Tavares Strachan: The Encyclopedia of Invisibility

57th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

October 13, 2018 – March 25, 2019


Production | Exhibition Grant

For the 57th Edition of the Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, curated by Ingrid Schaffner, artist Tavares Strachan is creating 60 monumental neon installations to be set on the facade of the museum’s classical building. Titled, The Encyclopedia of Invisibility, the neon works present the names of underrepresented and culturally marginalized historical figures that have been left out of official records and canons, chosen from the artist’s 2,400 page Encyclopedia of the Invisible.  These names placed alongside established names etched on the stone façade of the museum consist of renowned artists, musicians, writers, philosophers, and thinkers, where Artemisia Gentileschi will find a place between Rembrandt and Velázquez, while rapper Tupac Shakur fits alongside composers Mendelssohn and Schubert.  These new inclusions allow for viewers to reconsider how western traditions are formed, and investigates the nature of invisibility, calling into question the conditions that frame and legitimize certain cultural knowledge and histories while obscuring and erasing others.

During the 6-month installation period, a performance was led by the artist’s collaborator, Timothy Speed Levitch and a group of school children, who acted as the museum guides for the installation. Strachan’s work has been widely exhibited, most recently at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Desert X, Storm King Art Center, Prospect.3 New Orleans, the Biennale de Lyon, and the 55th International Venice Biennale at the inaugural Bahamian pavilion.

Image courtesy of Tavares Strachan. Photo credit: Brooke DiDonato.