a pair of red slip-on moonboots at a 70%-off sale at Macy’s. I wore them to death. Continue reading

New Hire: Kevin Mercer


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

Construction and Facilities Coordinator. I provide support for the administration and execution of all aspects of construction-related activities associated with the museum’s temporary exhibitions, major permanent collection installations, and special projects.

What were you doing before joining us at CMOA?

I had just finished my graduate degree in drawing and painting at Penn State, where I taught 2-D and 3-D design courses. I was also a wood and metal shop technician at PSU’s School of the Visual Arts. Continue reading

This Picture: Barack Obama by Dawoud Bey


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Barack Obama, 2007 © Dawoud Bey, courtesy of Stephen Daiter Gallery.

Dawoud Bey’s photograph of the man who would soon be president was taken on a Sunday afternoon in early 2007, at Barack and Michele Obama’s Hyde Park home. The portrait is at once stately and informal. Obama’s hands are folded gracefully in his lap. He wears an elegant suit and white shirt, but no tie. He stares intensely into the camera.

The Museum of Contemporary Photography had commissioned Bey the year before to take a portrait of a notable Chicagoan. He had known the Obamas for several years, and saw them periodically at social gatherings. Impressed with Obama’s keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic convention, Bey sensed a “growing air of expectancy” about him. Continue reading