Pittsburgh—The opening of Carnegie International, 57th Edition, 2018 is four months out, and 32 artists and artist collectives are busy composing and constructing their contributions in time for the October 13 opening. Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) is pleased to preview five works in progress that represent the expansiveness and particularity of the exhibition to come.
These five projects by Postcommodity, Zoe Leonard, Art Labor with Joan Jonas, Dayanita Singh, and Lenka Clayton and Jon Rubin reflect the travels curator Ingrid Schaffner undertook in the research phase of the exhibition and underscore this International’s grounding here in Pittsburgh. They showcase the diversity of artists and art forms that will be on view. They also offer a glimpse of the connections that bring disparate works together into a rigorously crafted whole—Schaffner is known for her detailed, deeply researched, and exuberant exhibitions. These selections from the upcoming International suggest some of the preoccupations and questions about the contemporary—both in art and in the world—that the artists will bring into the museum for us to experience together.
Postcommodity is an interdisciplinary, indigenous art collective based in the American Southwest. In ambitious works like Repellent Fence—a two-mile-long land art installation of weather balloons stretching across the U.S.-Mexico border—they use their indigenous lens to refocus the world, revealing culture and history in new ways. Their monumental work for the International will transform the museum’s grand Hall of Sculpture with materials of the city’s industrial past—glass, coal, and steel—and with performances by local musicians rooted in Pittsburgh’s history of jazz.
New York-based Zoe Leonard’s participation in the International comes as a major survey moves from the Whitney Museum of American Art to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Her work in photography and sculpture is often epic in scale, as in her vast installation of 4,000 vintage postcards that map Niagara Falls. Her contribution to the International is part of a new epic: to photograph the length of the Rio Grande as it forms a charged, serpentine border between the United States and Mexico.
Art Labor with Joan Jonas
The Ho Chi Minh City–based collective Art Labor will make a hammock café complete with coffee service. This extension of Art Labor’s ongoing project, Jarai Dew, will bring together research into Vietnam’s coffee industry, painting, sculpture, and sound to create a vibrant and relaxing social experience. The installation will be crowned by kites painted by Joan Jonas, whose pioneering video, performance, and installation art is currently the subject of a major survey at Tate Modern in London. Art Labor connected with Joan Jonas when one of its members won the prestigious Rolex Mentorship Award.
Dayanita Singh’s Museum Bhavan—a museum in the form of a book—recently won two important prizes, from the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation and the International Center for Photography. A New Delhi-based artist with a background in photojournalism, Singh has created new ways to bring her photographs of archives, family, and poetic spaces into the world. For the International, she is contributing a portable exhibition in the form of modular teak structures that collect and display photographs of mysterious bundles.
Lenka Clayton and Jon Rubin
Prominent Pittsburgh-based artists Lenka Clayton and Jon Rubin will transform the Carnegie’s Forum Gallery into a busy studio with pairs of painters at work. For the duration of the exhibition, the painters will create text-based paintings of the titles of rejected works submitted to the International between 1896–1931. Visitors will be able to take home these paintings, like The Pink Bungalow, and The Song of the Talking Wire, picked from an accumulating installation that will produce hundreds of paintings.
Clayton and Rubin are known for their social practice works, like Rubin’s long-running Conflict Kitchen (with Dawn Weleski), a take-out restaurant serving food from countries with which the U.S. is in conflict, and Clayton’s open, ongoing Residency in Motherhood, which reframes being a mother as a valuable site for creativity. Their contribution to the International is their next big project after the six-month run of …circle through New York at the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan.