Staff Favorites from Past Internationals

A few staff members volunteered to share favorite works from past Carnegie International exhibitions for Throwback Thursday—check it out below!

A bright gallery with two cubes sitting next to each other; the left cube is bright pink and red, and the right cube is a bronze brown
Installation view of Lara Favaretto, Jetsem, 2013, Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art. Photo: Bryan Conley

“One artwork memorable to me is from the 2013 Carnegie International. Lara Favaretto’s work, Jestem, is composed of four large minimalist cubes of confetti. During the five months this exhibition was on view, I was in school down the street and frequently popped into the Museum for inspiration.

A close view of thousands of tiny pieces of bright red material
Installation view of Lara Favaretto, Jetsem, 2013, Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art. Photo: Bryan Conley

Jetsem, composed of four blocks of nearly 1,000 lbs. of compressed confetti, was there to greet me in Heinz Gallery A. It gave me great pleasure to observe the tiny pieces of paper slowly fall away from the cube over the course of the exhibition. It was a nice contrast to my schoolwork, studying how people respond to art as I watched these cubes react to their environment and the movement of people in their shared space. Although these works are not celebratory, as they remind us of our consumer culture full of little bits of stuff, the confetti still felt like my own little gallery party.”—Meg Scanlon, Manager of K–12 School Student Programs

A busy street corner scene with people waiting and walking across the crosswalk, with a small beige sedan waiting at the light
Installation view of Pawel Althamer, Real Time Movie, 2004, Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art. Photo: Bryan Conley

“The corner of Forbes Avenue and South Craig Street is my corner. Carnegie Museum of Art sits on this corner, and as an employee, I’ve crossed this intersection without thinking about it more times than I could count.

“But that changed when artist Pawel Althamer made this corner the subject of his performance work Real Time Movie for the 2004 Carnegie International. The schedule for the exhibition’s opening day activities invited visitors to this corner at 1 p.m. I stood on the sidewalk with lots of other people, some there specifically for the mysterious event, most just there to get from point A to point B as they might on any other Saturday. I stood there watching, waiting for the artwork to materialize. Two women in jogging outfits pushing baby strollers crossed Forbes Avenue, and a couple hand in hand zipped across diagonally. A bunch of students, adults with kids, and random pedestrians traversed the intersection. The light turned green and cars moved through slowly.

“‘Wait,’ I remarked to myself, ‘is that Peter Fonda driving that car? I think Peter Fonda just drove by.’ I remember being jolted into awareness. I watched longer, looked more closely at the extraordinary, ordinary experience that was unfolding in front of me. Althamer had instructed actors to portray passersby. Which ones were the actors, which were not? Where are they going, what is their story? Is life—my life—a “real time movie”? One that I might easily miss as I had missed the life of that corner so many times before? The feeling, the question, the experience was almost electric. Without fanfare, the performance was over and I walked back inside, but the corner was forever transformed.”—Marilyn Russell, Director of Education

“I’ve been involved with the International since 1988, and Thomas Hirschhorn’s Cavemanman was one of the most complex installations I can remember. It arrived in two 40-foot sea freight containers, and we were dumbfounded to see the contents: piles of wooden pallets and used cardboard, garbage bags full of cardboard, bins of foil-covered mannequins, and boxes of books. There were also posters, videos, and fluorescent light fixtures. So many soda cans were needed to scatter in the cave that staff were asked to contribute to the supply. I always marked the Diet Coke cans I brought to work with my initials, so it was fun to run across a can marked “etb” in the installation.

An installation artwork made of cardboard taking the shape of a cave with posters hung on the interior ceiling
Thomas Hirshhorn, Cavemanman, 1988, Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art

“After weeks of building an elaborate wooden framework, a crew began assembling the inner walls from all that cardboard. The cave was so large that it filled one gallery and then spilled over into our storage gallery. We had to build a ‘secret’ doorway that allowed us into storage but only by walking through the entire cave. The door stayed closed and was quite camouflaged, so you had to remember where it was. I always tried to make sure no one was looking when I snuck through but definitely surprised a few visitors coming back into the cave!”—Elizabeth Tufts-Brown, Associate Registrar