Art Notes: Carnegie International gears up for second half

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A puppet show Thursday night begins Carnegie Museum of Art's last round of programming for the 2013 Carnegie International, which ends March 16. Other highlights include a drawing workshop with Carnegie Prize winner Nicole Eisenman; the first U.S. appearance by seminal Iranian filmmaker Kamran Shirdel; presentations by artists Joel Sternfeld, Zoe Strauss and Dinh Q. Le; and a discussion of risk in playground design.

Following are events scheduled to date. For more information:

 Thursday -- 5:30-9 p.m.: Culture Club: "These Aren't Your Kids' Puppets!" A redux of the standing-room-only puppetry performance of Polish artist Paulina Olowska's "Museum Piece (for Margo Lovelace)," enacted during the International's opening weekend. Returning are Pittsburgh-based puppeteer Tom Sarver and cast members Kristen Barca and Joann Kielar. Mr. Sarver will also discuss new work with fellow puppeteer Mike Cuccaro, and attendees will have the opportunity to create a puppet. Bar opens at 5:30 p.m.; events continue 6-9 p.m. $10 admission includes one drink ticket.

 Saturdays from Jan. 18 to Feb. 8 -- 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Teen Workshop, "Architecture 101: Playgrounds and Public Spaces." Advanced students at Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture guide participants in making drawings, plans, sections and 3-D models of adventurous play spaces and structures inspired by designs on view in "The Playground Project." The $100 fee, members $85, includes sketchbook and all materials; register at 412-622-3288.

Monday -- Artventures, "2013 Carnegie International Family Day." Exploring the exhibition's playful side through art-making, a gallery search and performance. At 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. storyteller Alison Babusci presents Peace Tales and other stories. At 11:30 a.m., 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. puppeteers Tom Sarver and Mike Cuccaro of Puppet Happening chat with puppets about works of art in the exhibition. Free with museum admission.

Jan. 30 -- 6:30 p.m.: Artist Talk, Joel Sternfeld. The acclaimed American photographer shares his perspective on "Sweet Earth," the series exhibited in CI13 that combines photographs and accompanying texts to chronicle experimental utopias in the United States. Free.

Feb. 6 -- 6:30 p.m.: Artist Talk, Zoe Strauss. The Philadelphia-based photographer, who created a series of portraits while in residency in Homestead over the summer, will speak about her artistic practice, which focuses on the unseen or forgotten people and places of urban America. A reception follows with the Homestead residents who sat for portraits and community exchange. Free with cash bar.

Feb. 13 -- 6:30-8 p.m.: Panel, "Playing It (Too) Safe: Play, Playgrounds and the Value of Risk." Has the play been taken out of America's playgrounds? The argument has been made that simplistic notions of safety and protection have resulted in play areas that are dull to children and have lost the essence of community. Presenting will be Susan Solomon, author of "American Playgrounds: Revitalizing Community Space"; Wendy Nilsson, executive director of Partnership for Providence Parks, R.I.; Gabriela Burkhalter, curator of CI13's "The Playground Project"; and representatives from the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC), Mayor Bill Peduto's office, and North Braddock's Recycle Park project. Presented with PAEYC as part of Pittsburgh's Playful City USA series. Free; Act 48 hours available.

Feb. 20-21: "A Two-Night Film Event With Kamran Shirdel." Feb. 20 will be a Carnegie Museum of Art Culture Club beginning with a happy hour with the artist from 5:30 to 7 p.m. followed from 7 to 9 p.m. by a film screening and conversation. $10 includes admission and one drink ticket; $15 tickets for both day's screenings may be purchased on Feb. 20. On Feb. 21 from 7 to 9 p.m. films will be shown at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., North Oakland. $10; co-sponsored by Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

Mr. Shirdel has made documentary films of everyday life in Iran since the mid-1960s and has influenced generations of Iranian filmmakers. Although employed by the government-sponsored Ministry of Culture and Art, his films have not always evaded banning, confiscation and censorship. Different films showing in CI13 will be screened each evening, with introduction by Mr. Shirdel and discussion led by CI13 co-curator Tina Kukielski.

Feb. 27 -- 7:30-9:30 p.m.: "Drawing Experience With Nicole Eisenman." The artist will speak from 7:30 to 8 p.m. after which participants will move to the Carnegie International galleries where until 9:30 p.m. they will sketch draped and undraped models against the backdrop of the exhibition. Facilitators at each location will monitor poses and guide novice and experienced participants. Ms. Eisenman will circulate to each gallery location and offer comments. Bring a sketchbook or use provided materials. Register at 412-622-3288; $15, members and students $10, CMU drawing symposium participants free.

The event is co-sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University's School of Art and presented in conjunction with the school's symposium DRAW2014: Why Draw Now? The three-day symposium (Feb. 27-March 1) is open to the public and includes both ticketed and free events. Visit more information and registration.

March 4-5: -- "Two Events With Artist Dinh Q. Le." March 4 at 5 p.m. Mr. Le will give an Artist Talk in the Kresge Theatre, Carnegie Mellon University, with topics including past projects and recent work in CI13. Free. March 5 at 6:30 p.m. a discussion focused on art, war and image will commence at the museum. Mr. Le will address artists' interpretations of the Vietnam War. Daniel Lieberfeld, associate professor, Duquesne University, and Philip Nash, Vietnam historian and associate professor of history, Penn State Shenango, will comment on the power of images during and after the conflict. CI13 co-curator Dan Byers will be moderator. Free.

Vietnam native Mr. Le moved to the U.S. with his family at age 10 during the Vietnam War. He earned a master's of fine arts degree at the School of Visual Arts, NYU, and returned to Vietnam when he was 25. His multidisciplinary work questions contradictory topics such as the continuing legacy of the war and the marketing of Vietnam as a tourist's paradise. His CI13 work "Light and Belief: Sketches of Life From the Vietnam War" comprises 100 drawings and paintings made by Vietnamese artist-soldiers on the front lines of the Vietnam War accompanied by a documentary film. A follow-up companion project looks at the noncommunist artists and their lasting legacy.

New gallery opens

East of Eastside Gallery will debut with a free public reception from 2 to 5 p.m Sunday in the Franklin Center, 4240 Greensburg Pike, Forest Hills. The inaugural exhibition comprises co-founding artists Adrienne Heinrich, Debra Platt, Sue Pollins, Phiris Kathryn Sickels and Kathleen Zimbicki and invited artists Jane Ogren, Mark Panza and Kurt Shaw. They include some of the founders of the co-op Eastside Gallery, which opened in the Trader Joe's Shopping Center, East Liberty, a few years ago. The exhibition continues through March 8 with hours by appointment. Information: 412-465-0140 or

Ludwig show extended

The exhibition "David A. Ludwig: Structures," which was to have closed Saturday, has been extended to Jan. 31. Works by the late artist spanning four decades are at Panza Gallery, 115 Sedgwick St., Millvale. Information: 412-821-0959 or

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