2013 Carnegie International

The Carnegie International is an exhibition held every four years in Pittsburgh. The International (est. 1896) is, after the Venice Biennale (est. 1895), the oldest international exhibition of contemporary art in the world. The 2013 Carnegie International, curated by Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers, and Tina Kukielski, did away with the notion of a “themed” show. Instead it brought together 34 artists working across a variety of media and with diverse approaches to their work, a sub-exhibition devoted to the history of playgrounds, a re-hanging of works collected by the museum through the International, and a lecture series connecting back to the arts community of Pittsburgh. Inspired by these seemingly disparate elements a series of shapes, language, and colors were developed to help bring form to the exhibition’s ideas. This is best illustrated when all three components (shape, language, and color) come together in the same space. Along with the graphic components a variety of materials and printing techniques were used, overall creating an identity that pays equal tribute to differences and similarities. With Jeff Ramsey.

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The catalogue for the International includes writings by the three curators, interviews with artists plus plates, an essay on the history of playground design, a history of the International with accompanying historical photographs, a listing of talks held leading up to the exhibition, and seven additional writings by selected authors. The book points to the, at times, disparate nature of it’s content by using nine different paper stocks, some of which help to disrupt the flow of the book, and various layout strategies that work to encapsulate the shows eclectic nature.

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Using basic materials like 2x4s and 4x4s, and painting them in bright colors, the signage for the International had to be both mobile and stationary, taking into consideration the various galleries and spaces including the historical sections of the museum, offsite venues, and anything from a hallway to a rare gems room. Existing signage was also customized with the exhibition’s typeface and color palette.

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Print and other materials for the International took advantage of different papers, finishes, and printing techniques. Continuing the graphic language and color palette each piece uniquely incorporated elements of the identity. 

Poster designed for Pierre Leguillon’s installation A Vivarium for George E. Ohr (2013).

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The Playground Project was an exhibition within the exhibition of the International. Using the same typeface as the main show, but simply outlining the font and changing the lowercase “a” from a two-story to a single-story—referencing the kind of typeface often found in children’s books. The installation incorporated plywood displays with simple black-and-white printouts, and photographs. Custom furniture pieces were also designed and fabricated in the spirit of ones found in kindergartens and preschools.

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Temporary signage during the installation of the exhibition.