Organized by Astria Suparak
For Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
2008 – 2014
SIGNS OF CHANGE: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now
Guest curated by Dara Greenwald + Josh MacPhee
Re-designed by Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University
Jan. 23 – March 8, 2009
In Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now, hundreds of posters, photographs, moving images, audio clips, and ephemera bring to life over forty years of activism, political protest, and campaigns for social justice.
This important and timely exhibition surveys the creative work of dozens of international social movements. Signs of Change presents the creative outpourings of social movements, such as those for civil rights and black power in the United States; democracy in China; anti-apartheid in Africa; squatting in Europe; environmental activism and women’s rights internationally; and the global AIDS crisis, as well as uprisings and protests, such as those for indigenous control of lands; against airport construction in Japan; and for radical social transformation in France.
The exhibition also explores the development of powerful counter-cultures that evolve beyond traditional politics and create distinct aesthetics, life-styles, and social organizations. Although histories of political groups and counter-cultures have been written, and political and activist shows have been held, this exhibition is a groundbreaking attempt to chronicle the artistic and cultural production of these movements. Signs of Change offers a chance to see relatively unknown or rarely seen works, and is intended to not only provide a historical framework for contemporary activism, but also to serve as an inspiration for the present and the future.
Brooklyn Street Art: “These images exist to help people change the world: Interview with Josh MacPhee,” Jan. 22, 2009
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Exhibit highlights political posters’ role in social upheaval,” Jan. 28, 2009
The Pitt News: “CMU gallery reveals Signs of Change,” 2009
29 CHAINS TO THE MOON: Artists’ Schemes for a Fantastic Future
Guest curated by Andrea Grover
Organized and produced by Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University
Aug. 28 – Dec. 6, 2009
Open_Sailing, Stephanie Smith, Mitchell Joachim/Terreform ONE
In the Reading Room:
The Buckminster Fuller Institute, Lowry Burgess, International Space University, The Seasteading Institute
In 1938, the visionary designer R. Buckminster Fuller wrote Nine Chains to the Moon, his radical proposal for improving the quality of life for all humankind via progressive design and maximization of the world’s finite resources. The title was a metaphor for cooperation – if all of humankind stood on each other’s shoulders we could complete nine chains to the moon. Today, the population of the planet has increased more than three times to 6.7 billion (we could now complete 29 chains to the moon), and the successful distribution of energy, food, and shelter to over 9 billion humans by 2050 requires some fantastic schemes. Like Fuller’s revelation from five decades earlier, 29 Chains to the Moon features artists who put forth radical proposals, from seasteads and tree habitats to gift-based cultures, to make the world work for everyone.
The artists in 29 Chains to the Moon seize technologies that provide unprecedented platforms for collaboration, and new ways of visualizing and representing reality. Theirs is a moment of fluid exchanges between artistic and scientific disciplines, and cooperation among private and public institutions, toward the realization of a possible future.
More details at: http://millergallery.cfa.cmu.edu/exhibitions/29chainstothemoon
Video from the Open Sailing workshop:
Walking with eyes closed: http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldworldworld/3935351724/
Linear network: http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldworldworld/3935415782/
Art in America:
The mix of novel ideas in this show suggested that people working in diverse disciplines might collectively yield solutions to some looming predicaments. The Miller Gallery’s location on Carnegie Mellon’s campus was an appropriate setting for an exhibition of works by individuals or collaboratives with varied backgrounds…
That some of these projects might be realized suggests that open exchange between artists and scientists, along with institutional support, may provide the creative solutions necessary to assure a livable future.
– Melissa Kuntz, “29 Chains to the Moon: Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University,” Feb. 2010
Grover posits that current problems can be viewed as opportunities, rather than crises that we are helpless to change. Artists may have the visionary thinking necessary to not just fix existing systems, but reinvent them for the planet. It’s a huge and hopeful notion… Perhaps some of these now fantastic-looking visions will push the idea of what is possible into a future where they appear commonplace. In Grover’s words: ‘I truly believe, like Fuller, that the first step to progress is letting go of assumptions and preconceptions about the world, and becoming open to discovery, in the same manner that a child might investigate something it encounters for the first time.
– Mary Tremonte, “Utopia Redux: 29 Chains to the Moon,” Nov. 16, 2009
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Miller Gallery’s ‘Moon’ exhibit opens minds,” Kurt Shaw, Oct. 7, 2009
The Pitt News: “29 Chains to the Moon” shows CMU visitors an interesting future,” Samantha Stahl, Oct. 5, 2009
Pittsburgh City Paper: “Live Smarter, Not Harder,” Curt Riegelnegg, Oct. 1, 2009
Videos from Open_Sailing workshop:
Social Architecture: “Social Geometry, Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University,” Sept. 9, 2009
Guest curated by Nato Thompson, organized by iCI (Independent Curators International)
Oct. 9, 2009 – Jan. 31, 2010
Francis Alÿs, AREA Chicago, The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), e-Xplo, Ilana Halperin, kanarinka (Catherine D’lgnazio), Julia Meltzer and David Thorne, Lize Mogel, Multiplicity, Trevor Paglen, Raqs Media Collective, Ellen Rothenberg, Spurse, Deborah Stratman, Daniel Tucker, Alex Villar, Yin Xiuzhen
Experimental Geography is an exhibition that explores the distinctions between geographical study and artistic experience of the earth, as well as the juncture where the two realms collide (and possibly make a new field altogether). The exhibition presents a panoptic view of this new practice through a wide range of mediums including interactive computer units, sound and video installations, photography, sculpture, and experimental cartography created by 19 artists or artist teams from six countries as well as the United States.
Geography benefits from the study of specific histories, sites, and memories. Every estuary, landfill, and cul-de-sac has a story to tell. The task of the geographer is to alert us to what is directly in front of us, while the task of the experimental geographer—an amalgam of scientist, artist, and explorer—is to do so in a manner that deploys aesthetics, ambiguity, poetry, and a dash of empiricism.
More details at: http://millergallery.cfa.cmu.edu/exhibitions/experimentalgeography
Mary Thomas, “Beyond the best: 2010’s top 10 list not big enough to hold art critic’s favorites,” Jan. 05, 2011
Mary Thomas, “Exhibition at Carnegie Mellon gives geography a new meaning,” Jan. 27, 2010
Pittsburgh City Paper:
Carnegie Mellon’s Miller Gallery continued its recent trends with Experimental Geography, drawing again from the well of intersecting cultural studies and social practices. This time, guest curator Nato Thompson assembled a show featuring exemplary feats of data-visualization, conceptual land-art and urban anthropology, to name a few, and impressively managed to glean a strong collective resonance out of the multidisciplinary hodgepodge.
– Curt Riegelnegg, “Highlights of 2009: 5 Shows That Helped Pittsburgh Survive Its Carnegie International Hangover,” Dec. 31, 2009
The most exciting aspects of Experimental Geography inspire visitors to seek new ways of looking at their own surroundings, and to re-examine their place in the world. We live in a time when borders can disintegrate and reintegrate in changes both slight and tremendous, and in which mapping becomes less a means to an end than a launch-pad for new ideas. Through Experimental Geography, we can see some of the world’s most important contemporary artists taking just such liberties.
– Justin Hopper, “An international array of artists smartly explores and re-imagines the modern sense of place,” Dec 3, 2009
Justin Hopper, “X Marks the Blank Spot,” Jan. 21, 2010
Bill O’Driscoll, “Contestational Cartographies,” Program Notes Blog, Feb. 3, 2010
Next Level magazine:
“The City of Pittsburgh is in the process of producing a twelve-layer comprehensive plan. In 2009, Morton Brown, the City’s Public Art Manager and I were thinking about how artists could be a part of the plan. We invited colleagues from the Department of City Planning and the Urban Redevelopment Authority to take a tour of the exhibition Experimental Geography curated by Nato Thompson in 2009 at the Miller Gallery. The abstract concepts we were talking about in the office about ‘artists engaging the community’ and ‘artists helping people see the city through different lenses’ became real as we toured the space. The Road Map, 2003 by the trans-national collective Multiplicity is what brought the potential of having an artist as one of the comprehensive plan teams from abstraction to reality. The artwork is a four-channel video that documents two journeys in Jerusalem. The first is by someone with an Israeli passport, the second by a Palestinian citizen. The video shows the disparities in the commute, revealing to the viewer how transportation is affected by geography, nationality, and politics.
My colleagues were inspired by how an artist was able to reveal these issues in a way that it encouraged discussion between the video’s viewers. What could an artist do on the Pittsburgh plan team to help inspire dialogue about the city’s present and future? How could an artist engage many different communities to promote equality in Pittsburgh?”
– Renee Piechocki, “Pittsburgh: My Mix Tape,” Edition 22, 2012
Pop City: Jennifer Baron, “Event of the Week: Contestational Cartographies Symposium,” Jan. 27, 2010
ART WORK: A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Economics
Designed by Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University
Feb. 1-28, 2010
Newspaper + Website Contributors:
Temporary Services, Julia Bryan-Wilson, Lize Mogel, Holland Cotter, Anonymous, Jen Abrams, Louise Ma, Carl Tashian, Rich Watts, Caroline Woolard, Nicolas Lampert, Robin Hewlett, Gregory Sholette, Harrell Fletcher, Scott Berzofsky and John Duda For The City From Below Organizers, InCUBATE, Linda Frye Burnham, Chris Kennedy, Tim Kerr, Nato Thompson, FEAST, Dan S. Wang, Nance Klehm, ILSSA Co-Operators, Cooley Windsor and Futurefarmers, Brian Holmes, Adam Trowbridge and Jessica Westbrook, Nick Tobier, Lolita Hernandez, Stacy Malasky, Nate Mullen, Aaron Timlin, W.A.G.E., Dylan A.T. Miner, Anthony Elms, Carolina Caycedo, Guerrilla Art Action Group, 16 Beaver Group, Damon Rich, W&N, Teaching Artist Union, Harold Jefferies, Marc Herbst and Christina Ulke for the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest Editorial Collective
The Miller Gallery hosts Art Work: A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Economics, produced by Temporary Services, an independent, Chicago-based group comprised of Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin and Marc Fischer. Art Work is an independently published newspaper and website that consists of writings and images from artists, activists, writers, critics, and others on the topic of working within depressed economies and how that impacts artistic process, compensation and artistic property. The newspaper will be distributed for free throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
Pop City: “Art Work: a national conversation takes root,” Feb. 24, 2010
Guest curated by Andrea Grover
Produced and organized by Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University
Jan. 21 – March 4, 2012. Tour through 2014.
BCL, Center for PostNatural History, Markus Kayser, Allison Kudla, Machine Project, Philip Ross
The most recent manifestation of artists working at the intersection of art, science and technology demonstrates a distinctly autodidactic, heuristic approach to understanding the physical and natural world. Intimate Science features artists who are engaged in non-disciplinary inquiry; they aren’t allied to the customs of any single field, and therefore have license to reach beyond conventions. This kind of practice hinges on up-close observation, experiential learning, and inventing new ways for the public to participate in the process. And through their engagement with “intimate science,” a more knowledgeable public might well be able to influence what research is supported and adopted by the larger culture, and the walls of science can become more transparent.
For four months in the fall of 2010, I worked at a cozy desk in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon as a research fellow hosted jointly by the Miller Gallery and the STUDIO. On a daily basis, students, faculty and visiting artists would stop by my front row seat at this frenetic concourse of technoscience dispatches.
While my initial line of inquiry was artists embedded in scientific or industrial environments in the 1960s, I began to uncover a new narrative — a tactile shift in discourse and practice between that moment and this one. While artists two generations ago were dependent on access to technicians, labs, computer time or manufacturers to realize works of scientific or technological complexity, those I was presently meeting had far greater agency to conduct this kind of work themselves. Even ambitious endeavors such as independent biological experiments, materials research and micromanufacturing can be conducted by today’s working artist — and not at a naive or removed distance.
Roger Malina, physicist, astronomer and executive editor of Leonardo, a leading journal for readers interested in the application of contemporary science and technology to the arts, describes this direction as “intimate science.” He writes:
“In an interesting new development in the art world, a generation of artists [is] now collecting data about their world using technological instruments but for cultural purposes. Shared tool-using leads to overlapping epistemologies and ontologies. These artists both make powerful art and help make science intimate, sensual, intuitive.”
And unlike the rare “Leonardo” polymath of the Renaissance, contemporary artists who operate across disciplines employ the expertise of the network: the network, not the individual, is encyclopedic. The Internet has provided unprecedented access to shared knowledge assets, materials, fabrication processes, microfunding, and audiences. This exhibit examines how networked communication and open source culture have contributed to this shift from artists aiding science to doing science, and the impact this imparts on the way scientific knowledge is acquired, utilized and disseminated.
Blog: A/S/T Book Sprint
Book: NEW ART/SCIENCE AFFINITIES
Fellowship: Warhol Fellow 2010
Carnegie Mellon University’s Miller Gallery has made a significant contribution to the relationship between art, science and technology with the exhibition Intimate Science and the related book New Art/Science Affinities.
– Leila Nadir, “Art and Science Get Intimate,” April 16, 2012
Freely mixing science and politics, BCL’s bio-hacked carnations are not only effective tests of a problematic legal system. They also question our ideas about the natural world, which we tend to assume – in the false modesty particular to our species – encompasses everything but us.
Pell’s museum is less confrontational than BCL’s flowers, but is equally valuable. In the long term, maybe more so: When eventually we recognize that we’re living in the anthropocene – an epoch in which human activity is the predominant natural force – the Center for PostNatural History will be ready to provide natural history museums with specimens of human-evolved organisms that might otherwise be lost.
– Jonathon Keats, “No Transgenic Spider-Goats At The Smithsonian? Welcome To The First Post-Natural History Museum,” March 19, 2014
Intimate Science tries to have it both ways, dipping its toe in the utopian stream of Internet theory and positing, first, that the free exchange of research, tools, and information constitutes a viable oppositional strategy to mechanisms of power and, second, that the resulting products can form a new, hybrid, information-based art that repositions our ineffable relationship to the natural world.
– Renny Pritikin, “Intimate Science,” May 2012
Pittsburgh City Paper:
[The exhibition] examines how the 21st century’s rampant autodidacts question, and shift, decades-old dichotomies between research and culture, fact and myth… Such a chasm is anathema to the artists in Intimate Science, artists whose work approaches scientific research with a sense of respectful playfulness. With open-source biology and genetics for the whole family, Intimate Science approaches the possibilities of combining artistic creativity with scientific disciplines, and questions technocracy without questioning the facts of science itself.
– Justin Hopper, “Art Lab: A new exhibition highlights the crossroads of contemporary art and science,” Feb. 29, 2012
Sage Magazine, Yale University:
None of the artist-researchers in Grover’s exhibit have advanced degrees in science, yet they have cultivated expertise in peculiar niches, in some cases inventing their own biotechnologies. …’Scientists are very interested in what they’re doing, and they have become valuable contributors’ to their chosen fields of inquiry.
– Jonathan Minard, “That was Then. This is Now,” Yale School of Forestry, March 2012
Mary Thomas, “Artists digging into science: Exhibit highlights the crossovers between disciplines,” Jan. 2012
The Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University explored the brave new intersections of art, science and technology in ‘Intimate Science’
– Mary Thomas, “2012 offered diversified palette of artistic achievement locally,” Jan. 2013
Scientific American blog: Kalliopi Monoyios, “The SciArt Buzz: ScienceArt on Exhibit,” Aug. 29, 2013
National Endowment for the Arts blog: “New Art/Science Affinities,” May 2012
SF Weekly Blog: Heidi De Vries, “Artists Put Their Creative Skills to Technological Use in Exhibit ‘Intimate Science’,” April 2012
Core77: Erika Rae, “Mycotecture: Making Mushrooms Much More Than a Dinner Ingredient,” Feb. 25, 2014
Jan. 21 – March 4, 2012
@ Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh , PA
April 20 – June 2, 2012
@ Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
Nov. 3, 2012 – March 21, 2013
@ Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT
May 31 – August 18, 2013
@ Williamson Gallery, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
Sept. 14, 2013- Dec. 7, 2013
@ Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA
Feb. 6 – April 15, 2014
@ Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (SJDC), Parsons The New School for Design, New York, NY
IMPERFECT HEALTH: The Medicalization of Architecture
Curated by Giovanna Borasi + Mirko Zardini
Organized by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal
Sept. 15, 2012 – Feb. 24, 2013
Health is a focus of contemporary political debate in this moment of historically high anxiety. Are architects, urban designers and landscape architects seeking a new moral and political agenda within these concerns?
The Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University is proud to present the U.S. premiere of Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture. This exhibition has particular resonance in Pittsburgh, a city that has recovered from the collapse of its steel industry through its new health care, education and technology industries, and at Carnegie Mellon, a research institution focused on innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and creating and implementing solutions for real problems. Despite decades of revitalization, Pittsburgh still ranks as one of the most polluted cities in the United States, with higher rates of cancer, asthma, and obesity than the national averages.*
Imperfect Health features a wide range of works, including photographs, sculpture, video, research and archival materials, design projects, and architectural models and drawings, that together examine the complex relationships between design and health. The exhibition includes works by an international group of architects, artists, designers, and institutions, including Bernd and Hilla Becher, Berkeley Institute of Design and Intel Labs, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Mel Chin, Todd Haynes, Henry Dreyfuss Associates, Steven Holl Architects, Gordon Matta-Clark, Niall McLaughlin, MIT AgeLab, Morphosis, MVRDV, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), Philippe Rahm, François Roche, SANAA, and Alison and Peter Smithson.
Accompanying the exhibition are a book extending the research (published by CCA with Lars Müller and available as an e-book and in print in the gallery), an online TV channel, and public programs including a lecture series, panel discussions, screenings and tours.
* According to the American Lung Association, 2008; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010; Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2011.
Exhibition of the Year Award: A smart survey of a subject that, unfortunately, we can all take personally.
– Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster, Dec. 2012
The two professions [architecture and design] share uncanny similarities, and their relationship is the basis for Imperfect Health, a fascinating exhibition curated by the Canadian Center for Architecture and on view at Carnegie Mellon University’s Miller Gallery this winter … The work on display at the Miller Gallery includes failures, scams, and downright fantastical hypotheses about how design can improve everything from asthma to obesity. It also includes plenty of successes.
– Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, “Architecture In The Exam Room: An Exhibition Exploring Design And Medicine,” Jan. 2013
Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture is a substantial, research-led exhibition interrogating emerging urban health concerns and the design strategies that engage them…Imperfect Health finds compelling alternatives to the worldview that reduces human conditions to clinical disorders.
– Beck Huff Hunter, “Imperfect Health,” March/April 2013 issue
PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER:
Industry brought prosperity, but it also brought pollution and health problems. These images capture perfectly the contradictions, consequences, and imperfections of human invention.
– Nadine Wasserman, “Building Health: An architecture exhibition aims to reveal the contradictions and complexities inherent in our health-obsessed society,” Jan. 16, 2013
AFTERIMAGE: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism
This array of scrupulously assembled materials is a professional resource of breadth and depth … Imperfect Health provides a resource rich with ideas and information and provokes deep thinking along constructive avenues.
– Robert Raczka, “Health Cares,” vol 40 no.4, Jan. 2013
DESIGN & TREND: Kristyan Morgan, “Imperfect Health: Exhibition Explores Relationship between Architectural Design and Medicine,” Jan. 2013
New Miller Gallery exhibit features thought-provoking pieces of social commentary
– Laura Scherb, “Imperfect Health provides societal health report,” September 17, 2012
A first-of-its-kind exhibition at Carnegie Mellon’s Miller Gallery is posing a thoughtful and timely question: can architecture and design really cure what ails us—or only offer imperfect solutions? In an era of indoor living, overuse of Purell and epidemic levels of obesity and diabetes, the question is one that’s both critical and charged.
– “Can architecture make you healthier?,” Sept. 2012
Tribune-Review: Kurt Shaw, “Exhibit looks at buildings, health, wellness,” September 22, 2012
Pittsburgh Magazine: “Best of Culture: September,” September 2012
2008 – 2014
GENERAL PRESS (selected)
“Insider’s Guide to Pittsburgh, Pa.,” The Wall Street Journal, June, 2013
“A First Look at the Curators Nominated for This Year’s ICI Independent Vision Curatorial Award,” ARTINFO, Sept. 10, 2012
“Independent Curators International Announced Nominees for 2012 Independent Vision Curatorial Award,” by Rozalia Jovanovic, New York Observer, Gallerist NY, Sept. 7, 2012
“Best Art Curators In Pittsburgh,” CBS Pittsburgh, Aug. 27, 2012
NEXT LEVEL Magazine:
“I love Pittsburgh the most when I can find (or make) threads that tie things together, connecting people, ideas, research, places, innovations. The Miller Gallery has been one place for me to find those threads… More recently, when Astria Suparak became teh Director of the Miller Gallery, the exhibitions began to focus on social practice. As an artist and a public art administrator, that kind of work is very appealing to me. I am interested in how artists engage with the world outside of museum and gallery systems.”
– Renee Piechocki, “Pittsburgh: My Mix Tape,” Edition 22, 2012
“Top A&E stories of 2011,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jan. 1, 2012
“Artful Bounty: Revealing and relevant exhibitions deliver strong messages in 2011,” Mary Thomas, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 28, 2011
“Best of 2011,” Pittsburgh City Paper, Dec. 2011
“Contemporary Curators Talk About the Field,” Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Exhibitions Initiative Blog, Oct. 2011
“Director of CMU gallery charts challenging course,” Mary Thomas, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 2009
“Interview with Astria Suparak,” Lauren Cornell, Rhizome, Sept. 2008
“The Miller Gallery’s internationally renowned new curator, Astria Suparak, debuts her first Pittsburgh show,” Bill O’Driscoll, Pittsburgh City Paper, Aug. 2008
For reviews of exhibitions organized by Astria Suparak, visit individual exhibition pages.