Pittsburgh, PA…Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) presents Alison Knowles, the first museum exhibition to consider the full breadth of the artist’s work across media. The exhibition, which is the 77th installment of the museum’s Forum series, features a focused selection of key pieces from the 1960s to the present, including interactive sculptures; sound-making objects; large works on paper, silk, and canvas; and a selection of the artist’s own collected ephemera.
Visitors to CMOA’s Forum Gallery can share in the artist’s experience through touchable, interactive works such as Bean Garden (1971/2016), a tactile encounter that creates a soundtrack for the gallery, as the rustling of dry beans underfoot are amplified throughout the space using microphones. The Boat Book (2014–2015), a large sculptural work consisting of eight-foot-tall moveable pages organized on a central spine, offers an immersive reading experience—an ode to the artist’s older brother who worked on fishing vessels in the Atlantic. A cabinet filled with found objects from Knowles’s own studio—a kind of “retrospective in a box”—also joins the installation. Facilitators in the gallery bring visitors closer to the show through engaging demonstration and conversation.
“Alison Knowles is best known for her performative works of the 1960s, in which she and other artists of her generation associated with the avant-garde group Fluxus expanded the boundaries of art, music, and poetry,” says exhibition curator Eric Crosby, The Richard Armstrong Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at CMOA. “With this show, we are casting equal light on her innovative printed work, collages, sounded objects, and sculptures. I hope the installation will draw museum visitors into Alison’s inquisitive way of looking at the world.”
Since the 1960s, Knowles has performed her “event scores” around the world, inviting audiences to take part in their fruition. During the exhibition’s May 19 opening event, the artist invites participation in her iconic Celebration Red (1962), in which hundreds of Pittsburghers will contribute to a temporary installation of found red objects in the Hall of Sculpture. Visitors may encounter performances of additional scores in the gallery space and beyond.