Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Byers Selected as First Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Carnegie

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Byers Selected as First Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Carnegie

Article excerpt

Carnegie Museum of Art took a major step Friday toward increasing its status as a global contender by establishing a permanently endowed curatorial position and naming Dan Byers as the first Richard Armstrong curator of modern and contemporary art.

The position honors Mr. Armstrong, the art museum's director from 1996 until 2008.

Mr. Byers is co-curator of the 2013 Carnegie International and was associate curator of contemporary art at the museum.

"I think it's a position that's really needed, to have a sustained person working with contemporary art at the museum," Mr. Byers said by telephone from Miami. He is traveling for the International and during the next month will visit Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipai, Shanghai and some European cities.

Major museums typically schedule their exhibition calendars years in advance, and not having a permanent curator has meant that the museum's contemporary program has been driven by the International, Mr. Byers said. "And that's great, and that will continue to an extent." But now the museum will be able to plan more ambitious contemporary exhibitions between the Internationals, explore new ways of using the collection and invite more artists to Pittsburgh, he said.

"I think it's a great opportunity and I'm excited for myself, but I'm also excited for the museum, to have someone dedicated to really thinking about those things."

Mr. Byers came to the Carnegie three years ago from the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He is a graduate of Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies and Skidmore College, both in New York state.

"I [previously] had been to Pittsburgh one time," Mr. Byers said, "to see the 2004 International. I had a wonderful three-day weekend, at the Carnegie International, The Warhol, the Mattress Factory. Little did I know I'd be moving there."

He arrived at a time of transition. The previous International curator who had hired him, Douglas Fogle, left before his arrival, and a search was ongoing for Mr. Armstrong's replacement.

"He had the good fortune to come in when there was no one above him," said Lynn Zelevansky, director of the Carnegie Museum of Art and Mr. …

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