Author Archives: Jonathan Gaugler, Media Relations Manager

CMOA Commissions a Sculpture of Pittsburgh Icon Rick Sebak


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WQED’s Rick Sebak stands in the Hall of Sculpture at Carnegie Museum of Art, the future location of his sculpture. Photo: Bryan Conley.

We always get excited to work with living artists, and so we were excited to see the announcement of a major commission by famed British artist Lucie Poole. She has chosen Pittsburgh icon Rick Sebak as the latest model in a series of works featuring contemporary American men, and the sculpture will be installed in the Hall of Sculpture at the heart of the museum. Poole will be the first artist to install a work in the Hall since Nicole Eisenman’s Carnegie-Prize winning works in the 2013 Carnegie International. One of these sculptures, Prince of Swords, was acquired by the museum, and remains on view.

Poole has chosen Sebak to be the latest subject of her series (hyper)MASCULINE, and will arrive at the museum next week to begin the work. The series meditates on classical ideals of male beauty, and focuses on what the artist calls “men whose masculine energy presents itself to them, almost uncontrollably,” and who are “enigmatic, yet bound by their own externalities.” Subjects are given almost impossibly perfect forms, taking cues from Greek and Roman sculpture. Previous selections include writer and television host Anthony Bourdain, and Massachusetts senator Scott Brown. Works in the series can be found in the collections of the Tate Modern and Detroit Institute of Arts. The series presents what Poole calls “body archetypes” that “invert the normative conditions of our temporal states through an eruption of antiquity into our contemporary world.”

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How to Transform Pittsburgh’s Gulf Tower Beacon into a Mood Ring


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Here at CMOA we’re gearing up for a new exhibition, Antoine Catala: Distant Feel, one of the more challenging yet rewarding shows to come through our Forum Gallery. Catala is interested in how images provoke feelings, notably empathy. But, he asks, how should we express empathy online, to strangers? Now that we’re able to see thousands of images per day through Internet-connected devices, what are the emotional ramifications?

It’s a potentially limitless line of inquiry. It’s also difficult to communicate. “So,” several of us thought, “what if we plan some sort of live demonstration for the whole city of Pittsburgh?”

The beacon atop Gulf Tower came to mind immediately. Six stories tall, and pyramid-shaped, the Art Deco-inspired structure has had one lighting scheme or another since it first opened in 1932. In 2012, a new set of LED bulbs enabled the lighting to change drastically, and its weather program feeds directly from KDKA through an Internet connection. We could do something similar, except around emotional responses to images. It seemed perfect. Hence the Gulf Tower Project was born.

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