Ironically, it was a fellow Pittsburgher named Andy Warhol, who was part
of the new ideals in art. Pop Art made its debut in the 1964 Carnegie
International — at a time when national cynicism was making its way out
from behind closed doors and entering mainstream thinking. The troubled
Vietnam era, Cold war fears, and national debate over a broad range of
social issues, both in America and abroad, turned artists into activists,
and museum curators and directors into moral policemen — a difficult
and unwelcome responsibility that was increasingly necessary to appease
the general public as well as those that contributed to the arts.
trustees of Carnegie Institute could hardly be indifferent to the national
plight, yet their role was essentially conservative: they were stewards
of an historical system that celebrated artistic excellence that could trace
its origins to the type of Beaux-Arts education of the late 19th
century. By 1972, however, it was increasingly apparent that many artists
were reevaluating art from the ground up, creating a style that became known
as Postminimalism. This new art encompassed new ways of thinking about art
and objects that were beyond anything seen before. It included Conceptual
Art, Earth Art, Installation Art, body Art, Performance Art, and other forms
of art disengaged from the object.
The post minimalists rejected all of the 19th century aesthetic belief system: the hierarchy of merit, fidelity to nature, even the notion of value itself. Competition (and the awarding of prizes) was no longer an effective means of conducting the unbiased exploration of perceptual representation. Those responsible for the Carnegie international thus found themselves pinned between colliding value systems. It was becoming more and more difficult to maintain the exhibition's contemporary format, and even the large Trusts that funded the exhibit were questioning the merits of such a show.
From three directors during the Museum's first 60 years, the Carnegie experienced a quick succession of directors, each trying to adapt and reshape the exhibition to the turbulent times.