In September 2016, I hosted Ingrid Schaffner and Bisi Silva to show them my collection of Haitian art and to discuss their imminent trip to the Caribbean in preparation for the Carnegie Int’l, 57th ed., 2018. Early in our visit they asked how I had become a collector of the island nation’s vodou-based Surrealist art. I led them to a small painting in my living room and told them about a fateful encounter.
Frantz Zéphirin, The Slave Ship Brooks (detail), 2007
Museums face unique hurdles in collecting, preserving, and exhibiting time-based media. This broad term—time-based media—refers to film, video, audio, digital, and computer-based art that entails a temporal duration and depends on changing technology. Unstable by nature, these works don’t exist until assembled for display.
Heads up, savvy scanners, here are three words to track: Truss, Fuss, and Catenary. This triumvirate of terms, coined by curator Ingrid Schaffner and derived from engineering structures, is shaping the identity and communications of the Carnegie Int'l, 57th ed., 2018. As you may know, Pittsburgh is a city of bridges and impressive infrastructures that range in appearance from industrial to ornamental, which explains the Truss and the Fuss.
In his painting The Monongahela River Valley, Pennsylvania, the Scottish-born, self-taught John Kane offers an ode to the ever-growing industrialization in his adopted hometown of Pittsburgh. Painted in 1931, and now part of the collection at The Met, the landscape that Kane captured borders on pastoral. In the foreground, white fog tumbles from smokestacks set against perfect blue skies, while copper-hued factories rise from the banks on either side of the river as if extensions of the soil itself.
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Artist collective Transformazium wants you to know there is already a long history of arts and culture in Braddock that doesn’t need to be revitalized.
Debt Begins at Twenty by Stephanie Beroes documents a defining moment of the punk music scene that flourished in the late 1970s and early 1980s in Pittsburgh. Dating from 1980, the film is pitch-perfect and has aged incredibly well. It is unusual for any film to survive the culture of immediacy we live in, and as a look back at what was and who we were, this film offers many insights and much delight.
In REkOGNIZE, Harris’s photography is the catalyst for both image and sound. On one channel of the installation, parts of the unearthed code create a representation of the numeric layers beneath the images that establish their essence. As Harris’s photographs flash on screen, code scrolls across the faces of men, women, and children from the Hill District, their expressions veiled by alphanumeric masks. Behind their bodies numbers drop in rapid descent, conjuring a sense of disintegration. And within their bodies the code consumes them, cutting a silhouette both familiar and foreign. “I’m trying to crack the code,” Young explains.