Spring 2007

Director's Note

In a current exhibition at The Andy Warhol Museum, we ask visitors the question, “How does the environment of a pristine white cube of an art gallery affect the manner in which you view art?” Or, in other words, can a cultural space be so manicured that all of the prevailing elements that swirl around it in the outside world—famine, war, disease, ecological disasters, or even the prevailing Zeitgeist—are forgotten once one has crossed that portal into a zone of tranquility, aka the museum? The only real answer is a big and resounding, “Not on your life!” 

While I would agree that museums do allow the time for unfettered concentration, they cannot—under pain of being redundant—eschew being in and of their times. To be totally honest, these institutions must, at certain times, serve as zones of transgression as well, hoping to open the world from the center to the margin and back again.

During the next nine months, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh will attempt to bring your world into our world with the presentation of three especially provocative exhibitions— Deadly Medicine: Creating a Master Race at The Warhol; 6 Billion Perps Held Hostage! Artists Address Global Warming, also at The Warhol; and the much ballyhooed BODIES…the Exhibition at Carnegie Science Center. Each in different ways turns the heat up!  

In the cover story of this issue of Carnegie magazine, scientists, artists, and curators take on the “hot topic” of global warming. Certainly, while scientists can quantify the numbers and measure the effects of this dystopian reality, it must be left to artists to shock the hell out of us. To make us feel, to make us hurt, to make us act up on our own behalf.

And why is Pittsburgh the perfect locale in which to ask these question? Weren’t we the great society that took riches from the earth, made them into elements that mankind needed to build and enlarge, and, in doing, created “Hell with the lid off?” Contrarily, once the golden years of the region’s steel economy had dwindled, we were then able to become environmentally conscious. Can we not, now, imagine a time when there are jobs for all and clean air for us all to breath? I know that the young people of the world are asking this very question and yet struggling to reconcile this belief with their own ambitions.  

Maybe The Fountainhead of the future will mean just the opposite of Ayn Rand’s famous book. Come to Carnegie Museums, and we will annoy you, embarrass you, make you cry, give you a kick in the posterior, but #@+*& we will certainly make you think and feel!!!!!

Thomas Sokolowski
The Andy Warhol Museum

Also in this issue:

One Hot Topic  ·  West Looks East  ·  Golden Years  ·  Off the Wall …and Into Packed Theaters  ·  NewsWorthy  ·  Now Showing  ·  Face Time: Lareese Hall  ·  Artistic License: Bizarre Beasts  ·  First Person: Video Art, by Douglas Fogle  ·  About Town: Let's Explore  ·  Another Look: The Natural History Docent  ·  Science & Nature: In Search of the Best Visitor Experience  ·  Then & Now: Hillman Hall