Sustaining Art

— Ranbir Gill

Art has always played a central role in my life. From canvases lined up in my room, journals filled with dramatic poetry entries, to late night theatre rehearsals. Attending a performing fine arts school from 6th grade until my senior year of High School instilled in me a great deal of respect for art. I knew quickly that I would not be the next Pablo Picasso or Frida Kahlo, being not the strongest visual artist. However, unlike most people, I was intrigued by art history as soon as I began taking art classes. Diverse artists such as Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dali inspired me to analyze people and society through a unique lens. They offer insight about different periods of time and their own lives, which adds a layer of context that history books do not offer.

I felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at the Carnegie Museum of Art because it was a unique environment to be around curators, educators, artists and people who, in general, approached their job with an added passion for art. I worked in fundraising, so it was always exciting to have insight into the feasibility of art exhibits. The Carnegie International, 57th Edition, 2018 was one of the projects I had the opportunity to work on during its beginning stages. So, it was immensely enriching to visit the museum to view this specific exhibit with our very own Diane Ramos as our tour guide.

The Carnegie International exhibit occurs only once every five years, and the entire museum is consumed with works from various International artists for approximately six months. This year, the museum is presenting works by 32 artists and artist collectives, and one independent exhibition maker. Showcasing major international contemporary artists, the exhibition aims to provide commentary on social, political, economic, and environmental issues through art. It was uplifting see my peers interact with the art and ask questions about the things they did not understand. Since art is subjective, it can be difficult to understand its value if one has not been surrounded by it. Some of my colleagues have businesses backgrounds, so it was especially exciting to witness them engaging with various mediums within the exhibition.

A show such as the Carnegie International provides a glimpse at the stories that many times go untold across the globe, and it is incredibly fortunate that this view into the world is located within our neighborhood. Many people assume Pittsburgh is solely a sports culture, but we have a rich art culture embedded throughout the city, with over 20 museums and galleries. In fact, one of the most iconic artists, Andy Warhol, is from the steel city. Furthermore, I believe sustaining art as a form of storytelling is highly important in shaping our communities. The impact a powerful piece can have in changing perceptions and mindsets is limitless, so I hope people continue to engage with art at whatever level amuses them. I think everyone has a little bit of themselves they can find within art, so I will continue to sustain it throughout my life.