Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh





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Recent Acquisitions

Knotted chair, 1996

gilt aramid rope, carbon core, and epoxy


Marcel Wanders, designer                                 

Dutch, b. 1963

Droog Design, design cooperative

Dutch, 1993-present


Martha Mack Lewis Fund, 2002

Photo © Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg, NY


Visitors to Panopticon: An Art Spectacular will have an opportunity to see a new acquisition in Decorative Arts, Marcel Wanders’ Knotted Chair.  Produced in 1996, early in Wanders’ career, the chair is made of hand-knotted rope that was twisted around a carbon core and covered in epoxy.  Despite the fact that its style evokes a hammock, the chair is rigid, upsetting viewers’ preconceptions about how materials perform. Wanders was a member of the Dutch collective Droog Design, which mediates between designers and manufacturers, when the chair was produced.


“This chair has become an icon of contemporary design,” explains Sarah Nichols, chief curator and curator of Decorative Arts, “and is included in numerous museum collections.  The one that Carnegie Museum of Art has acquired is one of three gilded versions.”


In Panopticon, the chair is grouped with other chairs made of unusual or untraditional materials.


Panopticon:  An Art  Spectacular          

Through August, 2003


While a spirit of festivity prevails throughout Panopticon, some of the works on paper in the third gallery will be rehung to reflect seasonally appropriate themes.  Henri Mattisse’s large cut-out The Thousand and One Nights, long a favorite of museum visitors, will immediately draw viewers in with its appealing colors and its emphasis on story, a time-honored remedy for the long nights of winter. 


Mattisse first began working with paper cut-outs in the 1930s, and by 1950, when health had confined him to a wheel chair, he was producing large and intricate works composed of multiple panels.  The text in this piece, an unusual inclusion for Matisse, states in French that “she saw morning appear/ she discreetly fell silent,” and if the work itself is read from left to right, we can see firelight giving way to sunlight, the black hearts along the top becoming green and, for a while, no more threat of death.


Also included will be Japanese winter subjects, such as ukiyo-e, or pictures of the floating world.  This type of art was developed in what is now Tokyo from 1615 to 1868, peaceful years during which the Tokugawa shoguns ruled Japan.  During that period, the merchant class had little political power, and turned to art and culture as an entry into the world of the elite classes.  These works generally depict common daily pleasures. 


The exhibition will also include Dutch 17th-century landscape prints and drawings featuring Rembrandt, as well as a selection of winter subjects by European and American 19th and 20th century artists such as Grant Wood and  Martin Lewis. 


Forum:  Mel Bochner Photographs, 1966-69

Through December 31


Pittsburgh native Mel Bochner is best known for his work in Conceptual art, and most of his photography has never before been seen in a museum exhibition.  Organized by Harvard University Art Museums, with guest curator Scott Rothkopf, many of the photographs emphasize the theory behind artistic practice.  Bochner isolates and explores the mechanics of artistic phenomena such as color, perspective and scale that have played a crucial role in the history of Western art. 

Surface Dis/Tension, 1968


Rothkopf, who first came upon Bochner’s photographs when he visited his studio in 1998 as an undergraduate at Harvard College, explains Bochner’s interest in the photographs as objects of art.   Bochner “cared very much that his photographs be as interesting to look at as they are to think about,” Rothkopf says.  “In that sense his approach to the medium differed from other Conceptual artists of the 60s, who generally avoided highly crafted photographic prints. Yet Bochner's elaborate set-ups and near endless manipulation of his negatives and prints has a lot in common with the constructed and digitally manipulated photography so common today."


Mark Your Calendar


Guests at the annual Founder-Patrons Day celebration on November 7 will have an opportunity to preview Out of the Ordinary:  The Architecture and Design of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates, which opens to the public November 8.  The exhibition is the first restrospective of the work of this influential architectural firm.  The evening begins with cocktails at 6:00 and dinner at 7:30. To receive an invitation, call 412.578.2552.

Neapolitan Presepio

November 29 – January 9


Since 1957, traditional holiday activities in Pittsburgh have included a trip to see the Neapolitan Presepio and the large trees in the museum’s Hall of Architecture.  The Presepio, handmade between 1700 and 1830, covers 250 square feet, and represents the Neapolitan concept of the nativity in a scene of village life.  More than 100 beautifully modeled figures include humans, angels, and animals, as well as accessories and architectural elements. 



The theme for the Christmas trees is “Carnegie Museum of Art Celebrates its American Artists,” and each of the five trees will pay homage to Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, Keith Haring, Georgia O’Keefe, and Andy Warhol.  Each year, the Women’s Committee of Carnegie Museum of Art chooses a theme and makes ornaments by hand to decorate the towering trees, a project that takes many months to complete.


Trees With Personality

This holiday season, the Women’s Committee at Carnegie Museum of Art will begin a new tradition – Trees With Personality. Thirteen artificial trees will be decorated by local celebrities, including Mr. Rogers, Kevin McClatchey, Elin and Jim Roddey, Kathleen Mulcahy and Ron Desmett, Lynn Swann, Hilda and Freddie Fu, Elsie and Henry Hillman, Burton Morris, Rose and Bill Strickland, and members of Rusted Root, as well as by representatives from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Carnegie Science Center and the Pittsburgh Zoo. Each of the trees will be raffled off Chinese Auction style, with tickets selling for $10 each, except for Zoo tree tickets, which will sell for $1 each to make them affordable for children. The raffle will be held Dec. 15, and all proceeds will benefit the activities of the Women’s Committee of Carnegie Museum of Art. Trees With Personality will be on display at the Tree Preview Party on Dec. 4 and will be open to the public beginning Dec. 5.


Annual Special Guests Holiday Party

Monday, December 9, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.


Children and adults with special needs are invited to enjoy the holiday displays, hosted by The Women's Committee, including entertainment and refreshments.  For more information call 412.622.3325.



It’s Not Just Mud!  Centuries of Ceramics

December 14, 2002–Summer, 2003

Treasure Room


Ceramic techniques have remained virtually unchanged for millennia, but the ways artists express themselves in the medium are constantly changing.  It’s Not Just Mud! showcases the surprising beauty of ceramics art objects through a wide-ranging survey of stoneware, earthenware, and porcelain works.  From Greek vases to modern-day vessels and sculpture, the exhibition reveals the breadth and depth of ceramic objects in the museum’s decorative arts collection.


And don’t miss What’s in Your Tureen: Soup, Stew, or Ragoût?  This popular, held-over exhibition matches ten tureens—ranging from elegant 18th-century Meissen china to the utilitarian Crock-Pot®—with the recipes they might have served.  Through December 1, 2002 in the Treasure Room.  



Holiday Party Tradition Continues


CMA Cinema


Central Asian Samples

November 16 – December 8

Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 6 pm (see calendar)


During the past decade, Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan – have been producing feature films that have attracted attention and praise in film festivals around the world.  These films are rarely seen in the United States, however, where our Hollywood focus has overlooked the quality and diversity of these films, each made within a national film industry but often sharing regional qualities.  The series includes the spectacular Kazkh epic The Fall of Otrar (made in 1991 but just now released) depicting the intrigue and turmoil of the lost East Asian civilization of Otrar and its destruction by Genghis Khan.


David Goodis

November 2 – 22

Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm (see calendar)


Pulp fiction writer David Goodis is only now being rediscovered in the United States, but the French have never lost sight of this noir author of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.  Like his peers Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, several Goodis texts have found their way to the screen.  These include Francois Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player (1960), as well as Nightfall (Jacques Tourneur, 1956), The Burglar (Paul Wendkos, 1957), and Delmer Daves’ classic Dark Passage, starring Bogart and Bacall they same year they played in Howard Hawks’ film of the Chandler novel The Big Sleep.


The Central Asian film series will screen on Saturdays and Sundays-Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 6 pm.


The Goodis series will screen on two Saturdays and two Fridays-all at 7:30 pm.


Saturday, Nov. 2, 7:30PM : DARK PASSAGE (1947, Delmer Daves)

Saturday, Nov. 9, 7:30PM : NIGHTFALL (1956, Jaques Tourneur)

Friday, Nov. 15, 7:30PM : THE BURGLAR (1957, Paul Wendkos)

Friday, Nov. 22, 7:30PM : SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER (1960, Francois Truffaut)

Make a Luncheon Date with Art

Lunch and Learn

Preregistration required.  Call 412.622.3288.  Fee includes lunch in the Carnegie Café.  Thurs., 10:30 a.m.2:00 p.m.; members $22.

Have a Seat: The Art of the Chair    

November  21

From simple stools to elegant thrones, the history of the chair is laden with social and symbolic meaning.  Sarah Nichols, chief curator and curator of decorative arts will explore the cultural and design history of chairs and conduct a tour, after lunch, of the large and diverse selection of chairs on view in Panopticon:  An Art Spectacular. 


The Innovative Architecture of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

Dec. 12


In the last four decades, architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown have up-ended the architectural establishment with an approach that integrates popular culture and classical forms.  Tracy Myers, associate curator of architecture, provides an overview of their inventive projects in a slide-illustrated talk.  After lunch, a tour will be provided of the Heinz Architectural Center exhibition, Out of the Ordinary:  The Architecture and Design of Robert Venturi Denise Scott Brown and Associates.


Store Item

Alesi (architectural household items)



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