Curator Chat: The Carnegie International

Canadian Art
Oct 3, 2013 7:55PM

This week, the Carnegie International opens at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. The oldest showcase of international contemporary art in North America, the Carnegie is often a litmus test for new attitudes and directions in artmaking, and this year it includes work by Vancouver’s Rodney Graham, who is also performing at the museum on October 5.

This installment of the International, the first since 2008, is notable for a number of other things, too. There are three curators—Daniel BaumannDan Byers and Tina Kukielski—instead of one; the curators are engaging in a “reinstallation” of the museum’s permanent collection, which includes works from previous incarnations of the Carnegie; and there are offshoot initiatives, such as The Playground Project, in which “playground expert” Gabriela Burkhalter has created a playground-themed exhibition in the museum’s Heinz Architectural Center.

Here, in a phone interview conducted earlier this year, Baumann speaks to the pressures and responsibilities of co-organizing such a survey, and he explains how he and his colleagues attempted to transcend them.

David Balzer: Was there an underlying concept that informed how you and the other curators selected the artists?

Daniel Baumann: What we wanted to go for was unique voices, not really a theme. We wanted unique voices that stand out in the art world, but also well beyond it. We wanted to have this diversity which, to a certain degree, would produce dissonance.

So as a visitor, you’d come through all these different ideas and thoughts, and through different parts of the world. We found it difficult just to lump everybody together into one. I would have enormous difficulty pulling a global thing overtop individual voices.

Nevertheless, the interesting thing that happened is that themes did emerge... Read more 

Canadian Art