2004-5 Carnegie International
54th Carnegie International exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080
Exhibit closes March 20, 2005
Carnegie Museum of Art, perhaps the first true modern art museum in America, is featuring its "old masters of tomorrow" Carnegie International exhibition, with 400 works by 38 international artists.
The theme, announced by organizer Laura Hoptman, is "confronting the Ultimates [profound mysteries of God, life, humanity, etc.] through art."
The 108 year old series promises to showcase art from established, popular artists like Mangelos (one of my personal favorites), Lee Bontecou, Robert Breer, Harum Farocki, and Senga Nengudi...and U.S. museum debuts by such newcomers as Tomma Abts, Paul Chan, Jeremy Deller, Mark Grotjahn, and Eva Rothschild.
In addition, Peter Doig, Neo Rauch, and Julie Mehretu are providing brand new works for the show, along with a new series of jumbo color photos by Philip-Lorca diCorcia.
In past Carnegie International shows, artists presenting, or acting as jurors, have included such outstanding artists as Marcel du Champ, Matisse, William deKooning, James Thrall Soby, Pierre Alechinsky, Eduardo Chillida, Anselm Kiefer, Richard Serra, Rebecca Horn, and On Kawara.
I was quite pleased to discover that the Imponderables were hip again. I have a special affinity for art that delves into philosophical, psychological, and mystical issues. To my mind, hedonism, pornography, violence, materialism, politics, and egotism are unworthy of artistic endeavor, and generally tend to produce inferior, merely sensationalistic art.
At any rate, here is my personal, quick commentary on what I consider the most interesting artists of the 2004-5 Carnegie International. The web site for the show lists all the artists, providing bios that link to gallery sites or art journal articles. I think one of the things that most shocked me was the fact that most artists do not have their own web sites, and many do not have much, if any, art to view online.
NOTE: The artwork I comment on is not necessarily what is included in the Carnegie International exhibit, but is what I was able to view at various web sites containing art by these C.I. artists.
Chio Aoshima (bamfa.berkeley.edu) has a nice work entitled "A Contented Skull" that is colorful, cheerful, almost playful in an innocent children's fantasy manner.
John Bock (Klosterfelde Gallery). He has a photo of himself with some oatmeal-like mess on his face. Funny. Also, he incorporates videos of lectures on coping skills in his installations.
Peter Doig has photo-inspired art that is rather unusual. I especially enjoyed viewing his "Pond Life" (1993) and "Briey Concrete Cabin" (1994). Bonnefanten Museum.
Mark Grotjahn (Anton Kern Gallery) has an oil on linen that amused me, called "Angry Flower (cactus)" (2000) at 96 X 72 inches, this thing displays a comical hostility with a large brown nose.
Harun Farocki (www.farocki-film.de/regeg.htm) is a filmmaker who is seemingly anti-television, so this artist scores big in my little book.
Mangelos, who unfortunately is dead, is one of the very best artists in this exhibition, from what little I know of his works. He drew over art reproductions, painted books black, and was influenced by the Bio-Psycho theory that every seven years, a human being has all new brain cells, thus the "seven year itch" has scientific underpinnings I suppose.
Julie Mehretu. Cool art: crazy, colors, chaotic, crisp. (Walker Art).
Araya Rasdjarmreamsook (Rama IX Art Museum at www.rama9art.org). Now we see some surreal photographs that are lovely to behold: "The Dream of Mother."
Neo Rauch (David Zwirner Gallery at www.davidzwirner.com/artists.com) is another of my favorite contemporary artists. Probably need not say much about this popular person, except that he seems to be indeed an "old master of tomorrow" along with David Salle, whose "Pastoral with Yellow Star" (1999) may be seen at www.lehmannmaupin.com).
Well, until I give the other artists one more pass with my eyes, this is all I have to report. I wish I had more to say about more of the Carnegie International artists, but I don't at this time. Perhaps an update and a sympathetic overview will be forthcoming at a slightly later date.
Hopefully, this will whet your appetite to explore and investigate to a greater depth. Responses to this article are welcome. Did I miss something? To tell you the truth, the trend toward photography leaves me rather cold. And there are too many "installations" that don't do anything, nor do they excite my aesthetic sensors. Hope for the future.