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October 01, 2013

Pittsburgh’s Version of the Venice Biennale

By Ingrid Skjong | Arts + Culture

Pittsburgh’s Version of the Venice Biennale
Courtesy of the Pedro Reyes, Lisson Gallery, London, and Alumnos47 Foundation

Art fans on the East Coast needn’t travel far to see some of the world’s top new art from around the globe. The 2013 Carnegie International (October 5 to March 16)—a multi-part exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh—opens this weekend (October 4–6).

The survey encompasses four distinct components: A showing of new art produced by 35 artists from 19 countries; the Carnegie’s own collection; a smaller exhibit called “The Playground Project,” which delves into postwar playground design; and relationship-building with Pittsburgh itself.

Pulling together the 56th installment of the International, which began in 1896 (one year after the Venice Biennale’s debut), was no small feat. “This is by far the longest I’ve ever worked on any project: Three years of intense collaboration, conversation, epiphanies, mistakes, U-turns, and planning,” says Dan Byers, who curated the event with Tina Kukielski and Daniel Baumann. “The most difficult thing is to keep every decision and action infused with the excitement that we all have for the show and its artists.”

While traditionally the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art is de-installed for the International, this year it will live side-by-side with the exhibition. Look for piece like Stephanie Beroes’s Debt Begins at Twenty, a semi-fictionalized look at the post-punk music scene in Pittsburgh in the early 1980s; nature scenes by Charles Burchfield; and sculptures from the ’60s and ’70s by Paul Thek.

Presented roughly every three years, the International is one not to miss. “Through art we wanted to bring out the passion, humor, conflict and beauty of the everyday,” explains Kukielski, “both in Pittsburgh and beyond. 400 Forbes Ave.; 412-622-3131; cmoa.org.

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