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CoBrA Collection On View at the CMOA

Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

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On July 20th, the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) in Pittsburgh, PA, reinstalled its modern and contemporary galleries with the exhibition: "Crossroads: Carnegie Museum of Art’s Collection, 1945 to Now". The exhibition includes works by CoBrA (shorthand for Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) taken from CMOA's extensive, rarely exhibited CoBrA collection. These works of art by Amsterdam-based artists in the late 1940s are definitely worth a visit!

Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art, photo Bryan Conley

Crossroads: Carnegie Museum of Art’s Collection, 1945 to Now

"Crossroads" mines the collection of CMOA for stories that resonate today by highlighting the critical role of the artist in everyday life. This complete reinstallation of CMOA's postwar and contemporary art galleries places the work of artists at the intersection of history and society. It also brings dozens of rarely and never-before-shown works out of storage. Curator Eric Crosby finds pockets of depth, diversity, and eccentricities, organizing the galleries in a series of chapters.

Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art, photo Bryan Conley

Artists offer powerful responses to the forces shaping our world; eight chapters champion their voices:

  1. A New Horizon—A shifting global order following World War II and new artistic freedoms prompted artists of the 1950s to respond with innovative forms of abstraction in painting and sculpture.
  2. Call of the Wild—In the late 1940s, a loose-knit band of Northern European painters and poets called CoBrA (shorthand for Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) experimented with art that was mischievous, playful, and irreverent. The gallery reintroduces CMOA’s extensive, rarely exhibited CoBrA collection.
  3. More Than Minimal—Though Minimalist works of the 1960s and 1970s may seem cold and impersonal, behind each is a story of touch, perception, and lived experience, lending a human dimension to otherwise simplified forms.
  4. Night Poetry—Borrowing its title from a 1962 painting by the Pittsburgh-born artist Raymond Saunders, this dreamlike gallery summons rarely seen works from the darker recesses of the collection.
  5. Artists’ Cinema—Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the museum served as a hub for a vibrant local film community. This gallery features a rotating program of important and under-recognized works from the museum’s collection.
  6. Less Than Half the Picture—The turmoil of the 1980s prompted widespread debate about the value and role of art in society. A new generation of artists embraced politically charged ways of working in response to the most vital issues of the day.
  7. The Persistence of Painting—From the rise of the Internet to the ubiquity of digital cameras, today’s complex visual environment has pushed a centuries-old medium in unpredictable directions.
  8. Free Radicals—How do artists locate themselves in our complex world? How do they redress historical omissions? How do they embody forms of resistance and protest? And how do they challenge tradition and the status quo?

Courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art, photo Bryan Conley

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