At The Carnegie Museum of Art | Program Notes

At The Carnegie Museum of Art

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Sunday was a good day to catch up with some of the temporary exhibits. Digital to Daguerreotype: Photographs of People is one you should try to see. (It closes Jan. 31.). CP ran Robert Isenberg's consideration of the show back in August (www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A66865), but it's worth re-emphasizing that this historical survey consisting of dozens of images is also a fine tribute to generations of Pittsburgh shooters.

And I don't just mean the usual local suspects — though W. Eugene Smith and Teenie Harris are well-represented — or Pittsburgh folks who discovered fame elsewhere (of which you get a double dose with Duane Michael's canny portrait of Andy Warhol and his ma).

There are also plenty of living, breathing contemporary locals in the mix. Charlee Brodsky contributes a couple circa-1990 street shots of life in Homestead. John Fobes has a charming diptych of antique-styled portraits of prominent locals Duane Reider (himself a photographer) and Graham Shearing (art critic), each in similarly antique costumes. 

From Karen Kaighin, two dramatic shots from the Squirrel Hill slag heap, captured with a pinhole camera and printed with hand-painted emulsion on textured Stonehenge paper. Sue Abramson contributes an evocative Downtown streetscape; two of Dylan Vitone's distinctive panoramas depict, respectively, kids frolicking around a Bloomfield fire hydrant and primped and gowned teen-age girls at the Medallion Ball.

CP staffer Heather Mull is represented, too, with a shot of artist Kara Walker preparing some work for the Carnegie's own Biennial. And there's an image each by Melissa Farlow and Randy Olson, the globe-traveling couple whose spectacular photojournalism is currently showcased at the Silver Eye Center for Photography.

Still, for me the single most memorable image might be from the away team: Yasumasa Morimura's haunting self-portrait as Frida Kahlo.

 

I also checked ou the 99th Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annual, on its closing day. While CP didn't manage to review this latest iteration of this venerable show, I want to mention a few of the pieces.

Matt Sestak's small black-and-white photograph "After Hours," an unpeopled shot of a stairwell landing, somehow perfectly captured the spirit of its title. Dietrich Wegner's color photograph "Cumulous Brand, Sebastien in the Park" is a concise comment on the times: an infant boy, naked but plastered in corporate logos. Lynn Deppen's "Farm on a Cliff" is a striking acrylic.

But my favorite was probably a large-scale, untitled painting by Steve Emmett. It depicted a young boy, looking perplexed as he stands over a bearded young man sprawled on the ground before him. (Asleep? Passed out?) The earthy palette was complemented by childlike doodles around the painting's margins, intriguing with suggestions of inner turmoil.

Emmett died in 2008. His was one of several posthumous contributions in the show organized by the regional artists' group.

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