New Hire: Dacia Massengill


What is your official title, and what are some of your general responsibilities? 
Marketing and communications manager. My main responsibility is to plan and implement initiatives to drive attendance and secure maximum visibility for CMOA exhibitions, programs, collections, and staff. This includes social media, advertising, and community outreach, among other things.

What were you doing before joining us at CMOA?
I was the marketing director for Brooklyn Philharmonic, commonly known as  Brooklyn Phil. It was my first time working with a performing arts organization, and during my time there I got to work with some amazingly talented folks: Alan Pierson (Alarm Will Sound, Crash Ensemble), Mos Def, Royce Vavrek, David T. Little and Erykah Badu, just to name a few.

What’s your favorite exhibition that you saw this past year (at any museum/event)?
Ann Hamilton’s the event of a thread at Park Avenue Armory in NYC. It was so beautiful, I never wanted to leave!

If you could steal one artwork from our collection, what would it be?
Dem Unbekannten Maler (To the Unknown Painter) by Anselm Kiefer. It’s currently not on view, so…


Anselm Kiefer, Dem Unbekannten Maler (To the Unknown Painter), 1983, oil, emulsion, woodcut, shellac, latex paint, and straw on canvas; Richard M. Scaife Fund and A. W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund

What is your major source of inspiration?
OMG Cats in Space.

Five things you can’t live without?
My Kindle. My iTunes library. Coca-Cola. Paper. Pencil.

If you were a Crayola crayon, you would be:
Razzmatazz, obvs.


Teenie Harris Photographs: Baseball in Pittsburgh


North Side Elks Little League baseball team, front row from left: Sterling Smith, Ronnie Boyd, Emanuel Kelly, Harold Martin, Robert Hampton, Milton Swan; back row: Charles Haran, Jack Bishop, Noel Roach, William Long, Melvin Moore, Ronald Daniels, Wayman Johnson, Roger McCollum, Leonard Johnson, and managers Oliver Boyd and John McCollum, on Kennard Field with Terrace Village in background, May 1953, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

Batter up! With this familiar phrase, the Teenie Harris Archive of the Carnegie Museum of Art is proud to announce the opening of our new exhibition, Teenie Harris Photographs: Baseball in Pittsburgh, March 22–September 22, 2014. Those of us who’ve struggled through a tough winter are especially anxious to hear those words, because with baseball season starting on the same date, warm weather will not be far behind. Nor will terms such as “wild pitch,” “no-hitter,” and “squeeze play.”


Group portrait of women’s St. Clair Village softball team with trophy, on playing field at night, c. 1950–1970, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

The Teenie Harris Archive includes approximately 667 baseball images. The new exhibition will feature 25 highlights from the archive, including images of the Negro League teams such as the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Homestead Grays, and the show is guest curated by Sean Gibson, the great-grandson of Crawford and Grays player Josh Gibson. Also featured will be Major League Baseball greats Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Donn Clendenon, Roy Campanella, Curt Roberts, Ted Williams, and Minnie Minoso, among many others. Teenie Harris himself was a co-founder and shortstop for the Crawfords when they were known as the Crawford Colored Giants. We also include photos of Little League teams, women’s teams, managers, umpires, and everyday folks attempting their own grand slams.

If you’re like me, you think of baseball season with delight. I often laugh to myself remembering George Carlin’s famous description of baseball as a happier sport than most others—the wearing of “caps” vs. helmets, that you’re always “up” at bat vs. asking “what down is it?”, that it has no time limit, and that baseball’s objective is to “go home” and “be safe”! As he describes a “kind of picnic feeling” you get while sitting in the stands, I’m reminded of my own sunny summer days spent at Forbes Field. My little legs would burn in the sun, but I didn’t mind a bit, because I had my bag of roasted peanuts and cold soda pop to enjoy the game. My Dad would cheer on his beloved Pirates, and we’d enjoy a day filled with him explaining base hits and double plays.

To whet your appetite for the kinds of images you’ll see at the exhibition, here are just a few of the many baseball-related photos Teenie took all over the Pittsburgh area.


Portrait of Charles A. “Little Teenie” Harris wearing St. Louis Cardinals’ baseball uniform kneeling with bat, outside home at 7604 Mulford Street, Homewood, 1936, black and white: unknown safety film; Heinz Family Fund


Bill Nunn Jr., Chicago Cubs baseball player Ernie Banks, Milwaukee Braves player Hank Aaron, and Mal Goode, examining baseball bat on Forbes Field for 1959 All Star game, July 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund


Baseball executive Branch Rickey Sr. speaking about equal housing rights, in Wesley Center AME Zion Church, with another man on right, May 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund


New York Yankees baseball players Elston Howard and Yogi Berra in front of dugout, at opening game of 1960 World Series, Forbes Field, October 5, 1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund


Baseball player Jackie Robinson speaking at podium at NAACP fiftieth anniversary event, c. 1959, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund


Pittsburgh Mayor David L. Lawrence swinging baseball bat in dirt lot with wood and screening batting cage, with man wearing suit acting as catcher, and children in background, c. 1946–1955, black and white: Ansco Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund


Woman wearing light colored dress pitching ball to elderly woman with bat, with another woman playing umpire, on baseball field, with elderly man and three other women seated on bench in background, another version, c. 1945–1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund


Washington Pennsylvania Pony League baseball players, from left, Harold “Pete” Vactor, Fred “Reggie” Bolden, and Don Ferrell, standing in yard on residential street, Washington, Pennsylvania, August – September 1955, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund


Portrait of boy wearing short sleeved shirt with jug and sun pattern, holding baseball bat and standing in front of tree in South Park for Pittsburgh Courier newsboys picnic, September 2, 1960, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund


Two boys and three girls, including one wearing plaid pants swinging baseball bat on fenced field with trees, June 1973, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund


Pittsburgh Pirates baseball player no. 39 Bob Veale, wearing eyeglasses and glove, posed throwing pitch on Forbes Field, August 11, 1964, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund


San Francisco Giants baseball player Willie Mays and Pittsburgh Pirates Roberto Clemente, posed on Forbes Field for 1965 season opener, April 1965, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund


Pittsburgh Pirates baseball player Al McBean wearing fireman’s hat, and unknown fire fighter wearing dress uniform, standing on Forbes Field for 1965 season opener, April 1965, black and white: Kodak Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund


CMOA for iOS v2.0 (or Go Ahead, Fork Us)

Coach marks in version 2.0 help orient the user to app functionality.

Last October, we released the first version of the CMOA mobile app in conjunction with the opening of the 2013 Carnegie International. During the past few months, many people have been using the app both inside the museum and elsewhere, and we’ve been studying how these users have been interacting with it. We asked users what they liked, what they didn’t like, what was confusing, and how we could make the experience better. After compiling this user feedback, we began work on a fairly substantial update to the app. Earlier this week we released version 2.0 of CMOA for iOS and we’re really proud of it.

If you haven’t already installed the update, you can get it on the App Store.

What’s New?

Updates to version 2.0 include an element we’re calling coach marks. One of the most popular pieces of feedback we received from users was that they didn’t know how to dive right in with the app. Many users indicated there was a small learning curve. In order to mitigate this, we added a series of coach marks that orient new users with a quick overview when they launch the app for the first time. The coach marks also appear infrequently throughout the user session to highlight commonly overlooked features like artwork bookmarking or social sharing.

We also introduced the ability for users to enlarge the body font. This control is gesture-based: pinch out to enlarge, pinch closed to reduce. In addition to font size control, we added some other usability improvements and squashed some bugs.

The most substantial updates, however, have been incorporated on the back end and are (hopefully) invisible to users. Version 2.0 brings support for the museum’s permanent collection and also gives us the ability to add or remove temporary exhibitions as they open and close. Currently, the permanent collection content in the app is made up of artworks that fall into three subsets: Director’s Choice with audio commentary from Lynn Zelevansky, Impressionism at CMOA with commentary from associate curator of fine arts Amanda Zehnder, and a Staff Favorites section that highlights meaningful artworks from various employees across all four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. We will continue to develop and grow the available content in the coming weeks.

Go Ahead, Fork Us

Another back-end update invisible to most users is perhaps the biggest of all. As of today, we’ve made all the underlying code (for both the web-based CMS and the native iOS app) open source via GitHub. This means other institutions can freely use, adapt, extend, and repurpose (otherwise known in developer circles as forking) our source code for use in their own applications.

These are the first pieces of code the museum has contributed back to the open source community, and we’re excited about the possibility of contributing more in the future. For now though, we’d love to hear about how this code is being forked in other applications. If your institution is interested or has questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch via GitHub or more conventional methods.

Big thanks are again in order for Dimitry Bentsionov, who is the brains behind the code and has been instrumental in making this project a reality.

Teenie Harris: In the Aisles


Selections from the Teenie Harris Archive are sometimes shared with the public in unexpected ways. This week we highlight the photos currently displayed in the recently opened SHOP ‘n SAVE market, in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Seeing Teenie Harris images as you gather your groceries along the aisles of the new structure ties the past to the present in comfortable style. For those of us who grew up in the Hill District during Teenie’s prime, it was an all too common occurrence to bump into him taking photos on assignment for the Pittsburgh Courier, capturing newsworthy moments, entertainment, sports, social events, or personal portraits. And quite often, while you were shopping, as well.


When I was a youngster in the early 1960s, milk was delivered daily to your doorstep by the milkman, dressed all in white clothing. In addition, your local huckster stopped by your block several times a week with fresh produce and meat. To my delight, while browsing through the Archive several years ago, I happened to find a photo Teenie captured of the huckster (Phil Argento) I anxiously waited for several times a week as a little girl. This curbside shopping was accompanied by the small grocery stores that occupied many street corners in the neighborhood. But we also would take a trip to the big grocery chain store, which was at that time considered a far drive—about a mile or so away. At the big market we could indulge in fancy cheeses, unique produce like pineapples flown in from Florida, or California oranges. And my personal favorite—red Faygo soda pop—it was my treat if I behaved properly while on the shopping excursion. In those days, you wore nice clothes and perhaps even white gloves, and gentlemen helped you push your cart out of the store, even placing the bags in your car.


Times have obviously changed, and the Hill District, like all the other neighborhoods, lost their hucksters and milkmen long ago. But sadly even the large grocery chain lying within a close distance had disappeared for way too long. With the opening of the new SHOP ‘n SAVE, it offers easier access to the Hill residents, especially for those who must tote their packages on public transportation or pay for jitneys or other cab services. How appropriate that some of its native son’s photos are now hanging in this particular store. I think about how often Teenie was seen shooting photos in the very spot where the store sits today, and all along Centre Avenue where his studio once existed. And how awesome it is that his photos of a streetcar on Herron Avenue, jazz musicians, children crossing the street from school or eating a humble meal, and a former store of the 15219 area code were selected to tie two centuries together. Having known Teenie, I would venture to say he would be proud, not particularly because of how artistically (in fact) he captured such scenes, but more so that the Hill District now had a place to call its own, once again.




Beijing Silvermine Project


The Beijing Silvermine Project makes a strong case for the necessity to materialize photographic images as physical, tangible objects that exist in the world. Initiated by the French collector and editor Thomas Sauvin, this massive archive currently contains over half a million analog photographic negatives made by Beijing’s inhabitants, shot between 1985 and 2005. Salvaged from recycling plants in the periphery of the city, these discarded objects—35 mm analog color negatives blemished by time—have been renewed with a very different kind of life. The time frame itself is also a telling subtext: There’s the reforming and opening up of the economy and a marked shift towards a leisure class on the one hand, and the changing nature of the photographic medium from silver-based processes to the digital on the other hand.

That the trove of images is a poignant and truthful record of the collective experience of Beijing’s citizens is the obvious response. But what the project also insistently reminds us is that the physicalized photograph circulates in ways that are more unpredictable and surprising than their digital counterparts. The Beijing Silvermine photographs are more like vagabond drifters, accruing traces of experience throughout their passages, and through time and space. As the first law of thermodynamics states, physical things can be altered but not entirely destroyed. Had Sauvin not intervened on behalf of these photographic objects they would have been processed through chemical treatments so that the remnant silver nitrate could be extracted and used elsewhere.


Instead, these rescued images—including events such as births, weddings, and travel snapshots, to the more wondrously formal and accidental blurs and chance compositions—provide a collective lens to view an existent, self-contained universe peopled by a specific populace in a precise place that not only encapsulates life, but also all the varying forces that shape it.



Arthur Ou is assistant professor at Parsons The New School, and is one of the agents for the Hillman Photography Initiative. More info about the Initiative and this year’s upcoming programming will be announced very soon. All images in this post are courtesy of the Beijing Silvermine Project.