Japanese Architects at the Heinz Architectural Center


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Tezuka Architects’ run run run, from the 2013 Carnegie International; Photo: Greenhouse Media

As part of the 2013 Carnegie International, Tokyo-based Tezuka Architects designed an installation titled run run run for the largest gallery of the Heinz Architectural Center, the architecture department of the Carnegie Museum of Art. This temporary installation consists of a flowing curtain, almost elliptical in plan, onto which film is screened from multiple projectors. The films depict children at play at the Fuji Kindergarten, an innovative structure recently realized by Takaharu and Yui Tezuka in the Tokyo suburbs. For the Pittsburgh installation, balloons and a padded floor surface augment an atmosphere of play and interactivity.

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Shigeru Ban’s Paper Loghouse, from the exhibition Strangely Familiar: Design and Everyday Life

This gallery has in fact hosted several installations and exhibitions of work by Japanese architects, reflecting Japan’s significant contributions to contemporary architectural culture. Japanese architects have been awarded the Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious prize for architects, on five occasions, including Tadao Ando in 1995 and the team of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa in 2010; only the United States has had more Pritzker laureates. Furthermore, Japan has produced seminal new talents each decade: Shigeru Ban and Sejima/Nishizawa in the 1990s, Tezuka Architects in the 2000s, and most recently, Sou Fujimoto and Junya Ishigami.

In 2003, as part of Strangely Familiar: Design and Everyday Life, the Heinz Architectural Center accommodated an entire house. Made from cardboard tubes and resting on Kirin beer crates, Paper Loghouse was designed by Shigeru Ban as emergency housing in the aftermath of the 1995 Kobe earthquake.

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Models by Toshiko Mori, from the exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright: Renewing the Legacy

In 2005, for Frank Lloyd Wright: Renewing the Legacy, the Japanese-born architect Toshiko Mori displayed models of her competition-winning proposal, now completed, to build a visitors center next to Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo, New York.

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Installation view of White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes

For 2012’s White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes, dramatic new structures on islands in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea were presented in our largest gallery. Projects on Naoshima by Tadao Ando were represented by large topographic models and drawings by this Osaka-based master. Four maquettes made from household materials revealed the design process of Ryue Nishizawa for his enigmatic Teshima Art Museum, a collaboration with the artist Rei Naito. An adjacent space was occupied by a transparent model of Seirensho, the re-working by Hiroshi Sambuichi of a former copper refinery on Inujima.

It may be a simplification to draw direct connections between the works of these outstanding Japanese architects presented here in Pittsburgh. Nevertheless each operates in a cultural continuum that values materiality, space, lightness, and communication with nature.

Teenie Tuesday on Facebook


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Charles “Teenie” Harris self-portrait in Harris Studio, c. 1940, black and white: Agfa Safety Film; Heinz Family Fund

Don’t miss our new Facebook series, Teenie Tuesday! The Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive contains approximately 80,000 images taken by Harris throughout his stellar career. A richly detailed record of public personalities and everyday Pittsburghers, the Archive is considered one of the most important documentations of 20th-century African American life. Since 2003, the museum has scanned and cataloged nearly 60,000 images, many of which are available on our Collection Search page. Identification of this vast collection is ongoing and we are always interested in hearing your stories regarding a Teenie photograph. Through our Facebook posts, we will share what’s new with the Archive, related events, images that could use some help from the public identifying the subjects and locations, and remembrances of the people, places, and events that Teenie photographed.

Charles “Teenie” Harris (1908–1998) chronicled the life of African Americans and other Pittsburghers through his photographic work from 1936–1975 in the nationally preeminent Black newspaper The Pittsburgh Courier. He also freelanced for the Washington D.C. news picture magazine, Flash!, and maintained a portrait studio in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Nicknamed “One Shot” because of his speed and precision capturing a moment in time, Teenie’s archive is a richly detailed record of the lives of international celebrities, sports figures, politicians, Civil Rights leaders, and local residents.

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Charles “Teenie” Harris in front of Flash circulation office, 2132 Centre Avenue, Hill District, c. 1937, gelatin silver print; Gift of the Estate of Charles “Teenie” Harris

These photos created a sense of pride, dignity and respect in the minority community. As his oldest child, Charles A. Harris, explained, “Dad’s lens offered an equal opportunity to all. Those who faced that lens had a feeling of being special. He was blessed with an uncanny instinct that brought out the emotions of those he photographed. His photographs are a testament to his artistry and his life.”

Have a question or information about a photo from the Archive? Get in touch.
Charlene Foggie Barnett, Teenie Harris Archive Assistant: foggie-barnettc@cmoa.org
Kerin Shellenbarger, Research Archivist, Teenie Harris Archive: shellenbargerk@cmoa.org

Want to order your own prints from the Teenie Harris Archive?
Photo orders may be directed to RequestAPrint online.

Need to license a Teenie Harris image for publication?
Visit Getty Images online.

—Charlene Foggie Barnett, Teenie Harris Archive Assistant & Oral History Coordinator

Free to the People


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The Art Lending Collection at Braddock Carnegie Library; Photo: Greenhouse Media

If you’re like me, by now you’re probably sick of all the heated art auction coverage, which makes it seem like contemporary art is out of reach for anybody but a zillionaire. (Just another way to suggest that art = elitist.) The perfect antidote is the Art Lending Collection at Braddock Carnegie Library, a joint initiative of the inspiring artist collective Transformazium and the Braddock Carnegie Library Association, and a complement to the 2013 Carnegie International. Right now, I have two wonderful works by International artists Lara Favaretto and Erika Verzutti in my home (see below). In fact, I’m in my second rotation of art from the ALC, having just returned a charming little work by Mladen Stilinović. All you need is an Allegheny County Library card, and you can take the works home for free for three weeks!

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Works from the Art Lending Collection; (L): Works by Lara Favaretto (wall) and Erika Verzutti (table); (R): Work by Mladen Stilinonvić

I’m lucky enough to work in a museum, so I get to see a lot of great art up close, but having art in your own home is a completely different experience, because it becomes embedded in your everyday life. And I have to admit it, I love touching the little pieces of Verzutti’s enigmatic sculpture—just because I can! The Art Lending Collection is a great place to hang out, too—good conversation and a lots to see, both art and books. I highly recommend it—just don’t take the sketch by Tezuka Architects, because I want to borrow it next.

Learn more about Braddock Carnegie Library.

Maureen Rolla, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh

Sneak Peek: Carnegie Trees


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Enjoy a first look at this year’s Carnegie Trees at tonight’s preview party!

A holiday tradition since 1961, Carnegie Trees is an annual event featuring six 20-foot Colorado spruce trees alongside our renowned Neapolitan presepio in the Hall of Architecture. This holiday season, each tree will be adorned with ornaments that celebrate the art of play—a prevalent theme in the 2013 Carnegie International.

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This year’s designers include Mernie Berger and Lowrie Ebbert; Carole Kamin; Nancy Lewis with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Cynthia Cooley and Suzanne McLaughlin; Laura Beattie with Frick Art & Historical Center; and the Society for Contemporary Craft.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Pittsburgh, from a Bike


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“A city always contains more than any inhabitant can know, and a great city always makes the unknown and the possible spurs to the imagination.”—Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust, A History of Walking

“Nice!”—Randy Gilson

The best way to see Pittsburgh is by bike. And the absolute best way to see Pittsburgh’s public art is also by bike, in a decently sized (chatty) group and led by the curators of the 2013 Carnegie International (Thanks Tina and Daniel!). Luckily BikePGH, the ride organizer, picked a beautiful Saturday in November to ride 18 miles through the city’s parks, along its riverfronts, and through several neighborhoods starting in Oakland and ending in Millvale. The group, comprised of BikePGH members, met at the Carnegie Museum of Art, next to Phyllida Barlow’s TIP.

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Our first stop was on the Carnegie Mellon University to see Mel Bochner’s (CMU alum) and Michael Van Valkenburgh’s Kraus Campo garden. The conceptual piece nestled between the University’s fine arts and business buildings incorporates text, architecture, and landscape architecture into an interactive experience.

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Learn more about Pittsburgh public art and venues at Pittsburgh Art Places.
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Descending through Schenley Park, across the Hot Metal Bridge and traveling downstream along the South Side Trail, the group arrived at The Workers, the Industrial Arts Cooperative’s tribute to Pittsburgh’s industrial pedigree.

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Downtown Pittsburgh was the site of our next two stops. Scott Burton’s Chairs for Six sit in the plaza of the BNY Mellon Center. Across town in the Cultural District, Katz Plaza hosts a collaboration featuring Louise Bourgeois, Daniel Urban Kiley, and Michael Graves.

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A quick trip over the Andy Warhol Bridge led the group into the central North Side neighborhood to Randyland, where we were met by the gregarious Randy Gilson. Gilson regaled the group with his background and artistic philosophy—“I don’t know how to paint, but I paint! Nice!”

The ride’s final destination was St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Parish to view the Maxo Vanka murals. The murals extend far beyond the typical Roman Catholic iconography. A few years ago, I had read about the Vanka murals in David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries: “More unusual for a church are the political and antiwar aspects of the murals that echo the crucifixion—widows mourn over a soldier in a coffin containing a bleeding corpse, and crosses cover the hillside behind them. Another wall depicts corrupt justice: a figure in a gas mask holds scales on which the gold outweighs bread. Clearly World War I had a big effect on Maxo.”

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As I said earlier, there is no better way to see a city and its public art than biking, and Pittsburgh is taking great strides in becoming a world-class biking community. Currently there are over 20 miles of riverfront trails along the Monongahela River, Allegheny River, and mighty Ohio River. Over the past several years, the city has added over 70 miles of on-street facilities that connect cyclists to the many vibrant business districts scattered throughout the city. With the development of BikePGH’s Better Bikeways Vision and the city’s MOVEPGH (transportation plan), cyclists can expect bigger and better toys within the next few years.

bikegifWith that said, 2014 is expected to be a watershed year for the city’s biking community as Pittsburgh launches a bike share system and hosts Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2014, one of the pre-eminent active transportation conferences in the world. The bike share system will introduce 500 rentable bicycles onto Pittsburgh’s streets, providing cheap, convenient, and fun transportation for short trips. Pro Walk/Pro Bike will bring over 1,000 active transportation advocates, engineers, architects, planners, elected officials, and vendors to Downtown Pittsburgh in September 2014.  It’s an amazing opportunity to showcase Pittsburgh’s improvements and learn from the global leaders in urban transportation design. Learn more about the Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2014 conference.

Stephen Patchan, Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator, City of Pittsburgh