The Carnegie International is the oldest North American exhibition of contemporary art from around the globe. It was first organized at the behest of industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie on November 5, 1896 in Pittsburgh. Carnegie established the International to educate and inspire the public as well as to promote international cooperation and understanding. He intended the International to provide a periodic sample of contemporary art from which Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art could enrich its permanent collection.
The work of thousands of artists has been exhibited in the Carnegie International, including that of Winslow Homer, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Rodin, Willem de Kooning, Henry Moore, Jackson Pollock, René Magritte, Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti, Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Sigmar Polke, and William Kentridge.
Established in 1896 as the Annual Exhibition, the Carnegie International was held every fall with few exceptions until the second half of the twentieth century and focused almost solely on painting. By 1955, the show had adopted a triennial schedule and, in 1958, became known as the Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture, a title which remained until the 1970 edition. After an interruption due to soaring costs and the construction of the Institute’s new wing, the Sarah Scaife Gallery, the exhibition resumed in 1977 and 1979 as the International Series, single-artist shows intended as a parallel to the Nobel Prize for the arts. In 1982, it reappeared under its original triennial survey format as the Carnegie International, and has been mounted every three to five years since. After the Venice Biennale, the Carnegie International is the oldest international survey exhibition in the world.
1896—1921 (except 1902, when the exhibition was a historical overview of well-known works by international artists; 1906, when the show was suspended to accommodate the enlargement of the museum; and a five year hiatus between 1915 and 1919 due to World War I): the International was selected by Carnegie Museum of Art director John. W. Beatty, on his own in 1896, and after that, in consultation with a group of foreign advisory committees and a jury of award. The jury of award at this time was composed of artists. The exhibition selection system was two-tiered: some artists were invited to participate directly, shipping their work straight to Pittsburgh and bypassing the selection process, while some were invited to submit works to a selection committee, often at their own expense.
1922—1950 (with the exception of three domestic shows mounted by assistant director John O’Connor during the WWII years, while the director was in the military, American Painting, 1940; Directions in American Painting, 1941; and Painting in the United States, 1943-1949): The Institute’s second director, Homer Saint-Gaudens, instituted a new streamlined system whereby foreign representatives scouted promising works for his annual trips to Europe. Juries of award still included artists, but museum directors also served. Saint-Gaudens instituted the display of works by country during these years and introduced the Popular Prize, voted upon by the public, in 1924; he retired after the 1950 show.
1951—1962: Gordon Bailey Washburn maintained his predecessor’s use of foreign advisors, but dropped nationality as the organizing structure. He organized four Internationals, which were distinguished from larger competitors (the Venice Biennale and São Paulo Bienal) in press materials as the only international survey curated by a single person, “one man’s view of contemporary art” in a few hundred works. Concurrent with the 1958 International and in celebration of the Pittsburgh bicentennial, his assistant director, Leon Arkus, organized a retrospective exhibition including 95 paintings from previous editions. That year, Marcel Duchamp and Vincent Price sat on the jury of award.
1963—1969: The 1964 and 1967 Internationals were organized by the Museum’s fourth director, Gustave von Groschwitz in consultation with seven national correspondents based in Europe, who he referred to as “informal co-jurors.” Von Groschwitz returned to a nationality-based display structure and did away with numbered prizes, opting for six equal awards and several purchase prizes.
1970—1979: The 1970, 1977, and 1979 Internationals were organized by fifth director, Leon Arkus. Arkus eliminated prizes for the 1970 show, and switched to a single-artist, retrospective format for the 1977 (Pierre Alechinsky) and 1979 (split between Eduardo Chillida and Willem de Kooning) shows, awarding a $50,000 prize each of those years.
1980—2008: John R. Lane became director in 1980, but hired curator Gene Baro to organize the 1982 International. This format has remained in place through all of the successive editions, with a twist in 1985, when Lane co-curated the exhibition with John Caldwell. All the curators since 1980, with the exception of Baro, have relied on the advice and/or assistance of advisory committees which also served on award-granting juries. The committees were most directly involved in the 1985 and 1988 shows, when the advisors were considered part of the curatorial team. The International was organized by John Caldwell in 1988; Lynn Cooke and Mark Francis in 1991; Richard Armstrong in 1995; Madeleine Grynsztejn in 1999; Laura Hoptman in 2004; and Douglas Fogle in 2008. Advisory committees in recent years have been composed of other curators, critics, and artists; committee members also participate in the jury of award, alongside the museum director and select trustees.
2013-14 featured artists
The 2013-2014 Carnegie International opened on October 5, 2013 and ran until March 16, 2014. It featured works by Ei Arakawa/Henning Bohl, Phyllida Barlow, Yael Bartana, Sadie Benning, Bidoun Library, The Collection, Nicole Eisenman, Lara Favaretto, Vincent Fecteau, Rodney Graham, Guo Fengyi, Wade Guyton, Rokni Haerizadeh, He An, Amar Kanwar, Dinh Q. Lê, Mark Leckey, Pierre Leguillon, Sarah Lucas, Tobias Madison, Zanele Muholi, Paulina Olowska, The Playground Project, Pedro Reyes, Kamran Shirdel, Gabriel Sierra, Taryn Simon, Frances Stark, Joel Sternfeld, Mladen Stilinović, Zoe Strauss, Henry Taylor, Tezuka Architects, Transformazium, Erika Verzutti, and Joseph Yoakum.
2008 featured artists
Doug Aitken, Kai Althoff, Mark Bradford, Vija Celmins, Phil Collins, Bruce Conner, Cao Fei, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Ryan Gander, Daniel Guzmán, Thomas Hirschhorn, Richard Hughes, Mike Kelley, Friedrich Kunath, Maria Lassnig, Sharon Lockhart, Mark Manders, Barry McGee, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Matthew Monahan, Rivane Neuenschwander, Manfred Pernice, Susan Philipsz, Noguchi Rika, Wilhelm Sasnal, Thomas Schütte, Ranjani Shettar, David Shrigley, Paul Sietsema, Rudolf Stingel, Katja Strunz, Paul Thek, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rosemarie Trockel, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Andro Wekua, Richard Wright, Haegue Yang
2004-5 featured artists
Tomma Abts, Pawel Althamer, Francis Alÿs, Mamma Andersson, Chiho Aoshima, Kaoru Arima, Kutlug Ataman, John Bock, Lee Bontecou, Robert Breer, Fernando Bryce, Kathy Butterly, Maurizio Cattelan, Paul Chan, Anne Chu, Robert Crumb, Jeremy Deller, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Peter Doig, Trisha Donnelly, Harun Farocki, Saul Fletcher, Isa Genzken, Mark Grotjahn, Rachel Harrison, Carsten Höller, Katarzyna Kozyra, Jim Lambie, Mangelos, Julie Mehretu, Senga Nengudi, Oliver Payne and Nick Relph, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Neo Rauch, Ugo Rondinone, Eva Rothschild, Yang Fudong
1999/2000 featured artists
Franz Ackermann, Matthew Barney, Janet Cardiff, John Currin, Hanne Darboven, Thomas Demand, Mark Dion, Willie Doherty, Olafur Eliasson, Kendell Geers, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ann Hamilton, José Antonio Hernández-Diez, Pierre Huyghe, Alex Katz, William Kentridge, Bodys Isek Kingelez, Suchan Kinoshita, Martin Kippenberger, Kerry James Marshall, Takashi Murakami, Shirin Neshat, Ernesto Neto, Chris Ofili, Gabriel Orozco, Markéta Othová, Laura Owens, Edward Ruscha, Gregor Schneider, Ann-Sofi Sidén, Roman Signer, Sarah Sze, Sam Taylor-Wood, Nahum Tevet, Diana Thater, Luc Tuymans, Kara Walker, Jeff Wall, Jane and Louise Wilson, Chen Zhen
- Carnegie Prize List of first prize winners at the exhibition.
- Vicky A. Clark’s introduction to International Encounters: The Carnegie International and Contemporary Art 1896-1996
- 2013 Carnegie International Blog, the blog of the 2013 Carnegie International curatorial team
- Carnegie International website, site for Life on Mars, the 2008 Carnegie International
- interview with Douglas Fogle, curator of 2008 exhibit
- Interview series with the Artists at the 55th Carnegie International
- 1928 Exhibit news item