Modernism in Pittsburgh

  • PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania
  • /
  • September 06, 2015

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Reuben Haley, designer; Consolidated Lamp & Glass co., manufacturer; Ruba Rombic pitcher and glasses, 1928-1932; glass; Carnegie Museum of Art, Second Century Acquisition Fund

Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) announces a group of exhibitions, running concurrently fall and winter, 2015–2016, celebrating modernism in Pittsburgh. Through extensive archival research, these exhibitions show a mid-century industrial city brimming with innovative architecture and design. They remind us that Pittsburgh has always been a hub of technology and creative industries, with developments here entering national conversations.

Hot Metal Modern: Design in Pittsburgh and Beyond (Charity Randall Gallery, opens September 26) is an excellent point of departure. The installation reveals the significant contributions of Pittsburgh-based designers and manufacturers in the development of 20th-century modernism.

Concepts in Steel, 1961–63, consisted of dozens of renderings by Peter Muller-Munk Associates assembled as a brochure for US Steel to promote innovative ideas to architects and developers. PMMA archives; (C) United States Steel Corporation. Used with Permission

HACLab Pittsburgh: Imagining the Modern (Heinz Architectural Center, September 12, 2015–May 2, 2016) is a bracing revelation. Using archival photography, drawings, and ephemera, this experimental presentation contextualizes the arrival of modern architecture in Pittsburgh during the 1950s and 1960s, a period of rapid change through urban renewal. And, it demonstrates how other cities held up Pittsburgh as an example of progressive urbanism.

Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk (Heinz Galleries, November 21, 2015–March 14, 2016) introduces the creative mind behind Pittsburgh’s industry. In an era of manufacturing might, Muller-Munk’s design firm, Peter Muller-Munk Associates, designed products found in households across the country, and helped manufacturers push the boundaries of new materials for an international roster of clients.

Peter Muller-Munk Associates Silex Air-Lift steam iron, 1949 Carnegie Museum of Art, Gift of Jewel Stern; Photo: Dallas Museum of Art

Jane Haskell’s Modernism: A Pittsburgh Legacy (Gallery One, November 7, 2015–March 7, 2016) expresses a remarkable life living with, making, and giving great works of art. Explore the aesthetic sensibilities of Haskell, an artist, collector, advisor, and patron, through modernist artworks in CMOA’s collection that came from her own, or were purchased under her advisement, including Kandinsky, Malevich, Carrà, Picasso, and Stella.

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