Gallery view with a jagged bronze sculpture in foreground, and an artwork made of a ring of doors joined together in background

Installation view, Crossroads, Photo: Bryan Conley

Crossroads: Carnegie Museum of Art’s Collection, 1945 to Now

Scaife Galleries

Experience our new galleries of modern and contemporary art.

Crossroads mines our collection for stories that resonate today by highlighting the critical role of the artist in everyday life.

This complete reinstallation of our postwar and contemporary art galleries places the work of artists at the intersection of history and society. We’re also bringing dozens of rarely and never-before-shown works out of storage. Curator Eric Crosby finds pockets of depth, diversity, and eccentricities, organizing the galleries in a series of “chapters.”

Crossroads takes its title from Bruce Conner’s 1976 film, a hypnotic collage of atomic bomb blasts at Bikini Atoll.


Artists offer powerful responses to the forces shaping our world; eight chapters champion their voices:

A New Horizon—A shifting global order following World War II and new artistic freedoms prompted artists of the 1950s to respond with innovative forms of abstraction in painting and sculpture.

Call of the Wild—In the late 1940s, a loose-knit band of Northern European painters and poets called CoBrA (shorthand for Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) experimented with art that was mischievous, playful, and irreverent. The gallery reintroduces CMOA’s extensive, rarely exhibited CoBrA collection.

More Than Minimal—Though Minimalist works of the 1960s and 1970s may seem cold and impersonal, behind each is a story of touch, perception, and lived experience, lending a human dimension to otherwise simplified forms.

Night Poetry—Borrowing its title from a 1962 painting by the Pittsburgh-born artist Raymond Saunders, this dreamlike gallery summons rarely seen works from the darker recesses of the collection.

Artists’ Cinema—Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the museum served as a hub for a vibrant local film community. This gallery features a rotating program of important and under-recognized works from the museum’s collection.

Less Than Half the Picture—The turmoil of the 1980s prompted widespread debate about the value and role of art in society. A new generation of artists embraced politically charged ways of working in response to the most vital issues of the day.

The Persistence of Painting—From the rise of the Internet to the ubiquity of digital cameras, today’s complex visual environment has pushed a centuries-old medium in unpredictable directions.

Free Radicals—How do artists locate themselves in our complex world? How do they redress historical omissions? How do they embody forms of resistance and protest? And how do they challenge tradition and the status quo?

Crossroads is organized by Eric Crosby, The Richard Armstrong Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.


Exhibition Images

Photo of a woman wearing gorilla mask perched on a stool. Text: Guerrilla Girls Review The Whitney / April 16-May 17 1987 / The Clocktower
Painting of an upholstered chair, the artist's leg playfully draped over one arm is visible
Line-paintings of running figures being zapped by a spaceship
Drinking fountain turned upside down and painted with bright blotches of color
Woman with prosthetic nose and wig, shown from the shoulders up, crouching against a stark, bare background
Woman standing with arms crossed in front of a gallery wall