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Associated Artists:
“Salon of
the People”


















Then: Members of Associated Artists gather for the 1915 Annual.
Now: A 2006 Associated Artists show.

Founded in 1910, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh (AAP) is one of the oldest continuous artists’ organizations of its kind. Early on it earned the title “The Popular Salon of the People,” and the philosophy behind the label has pretty much stuck. Member artists through the years have included Malcolm Parcell, John Kane, Louise Pershing, Mary Cassatt, Andy Warhol, Philip Pearlstein, and Jonathan Borofsky. And just as it was during these artistic visionaries’ days, all AAP members enjoy the same opportunity to showcase their work in public forums.

The highlight of every year for AAP artists—for the past 96 years—is the AAP Annual, the only visual arts annual exhibition held in a major museum (most have been held at Carnegie Museum of Art). The first, in 1910, featured 202 paintings by 64 different artists, selected from 409 works submitted. One of the local papers then, the Pittsburgh Sun, proclaimed, “It is going to be the greatest display of the work of local artists ever got together.” Another newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post, predicted, “The excellence of the exhibition will warrant an extension of time in which it can be viewed.” The exhibition drew large crowds throughout its run.

During subsequent years, AAP Annuals have featured as many as 350 works selected from nearly 800 submissions—or as few as last year’s 74 pieces (due to the large size of many of the entries) by 48 artists selected from 450 entries. Today, some 500 artists—creators in all media of visual art—are AAP members.

Kathleen Zimbicki, chair of this year’s event, notes that the biggest change over the years has been in the diversity of art forms entered. “The early Annuals were almost exclusively oils and pen-and-ink drawings, and the number of landscapes was overwhelming,” she says. “Today, the art forms range from glass, ceramics, and sculpture to photography, film, fabric, and huge installations using a full range of materials.”

The 2006 AAP Annual, which will open at Carnegie Museum of Art on October 26 and run through January 15, 2007, will be juried by Douglas Fogle, curator of contemporary art for the museum and curator of the 2008 Carnegie International.

Fogle has been involved in a number of juried exhibitions in cities across the country, and he considers them “crucial to the artistic vibrancy of any city.” He adds, “Not only do they encourage all of us to explore our own individual creativity, they also open us up to appreciating contemporary artwork from all over the world. You really can’t appreciate the international art world that a museum like Carnegie Museum of Art makes available unless you can appreciate what is in your own back yard.”

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