The more time I spent this past weekend at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie International, the major survey of contemporary art that the Carnegie Museum of Art started in 1896 and now organizes every four or five years, the more I envied the people of the Steel City, who get to have it at their doorstep for the next five months. This year’s edition is generally superb: focused, considered and perfectly scaled.
The artist list skews more toward emerging names than in past editions. Of the 35 artists included, almost half were born in the 1970s or later, and none are veterans of recent Internationals. While the majority of these names (and even some of the works) will be familiar to devoted gallery-goers, only three or four of the artists are extremely high-profile, and among the 320 artworks are some genuine surprises.
Patrick Moore, who joined Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum in 2011 as director of development, has been promoted to deputy director. The promotion took effect on Friday, Sept. 1.
When he was 11, Roger Duffy had his first encounter with art. It was 1966 and he was thumbing through one of those big Time-Life picture books about America at his home in Oakmont, a town on the outskirts of Pittsburgh famous for its golf course of the same name. He came across a picture of a drawing by Diego Rivera hanging in the guest room at Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s wooded retreat 60 miles away. Mr. Duffy asked his father what it was, and Duffy père responded laconically, “It’s art.”
Even today, as one of the most canny combiners of art and architecture, Mr. Duffy, in his reserved way, said he saw no great significance in this awakening. He had come to realize the power of a piece of art, as well as that of its surroundings, even though he did not know it at the time. “I thought of art as magic, and I still do,” he said. “But the two of them together, in that moment, I never really thought of that, now that you mention it. I was just focused on the picture in the picture.”
It would take a few decades for his appreciation of art to develop, and years more for him to incorporate it into his work as a partner at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, but his focus never really wavered. “He may not have known it, but I think this sensitive genius was always there inside him, just waiting to come out,” said Robert Whitman, the renowned multimedia artist and friend and collaborator of Mr. Duffy.