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Designing Oakland

Through September 22

Oakland might be poised to become the new heart of Pittsburgh. And yet the very success of the neighborhood as a center for culture, education, health care, and technology makes it a challenging place to work or live. Rapid growth and popularity have put a strain on the infrastructure, and coordination of development efforts has proven elusive. This exhibition examines selected aspects of Oakland's built environment and considers some of the many recent ideas for addressing these challenges. Visitors will have an opportunity to learn about both urban planning (what goes where and how it functions) and design (how everything looks), and to consider how the pieces of a plan fit together, from Carnegie Mellon University’s Master Plan to small houses or coffee shops.

Designing Oakland is the Heinz Architectural Center’s first exhibition on city design. By drawing on collections of old photographs, postcards, historic maps, and books, the exhibition will provide historical context and reveal the thinking behind the decisions made in the early 20th century. More recent plans, from the 1950s and later, that include architectural drawings and models, as well as explanatory text, will suggest the wide array of ideas that have been proposed for Oakland and will help visitors envision how the area might look in ten years.

Support for this exhibition has been provided by the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, Inc. and the Alexander C. & Tillie S. Speyer Foundation. 

The programs of the Heinz Architectural Center are made possible through the generosity of the Drue Heinz Trust.

Scaife Galleries to Undergo Renovations

This summer visitors to Carnegie Museum of Art will, as usual, see many works of art…but in a lot less space.  The Scaife galleries have closed for updating and renovations, and many works will be moved into the Heinz galleries. 

“By using natural light, Edward Larrabee Barnes, the architect who designed the Scaife Wing, created remarkable environments for viewing works of art,” says Christopher Rauhoff, director of exhibitions for Carnegie Museum of Art.  In 1974, however, when the galleries opened, standards for art conservation were very different from what they are now.  New technologies and a better understanding of lighting and ventilation have made it possible to maintain better conditions for preserving the works of art.

When the renovation is complete, visitors may see no difference. “It is important that we maintain the integrity of Barnes’ original design,” Rauhoff says.  The galleries will, however, feel different and even sound different.  A vapor barrier installed between the interior and exterior walls will help maintain relative humidity between 45% and 55% (a welcome improvement during Pittsburgh’s long winters), and ductwork will reduce the sound of air rushing into the ventilation space behind the walls.

Since the current gallery is too bright for conservation standards, new skylights will filter some of the sunlight.  However the clerestory lighting will still carry out Barnes’ ingenious design.  “The sunlight enters through glass, bounces into a cove that makes a light well, and then onto paintings,” says Rauhoff.  “That is why it is such a diffuse, even light.”

During the period when exhibition space is limited, museum curators are taking the opportunity to be creative in this temporary, but challenging situation.  “This was a chance to look at the collection in a different way,” explains Louise Lippincott, curator of Fine Arts.  “We’re going to hang paintings almost floor to ceiling, salon style, with objects on platforms in the center of the Heinz galleries.” Comprising more than 500 works, Panopticon: An Art Spectacular will contain treasures as well as oddities from the museum’s basement.  This exhibition will be discussed in greater detail in a future issue of CARNEGIE magazine.

Forum: Hello, My Name Is…                                                               

June 29 through September 29                

This eclectic group of works by eleven emerging international artists, ranging in age from 26 to 42, demonstrates that contemporary notions of portraiture can extend beyond an artist’s likeness to explore wide-ranging areas of autobiography, fantasy, and ethnic as well as genetic identity.

In The Hispanic Project and The Seniors Project, Nikki S. Lee explores issues of identity by photographing herself adopting the appearance and behaviors of a segment of society that is not her own.  Beth Campbell, in her drawing series My Potential Future Based on Present Circumstances, begins with a single event in her life and charts a web of potential consequences that might ensue from different choices she might make.

Maurizio Cattelan’s Spermini consists of 150 painted, miniature, rubber masks of his own face, each one slightly different from the next. 

These three artists, with their eclectic approaches to self-revelation, are joined in the exhibition by John Bock, Edgar Bryan, Trisha Donnelly, Roe Ethridge, Saul Fletcher, Jim Lambie, Zak Smith, and Susan Smith-Pinelo.

This exhibition is the first collaboration between Laura Hoptman, curator, and Elizabeth Thomas, assistant curator, of the Museum of Arts department of contemporary art.

Founder-Patrons Day Celebration, Thursday, November 7

Carnegie Museum of Art will celebrate the annual Founder-Patrons Day with a black-tie gala dinner and exhibition preview on Thursday, November 7.  The featured exhibition will be Out of the Ordinary: The Architecture and Design of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates, which opens to the public on November 9 at the Heinz Architectural Center.  

Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown have been partners in one of the most influential architectural design and planning firms of the last half-century.  The evening begins with cocktails at 6:00 and dinner at 7:30 in the Hall of Sculpture. To receive an invitation, call (412) 578-2552. 

New to the Collection
Paul Feely

American, 1910-1966

Alya, 1964
oil-based enamel on canvas

A. W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund

A native of Iowa, who had his first one-man show at the age of 17, Paul Feeley cannot be slotted easily into any one artistic “ism,” says Laura Hoptman, curator of contemporary art.  Alya, our new acquisition, is an example of Feeley’s blend of abstraction that married biomorphic form to a kinesthetic sense of color.  The clean-edged shapes in this work were painted using a stencil and are clearly related to the hard-edged abstractions of Kenneth Noland or Frank Stella,” she explains. 

Feeley resisted the dominance of abstract expressionism in the 1950s and ’60s and claimed to have learned from Jackson Pollock to escape “traditional taste.”  His formal vocabulary was influenced by Mediterranean cultures—Moorish tiles and Greek Sculpture, and his use of color evokes the quality of Mediterranean light. 





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