I got in under the wire and visited Pittsburgh's impressive Carnegie Museum of Art just in time to view the outstanding permanent collection and 2013 Carnegie International exhibition during its final days.
The Carnegie International is the longest running contemporary art exhibition in North America.
Perhaps what I liked most about my visit to the Carnegie was that I got to share my time in the galleries with school children of all ages and lots of them.
Shown is a program from the Carnegie International exhibition.
As a former museum curator and director, it was obvious to me that the large groups of young museum goers were quite familiar and comfortable in the Carnegie.
The way they responded to the art and moved within the space demonstrated that these kids had visited the museum before and were open minded and vocal about the new art installed in one of the world's most important exhibitions.
The Carnegie made contemporary art accessible and that was a triumph.
Art critic for the New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl called the show "strikingly thoughtful" and I would agree with that brief yet accurate assessment. The size and scope of the famed international exhibition was striking and the art was most definitely thoughtful, if not thought provoking.
Artists from 19 countries offered works ranging from traditional oil paintings on canvas to large-scale site constructions.
Digital, computer generated, films, mixed and other media works were on display.
The 35 participating international artists commented on contemporary society through various works that sparked conversation and commentary.
The 2013 Carnegie International was installed alongside modern works of art that were bought for the Carnegie Museum of Art's permanent collection from past Carnegie Internationals such as works by Willem DeKooning, Elizabeth Murray and Jackson Pollock, among others.
The museum's world class collection of modern and contemporary art had recently been reinstalled to show off approximately 200 significant pieces.
This mammoth curatorial task comes on the heels of the new installation and arrangement of the museum's 19th and 20th century galleries.
If you visit the Carnegie, here are some of the artists whose names you should learn and whose works of art that are on display in the museum you should not miss: Claude Monet, Robert Henri, Charles Burchfield, Lynda Benglis, Karen Kilimnik, Franz Walther, Hollis Frampton, David Smith, Willem DeKooning, Marcel Duchamp, Stephanie Beroes, and Bruce Conner.
The Carnegie International exhibition was the brainchild of Andrew Carnegie who in 1896 established the international exhibition in order to build the young museum's collection.
Today, the Carnegie still acquires new works for its permanent collection from those accepted into the annual International exhibit.
For more than a century, the Carnegie has built an outstanding collection from hosting the best art that the world has to offer. Not a bad idea.
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