Enjoy our free outdoor art space any time you pass by or visit the museum!
The Sculpture Court provides open-air space for encountering large-scale sculptures, new commissions, architecture, and landscape. Read on to learn about the artworks you can encounter in the Sculpture Court, and check out our events calendar to find out about seasonal performances.
This steel sculpture by Kenneth Snelson is one of several works created in 1977 for Sculpturescape, located in Mellon Square Park in downtown Pittsburgh, a citywide arts project that paired internationally known artists with local industrial firms to create large-scale public sculpture throughout the city. Comprising polished steel tubes and aircraft cables, Forest Devil is a characteristic example of Snelson’s interest in using simple linear forms to create complex, dynamic structures.
The sculpture operates on a basic pull-push principle. The tubes act as rigid components pushing outward, while the cables draw the structure inward. This precise combination of opposing forces establishes an equilibrium that holds the form together, a physical state that Snelson called “tensegrity,” a contraction of the words, “tension” and “integrity.” The overlapping linear forms and polished reflective surfaces create the illusion of a turbulent, moving structure, perhaps suggesting a visual metaphor for the work’s title. Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corporation donated the aircraft cables, and the sculpture was fabricated locally by Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company and Colonial Machine Company. Snelson was among four artists commissioned for Sculpturescape, the others were Clement Meadmore, Jack Youngerman, and John Henry. Sculpturescape was a project of the Three Rivers Arts Festival, a subsidiary of the Women’s Committee of Carnegie Museum of Art.
The Encyclopaedia of Invisibility
Tavares Strachan, whose practice is located at the intersection of science, art, and the environment, creates ambitious works that investigate the nature of invisibility and the conditions that frame and legitimize certain histories while obscuring and erasing others. Strachan also aims to build and connect communities through his work by making networks of power more visible, prompting viewers to reconsider their social roles at the local and global levels. The Encyclopaedia of Invisibility was commissioned for the Carnegie International, 57th Edition, 2018, and originally included 54 neon signs.
The names on the neon signs were selected from the entries in a 2,400-page book, also titled The Encyclopaedia of Invisibility (2018). The eleven remaining names on the building’s façade include: Wilson, Klint, Selassie, Nancy, Moondog, Malcolm, Smalls, Rosalind, Wallace, Fernald, and Lepaute. This installation is a major achievement for the artist and was a highlight of the International. It would be the first work by Strachan to enter the collection. “I intend to use these neon names to light up the Pittsburgh sky, crossing barriers such as time, space, race, and gender.” After his first site visit, Tavares Strachan said that what impressed him most about the museum was the ribbon of names of great men etched into the stone of the old building. He proposed illuminating these worthies with another list. Written in script, buzzing in neon, are the surnames of people whose historical invisibility is now brought to light. Placed between existing names, the neon scripts are here not to erase but to electrify your relationship to the museum.