Past Exhibitions

Ordinary Madness

October 15, 2010 – January 9, 2011



Ordinary Madness mines Carnegie Museum of Art’s rich holdings of contemporary art to suggest an unsettling observation: that the ordinary is in fact laced with the contradictory, uncanny, and surreal. 

On view is a wide array of works that engage the everyday from various skewed (or perhaps clear-eyed) vantage points, illuminating the bewildering experiences we subconsciously accept as part of our daily life. The exhibition presents a series of comparisons across media and time period, revealing how artists engage these conditions of dissonance and fracture—so integral to art-making and yet threatening to a comfortable understanding of the world around us.

At the heart of the exhibition are the strengths, quirks, and unique history recorded in the museum’s collection of contemporary art. Ordinary Madness revisits major works acquired through past Internationals, and brings out others that have not been on view in many years, if ever.

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Featuring work by Vito Acconci, Pawel Althamer, Robert Arneson, Lynda Benglis, John Bock, Charles Burchfield, James Lee Byars, Paul Cadmus, Paul Chan, Larry Clark, Trisha Donnelly, Red Grooms, David Hockney, Isa Genzken, Robert Gober, Dan Graham, Philip Guston, Rachel Harrison, Karen Kilimnik, Mike Kelley, Barry Le Va, Henri Michaux, Mary Miss, Catherine Opie, Damian Ortega, Laura Owens, Ken Price, Doris Salcedo, Peter Saul, Lara Schnitger, Joe Tilson, Christopher Wool, and others. Two evenings of 16 mm film screenings, on October 22 and November 10, present work in the collection by Kenneth Anger, Bruce Conner, Carolee Schneemann, Ed Emshwiller, George Kuchar, Roger Jacoby, Hollis Frampton, and Stephanie Beroes. 

The exhibition is organized by Dan Byers, associate curator of contemporary art.

Exhibition Credits

Major support for this exhibition is provided by The Fellows of Carnegie Museum of Art, The Henry L. Hillman Fund, the Virginia Kaufman Fund, the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, and The Associates of Carnegie Museum of Art. General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Installation Views