Carnegie International drew attention worldwide


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The 2013 Carnegie International closed its doors Sunday but not before thousands of visitors wandered through Carnegie Museum of Art to look at work created as nearby as Braddock and Homestead and as far away as Johannesburg and Beijing.

Between opening day Oct. 5 and Sunday, 156,451 people purchased museum passes. Those are good for both Carnegie Museums of Art and of Natural History and it's impossible to break out visitor numbers for one or the other. But surveys have found that most visitors go to both museums, said media relations manager Jonathan Gaugler.

In addition to walk-in admissions, hundreds more came in groups, including churches, museums (from Cleveland, Florida and California among others) and corporations (such as PNC and Kennametal). More than 100 adult/senior groups booked tours for 1,876 attendees. As of early March, 160 K-12 school groups arrived with 6,257 students and 815 teachers and chaperones, and 746 college faculty and students had come. Many more participated in the many social events for VIPs, museum members or the general public during opening weekend. Others attended complementary programming.

"More than 4,800 people attended 26 lectures, discussions, film screenings, performances, Culture Clubs, and a drawing experience," wrote associate curator of education Lucy Stewart in an e-mail.

Fourteen artists (Yael Bartana, Nicole Eisenman, Rodney Graham, Wade Guyton, Dinh Q. Le, Pierre Leguillon, Zanele Muholi, Paulina Olowska, Pedro Reyes, Kamran Shirdel, Joel Sternfeld, Zoe Strauss, Takaharu Tezuka, Transformazium) from 10 countries (the U.S., France, Canada, Vietnam, South Africa, Mexico, Japan, Iran, Israel and Poland) participated in programs, she said.

Capacity crowds turned out for Mr. Sternfeld, Mr. Le and Ms. Strauss.

"In addition to the three curators -- Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers and Tina Kukielski -- and The Playground Project curator Gabriela Burkhalter, more than 30 other individuals (local and national) participated in the 26 events," Ms. Stewart wrote.

Typically Internationals draw foreign visitors and this one was no exception with 54 other countries represented including all continents except Antarctica. The top 10 countries ranked by attendance were Canada, the United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Russia, Brazil and Italy.

Top state attendance (beyond Pennsylvania) was from Ohio, West Virginia, New York, California, Virginia, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, Texas and Illinois.

The Pennsylvania total was 107,000 with 8,108 from beyond Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Many people made return visits.

"The goal was to present artworks that resonate with visitors on a personal level," Mr. Gaugler said. "Physically seeing the show could be done in one day, but to look closely at the artworks takes time. ... We wanted people to return because there's more to see, even if it's looking again at the same artworks.

"From a media coverage standpoint, it's been covered abroad far more than in the past," Mr. Gaugler said. "It means that we are on the same playing field as all the other huge shows and fairs, nationally and internationally, from an art world perspective."

Reviews ran in newspapers and magazines in Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, South Africa, the UK and the U.S.

"The [International] was discussed, shared, photographed and digested through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media ... in very creative, meaningful ways," he added.

Artwork has begun to be crated and shipped and the galleries will soon empty, but not everything is leaving. Some of the works have been purchased for the permanent collection and will resurface at a later date. Others will leave more gradually. No decisions have been made yet regarding the Gabriel Sierra project in the Hall of Architecture, which replaced the sage green walls with a royal purple.

The CI13 website will stay as an archive including all artwork images, gallery views, artist videos and curator audio. A Carnegie Corp. centennial grant for technology that enabled the museum app to deliver audio/video guides and other multimedia to user devices, employed for the first time in CI13, will be available for future exhibitions.

The Lawrenceville apartment, another first, was "quite successful, and a wonderful model for launching an exhibition that requires a lot of out-of-town guests to have a place to stay," Mr. Gaugler said. Future International curators will determine whether to employ a similar space for programming and/or guests.

He said that the museum has no plans to remove the Lozziwurm, the playground structure that stands in front of the museum on Forbes Avenue. The large Phyllida Barlow sculptural installation out front, however, will begin to be dismantled in mid-April.

The projected date for the next International is 2018. But because one of the three 2013 curators, Dan Byers, is also museum curator of modern and contemporary art, a position newly created in 2012, we're assured of a continuity of contemporary programming between the big global shows that hadn't been present in the past.


Post-Gazette art critic Mary Thomas: mthomas@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1925.

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