October 5, 2013 – March 16, 2014

2013 CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL ACQUISITIONS: ZOE STRAUSS

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Zoe Strauss
American, b. 1970

15 photographs from the project Homesteading
Mayor Esper on Picket Line, 2013
Jitney Office, 2013
Diane’s Hand, 2013
Deer in Cemetery Where Strikers Are Buried, 2013
Homestead Homes at Sunset, 2013
Homestead Homes at Night, 2013
Erica at Work, 2013
Vendomatic Job Application, 2013
Facebook Status of Homestead Resident, July 12, 2013, 2013
Jet-skiing on the Monongahela, 2013
Ryan on the Homestead Grays Bridge, 2013
Homestead Appliances Bow, 2013
K-9 Call, 2013
West Homestead Homes, 2013
Blast Furnace Matriarchy, 2013

For the 2013 Carnegie International, Zoe Strauss lived and an operated a portrait studio in Homestead, PA, a borough just outside of Pittsburgh and former site of Andrew Carnegie’s steelworks.

The 215 portraits of neighborhood residents that she gifted to the museum at the close of the exhibition reflect the relationships that she formed during her time there. These street photographs, taken around the neighborhood outside the portrait studio, document some of the first encounters the artist had in Homestead—with characters ranging from the town mayor, Betty “Bo Bo” Esper, and a factory worker named Diane to a shirtless young man on the Homestead Grays Bridge—as well as the homes and businesses that were to become familiar sights over the course of her stay.

2013 CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL ACQUISITIONS: MLADEN STILINOVIĆ

image Mladen Stilinović
Croatian, b. 1947

Potatoes, Potatoes (Krumpira, Krumpira), 2001

Joining two other works by this 2013 Carnegie International artist already in the collection, Krumpira, Krumpira shows Stilinović crouching in a snow bank—a peddler in what appears to be a remote wilderness.

Repeatedly, he calls out the word krumpira (Croatian for “potato”), though no one is nearby to hear him. The goods stacked on his cardboard box-cum-sales table, however, are not potatoes but thick, square pieces of vanilla cake. Cake is a symbol Stilinović has often used—in his series Geometry of Cakes (1993), for example—to evoke the cynicism of power, referring to the famous phrase allegedly spoken by Marie Antoinette: “If they have no bread, let them eat cake.”

With cutting irony and shades of self-deprecating humor, in this video the artist seems to suggest both the cruel absurdity of that sentiment and an attempt to transfigure a symbol of decadence into something common. His meager entrepreneurial endeavor—whether we take him for the hawker he purports to be or the artist he actually is—is revealed as a sham, as selling frivolities under the guise of substance to a nonexistent audience.

2013 CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL ACQUISITIONS: TARYN SIMON

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Taryn Simon
American, b. 1975

CHAPTER XVII, A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I–XVIII, 2011

Taryn Simon uses photography, text, and graphic design to investigate what we can know and cannot know about an image. A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters explores the process of mapping contemporary human relations through chance, blood, and other components of fate. The work was produced over a four-year period (2008–2011), as is typical of Simon’s approach.

Chapter XVII is one of the most written-about and provocative components of the series. Its subject is a group of Ukrainian orphans, united by their lack of discernible bloodline. Well-dressed in jackets, ties, and button-down shirts, these children, ages 6–16, appear in portraits arranged in ordered grid. Simon’s text tells us that the children are allowed to stay at the orphanage until age 16, when they are released and become susceptible to targeting “for human trafficking, prostitution, and child pornography.”

2013 CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL ACQUISITIONS: KAMRAN SHIRDEL

imageimageimageKamran Shirdel
Iranian, b. 1939

Mirrors (Gli specchi), 1964
Women’s Prison (Nedamatgah), 1965
The Silver Canvas, 1965
The Women’s Quarter (Qaleh), 1966–1980
Tehran Is the Capital of Iran (Tehran Paitakhte Iran Ast), 1966–1979
The Night It Rained (An shab ke barun amad), 1967–1974
Pearls of the Persian Gulf: Dubai, 1975
Gas, Fire, Wind (Gas, atash, baad), 1984–1986
Genaveh Project, 1986–1988
Wagon Pars, 1987
Cradle of Sun (Gahvareh Khorshid), 2001
Solitude Opus, 2001–2002

Since the mid-1960s, filmmaker Kamran Shirdel has made bold documentary films that address issues of everyday life, especially in his native Iran. Banned and censored for many years, Shirdel’s extraordinary work has not been widely seen until recently, and achieved a new level of visibility with his inclusion in the 2013 Carnegie International. This group of films represents nearly the entirety of Shirdel’s life’s work, from his surrealistic student work Mirrors through the peak of his subversive documentary period, his subsequent industrial commissions, and his late portrait film, Solitude Opus.

2013 CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL ACQUISITIONS: PIERRE LEGUILLON

image imagePierre Leguillon
French, b. 1969

Arbus Bonus, 2014

Pierre Leguillon’s artwork-as-exhibition Arbus Bonus encompasses 256 photographs by famed photographer Diane Arbus, bringing together hundreds of published magazine spreads that feature her editorial photography (rather than prints of street photography and the portraiture for which she is best known).

Leguillon’s consideration of this major yet overlooked aspect of her oeuvre exposes a fascinating web of allusions and coincidences between image, history, and text. His project makes apparent how significant Arbus has been in defining the images of our popular culture.

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