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Carnegie Museum of Art announce Hillman Photography Initiative

The Hillman Photography Initiative will serve as a living laboratory for photography, exploring the intersections among artistic practices and technological research. It will further these explorations by supporting the development of projects that break down barriers to participation and encourage both insiders and the general public—onsite and online—to see the museum and photography in a new light.

Supported by funding from the William T. Hillman Foundation, the Hillman Photography Initiative is a special project within the photography department of Carnegie Museum of Art. Favoring an approach that is experimental and open to new perspectives, the Initiative will be driven by the collaboration of five “agents,” consisting of Carnegie Museum of Art curator Tina Kukielski, who is also co-curator of the 2013 Carnegie International and four external agents:

Marvin Heiferman, independent curator and writer, author of Photography Changes Everything
Alex Klein, artist, and program curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia
Illah Nourbakhsh, professor of robotics and director of the CREATE Lab, Carnegie Mellon University
Arthur Ou, assistant professor of photography and director, BFA photography, Parsons The New School for Design

How it works
The Initiative will follow a 12-month cycle, beginning with an intense three-month planning period during which the agents will work together with program manager Divya Rao Heffley to identify a key theme that will inspire a wide range of activities such as exhibitions, programs, collaborations, publications, commissioned works of art, artist residencies, and online experiences. Nathan Martin of the innovation/design studio Deeplocal will facilitate the process. Following the planning phase, Kukielski and Heffley will work with other museum staff to implement the project over the following nine months. Rollout of activities is expected in early 2014, although some may begin more quickly. Additionally, the Initiative will co-sponsor and collaborate on related projects at the museum and with other institutions.

The planning process will be public-facing. Follow the Initiative blog for discussions and developments:

The group met for the first time on April 21–22, beginning the current development cycle. At the close of each cycle, two external agents will remain, while the other two positions will be filled with new contributors, allowing for both continuity and the infusion of new perspectives.

Support for the Hillman Photography Initiative was provided by the William T. Hillman Foundation, the William T. Hillman Fund for Photography, and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. 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.

Carnegie Museum of Art
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, was founded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1895. It is nationally and internationally recognized for its distinguished collection of American and European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 19th century to the present, and for the Carnegie International, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious exhibitions of contemporary art. The museum is also home to the Heinz Architectural Center, which enhances understanding of the built environment through its exhibitions, collections, and public programs, and the Hillman Photography Initiative, which serves as a living laboratory for exploring the rapidly changing field of photography. For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, call 412 622 3131 or visit our website at