In addition to organizing the Carnegie International, the contemporary art department is responsible for the Forum project series, presenting the works of prominent emerging contemporary artists in the museum's Forum Gallery; large-scale solo and group exhibitions presented in the Heinz changing exhibition galleries; and revolving collection exhibitions viewed in the Scaife permanent collection Galleries and other public spaces in the museum. The department maintains an ambitious acquisitions program of works in all media, buying recent works (often by artists featured in the museum's exhibitions) and filling in historical gaps. The contemporary art department is also responsible for the museum's significant collection of film and video works, the result of the Carnegie's trailblazing Film Section, begun in 1970, that brought the era's most important experimental filmmakers to Pittsburgh to present their work and make new films, such as Kenneth Anger, Bruce Bailie, Stan Brakhage, Tony Conrad, Hollis Frampton, Malcolm LeGrice, Carolee Schneemann, and Michael Snow.
Recent contemporary art acquisitions of note have included works by Phyllida Barlow, Lynda Benglis, Matthew Buckingham, Moyra Davey, Vincent Fecteau, Karen Kilimnik, Ragnar Kjartansson, Joachim Koester, Lygia Pape, Zak Prekop, Gedi Sibony, Frances Stark, Paul Thek, Franz Erhard Walther, and Cathy Wilkes. A number of permanent, or semi-permanent, site-specific works by artists including Richard Serra, Lothar Baumgarten, Sol Lewitt, Mel Bochner, and Christopher Wool inhabit public spaces around the museum.