Art Appreciation Critics Find More to like Than Fault in 2013 Carnegie International

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), March 5, 2014 | Go to article overview

Art Appreciation Critics Find More to like Than Fault in 2013 Carnegie International


Reviews of the 2013 Carnegie International have been for the most part favorable, as much for the independent approach the curators took when organizing the large exhibition as for the works in it. Of the 35 artists exhibited, those most frequently mentioned include Ei Arakawa and Henning Bohl, Phyllida Barlow, Nicole Eisenman, Wade Guyton, Zanele Muholi, The Playground Project, Pedro Reyes, Zoe Strauss and Transformazium. The exhibition ends March 16. Here are excerpts from eight publications.

-- Mary Thomas, Post-Gazette

The New York Times, Roberta Smith

"The 2013 Carnegie International is a welcome shock to the system of one of the art world's most entrenched rituals. This lean, seemingly modest, thought-out exhibition takes the big global survey of contemporary art off steroids ... . Inside, almost nothing on view dwarfs the body, addles the brain or short-circuits the senses ... .

"It may contribute to its deviation from convention that the curators have little experience with big surveys and don't belong to the international curatorial cartel that circles the planet ... .

"This Carnegie International exposes the supposedly great divide between object-oriented or, as some would have, market-driven art, and activist, socially involved art and suggests that they are not nearly as mutually exclusive as often supposed ... .

"Less expected is 'The Playground Project,' a show-within-the- show organized by the Swiss writer and urban planner Gabriela Burkhalter [wife of International co-curator Daniel Baumann]. Its dense history of postwar playground design -- possibly better as a book -- culminates in a wonderful assortment of art from the Carnegie's annual art camp for children."

ARTnews, Michael May

"The show's 56th edition emphasizes the idea of 'local' in fresh ways while fleshing out hot spots in contemporary art, including meditations on the ideas of play, the human figure and history ... .

"Sounds as well as sights are part of this International. Mexican artist Pedro Reyes' 'Disarm (Mechanized),' 2012-13, an ensemble of self-playing instruments created from parts of weapons such as firearms, is both disturbing and entertaining. Standing before it, a child laughed joyfully -- enchanted by the musical sculptures and blissfully unaware of their origins."

Canadian Art, Bryne McLaughlin

"On any given day, the Carnegie's Lozziwurm becomes a hive of activity as children climb, slide and disappear into the structure's bending tunnel .... No longer anchored to its static form, the Lozziwurm becomes a hub of social interaction, a dynamic template for endless perceptual exploration and narrative possibilities. A straightforward gesture, one might argue, but no less than radical in context: Here is a work open to all and with no overbearing pretensions or restrictions fronting one of the most august institutions and prestigious exhibitions of contemporary art in the world ... .

"Indeed, this notion of free play and accessibility grounded in the local community -- dovetailing with a sweeping desire to upend the institutional norms of large-scale international contemporary art exhibitions -- is the driving force behind the 2013 Carnegie International ... .

"It's a lot to take in, and for me it was only after a second careful run through the exhibition at the museum that the curatorial undercurrent truly begins to surface. This is a deeply humanist affair."

The New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl

"The strikingly thoughtful new edition of the venerable Carnegie International ... starts outdoors with two smart bangs ...'Tip,' an immense jungle of boards wrapped with scraps of wire mesh, slathered with cement and paint, and festooned with strips of brightly colored cloth by the British sculptor Phyllida Barlow ... . The second out- front provocation extends the character of the first to a witty, surprisingly substantial extreme. It is a piece of playground equipment: a huge, colorful, snaking tunnel with kid-size apertures . …

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