Carnegie people

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Maybe it happens with all triennials. They rolled out the red carpet (top image). And the red flowers, the red swag and the top hatted door men — all for us! No biggie, we had our red carpet stroll and felt no different than if we had been going in the service entrance. (Well, maybe a little different.)

The press preview seemed less mobbed than the 2004 Whitney Biennial press opening, and since the Carnegie Museums sprawl over what seems like miles of corridors, we hardly felt the crowd.

Speaking of sprawl, one of the Carnegie’s most imposing spaces is the Hall of Sculpture, which seems to be a great space to hang art that’s not sculpture. This show has, as we told you, Philip-Lorca diCorcia‘s large, jewel-like photos of pole dancers placed in perfect harmony with the Greek statuary.

San Francisco performance artist Trisha Donnelly‘s “Letter to Tacitus,” was performed in the Hall while we were there. The piece, in which a man strides one lap around the atrium space speaking a script from a single sheet of paper (image above) is incomprehensible — the man’s words are completely garbled and gobbled up by the atrium’s acoustics. But nevermind, the idea of fuzzy oratory now, in this election year, is message enough.

Speaking of messages, we ran into artist Maurizio Cattelan and gallerist Marian Goodman while we were all looking at — and trying to take pictures of — Cattelan’s fantasy sculpture of a dead Jack Kennedy. The piece is truly a highlight of the show, transcending creep show — just barely — and engaging on many levels.

The artist was in and out of the room while the gallerist snapped away, and we were told by the guard, who refused to turn the lights up so we could take a decent picture, that the artist had just turned them off — and wanted it that way. (Image right shows Cattelan and Goodman in caucus with other museum staff, perhaps getting directions out of the Founders’ Room corridor and back to the path of the show. )

I can’t tell you how many times we had to ask for directions. In spite of the pink and red tape path on the floor delineating the route(s) it’s still pretty confusing.

A German television crew was busy interviewing Curator Laura Hoptman in the Neo Rauch room. (image left) The footage was for the news program “Tagesthemen,” and Producer Daniela Hetz (pink sweater) corralled Libby and me and our Carnegie Museum buddy, Madelyn, to be the warm bodies in a few shots they needed to fill out the report. They wanted us to act natural and stand there talking about Rauch’s paintings. Typecast!

We extracted our payback by asking Hetz to translate the titles of Rauch’s paintings which she did with great charm and, we hope, great accuracy.

One of our favorite rooms — and mostly each artist got a room of his or her own to display a generous amount of work — was Isa Genzken‘s. The German artist’s eyelevel mini-environments, made from Partyland’s best toys, tumblers and plastic champagne glasses and Dollarland’s nicest vinyl handbags were loaded with visual play and happily we lingered looking. (image is me and Madelyn under Genzken’s pink parasol piece.)

That’s all for the moment. I’ll be back later with thoughts about sculpture which makes a strong showing.

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carnegie, features & interviews, reviews

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