The Industrial Age 1750-1900: Art & Science, Technology & Society
By Ellen S. Wilson
Through July 29
The world notices when two museums collaborate on a blockbuster
exhibition such as Light! The Industrial Age 1750-1900: Art &
Science, Technology & Society.
Andreas Blühm, head of exhibitions at the Van Gogh Museum in
Amsterdam and co-curator of Light! with
Louise Lippincott of Carnegie Museum of Art, reported that 268,000 people
visited the exhibition in Amsterdam.
“There were more local visitors, more Dutch visitors, and visitors
with more wide-ranging interests,” Blühm said. “It was a different crowd, and that is what we wanted. Everyone had a different favorite
During the Amsterdam run, the international press
praised the exhibition, and now that it has opened in Pittsburgh (the only
other venue in the world), it has been featured on CBS News' Sunday Morning, in the New York Times, the Washington
Post, in on-line magazines, and many other media outlets, both local
and national. A lengthy and
enthusiastic review by Todd Spangler for the Associated Press should run in
newspapers all over the country, a boon for the city as well as the museum.
Beginning, as Spangler points out, with “homage to Isaac
Newton” and a rainbow on the walls of the dimly lit gallery, the exhibition
spreads out to include early scientific instruments, domestic
paraphernalia, and a look at how artists used light, or tried to capture
its effects. The exhibition ties in
with the city-wide campaign Pittsburgh
Shines, a project of the Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors
Bureau Office of Cultural Tourism to highlight city attractions and
cultural events. Here, as in Amsterdam,
the museum is expecting not only numerous visitors, but a crowd as diverse
as the exhibition itself.
Jewish Boy, 1852
Round-Up of Summer Exhibitions
Linda Batis, associate curator of fine arts at Carnegie Museum
of Art, describes Portrait/Self
Portrait as “a look at fame and how it fades.” The exhibition features works by Dürer,
Rembrandt, Degas, Picasso, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, and many other
major artists from the Renaissance to the mid-twentieth century in a survey
of how the personal and emotional life of the subject can be captured on
paper. While many of the portraits
originally depicted the wealthy and powerful, in many cases the celebrity
did not last, and the works are enjoyed today more for what they reveal
about the artist than for what they convey about the subject. The exhibition runs through October 14.
In the Heinz Architectural Center, Landscapes of Retrospection:
The Magoon Collection of British Drawings and Prints, 1739 – 1860
and Still Rooms &
Excavations: Photographs by Richard
Barnes are both on view through September 2. The Magoon collection from Vassar College catalogues
Britain’s built and natural heritage, an appreciation of which rose during
the Industrial Revolution. Richard
Barnes’ evocative photographs document the 1990s’ expansion of the
California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and the excavation of the gold
rush-era burials field discovered beneath it.
David Carrier is the juror of the 91st annual
Associated Artists of Pittsburgh exhibition at the Museum of Art from
August 24 - September 24. Carrier,
Professor of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University, is widely known for
his work in art criticism and his study of the history of art history.
And in the Forum Gallery, the National Society for Arts
and Letters exhibition of sculpture will be on view through September
2. This society was formed in 1944
to sponsor competitions and encourage careers in the arts. National jurors for this year’s competition
included Thomas Sokolowski, director of The Andy Warhol Museum, and
sculptor Thad Mosley.
Pride Street, 1955
Dream Street: Photographs by W. Eugene
November 3 – February 10, 2002
From an early age, photographer Eugene Smith had a
vocation: to shoot “life as it is.
A true picture, unposed and real.
There is enough sham and deceit in the world without faking life and
the world about us. If I am
shooting a beggar, I want the distress in his eyes, if a steel factory I
want the symbol of strength and power that is there.” These thoughts are recorded in a letter
he wrote to his mother at the age of 18.
Smith was driven to carry out his plans; he let nothing stand in the
way of getting the shot he wanted, of documenting “life as it is.”
That same year, Smith dropped out of Notre Dame
University and moved to New York to begin photography school. He quickly lined up a job at Newsweek as well as free lance
assignments. Always single-minded
and passionate about his work, and insisting on shooting his pictures his
way, Smith lost his job at Newsweek,
and gained a well-deserved reputation for being impossible to work
with. This tenacity and insistence
on his art served him well, however.
His photographs from World War II, most of which were published in Life, are some of the most dramatic
of the period.
Injured by an exploding mortar shell (he had a habit of
risking personal safety for a good picture), he worked for Life after his recovery, spending
months on minor assignments and bickering endlessly with the magazine’s
editors over the layout of his work.
The rigid structure of a weekly magazine could not contain him, and
his youthful comments about a steel factory proved prophetic. Smith’s first freelance assignment after
leaving Life was a documentation
of gritty, dramatic Pittsburgh in the mid-1950s, and the city, with few
pretensions, proved the perfect subject.
This is the first museum exhibition of 200 of the photographs from
Smith’s Pittsburgh project.