Monday, October 18, 2010

Carnegie Museum of Art opens “Ordinary Madness”

For some it may seem like a trip down memory lane, for others it will be a gallery full of new discoveries but CMOA Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Dan Byers says for him it is look at the everyday and finding it laced with the surreal, the uncanny and the extraordinary. The show “Ordinary Madness” highlights those juxtapositions by using pieces in the museum’s archives. “Some of them have not been on display for years,” says Byers. However, he says visitors may recognize some of the works from past internationals and from the rotating contemporary art collection housed in the Scaif Galleries. Byers says the show grew out of an interest in finding ways to sustain the city’s energy and engagement with contemporary art outside of the internationals. To put together the show Byers says he was able to “dig deep into the holdings.” Some of that was done by looking at pictures saved on computers but at other times he had to go down into the bowels of the museum to look at the works first hand. Byers says he found enough material to do the show “two or three times over” and he may launch a similar show some time in the future. Like many museums, CMOA is looking for new ways to use its archives and Byers says this is a great way to depart from the chronological perspective taken in the Scaif gallery. This show looks at works from 1945 to the present and includes paintings, sculpture, photography and video.

The show, which runs through January 9, will include two evenings of film screenings. The first runs from 6pm to 7:30pm October 22 and brings together works that focus on the irrational, ambivalent, and chaotic aspects of everyday experience and pop-culture phenomena. The second runs November 10, 6–7:30 p.m. and will highlight the junction between art and life and investigate the divide between reality and its distortion in myth, desire, and individual perception.

To help visitors through the exhibition, the museum has produced a fully illustrated, free “pocket guide,” containing color reproductions of many of the artworks on view and essays by Byers and other museum employees.

Listen to an interview with Dan Byers here.

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