Teenie Harris, a Pittsburgh story
Pittsburghers love our own. We love our backup-backup QB Charlie Batch and Jackie Evancho. We even love claiming Jeff Goldblum for the Steel City. No one has anything bad to say about Jeff Goldblum. We even secretly love that when Christina Aguilera was buzzing online for going on a date pants-less that she was rocking an Andy Warhol shirt. Double points on that one!
Anyway, I wanted to spread the word about an exciting, super-Pittsburghy exhibit that’s on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story is not just an American story — it’s a Pittsburgh one. Teenie Harris lived from 1908 to 1998 (amazing), and he photos ranging from the everyday to the extraordinary for the “Pittsburgh Courier” during the 1930s through the 1970s, according to Teenie’s biography on the Carnegie Museum’s website. (Note: The prominent black newspaper, the “Pittsburgh Courier,” is now the “New Pittsburgh Courier.”)
This is the sign outside of the Carnegie Museum of Art.
The Carnegie Museum of Art acquired nearly 80,000 of Teenie Harris’ negatives in 2001, and since then the museum has scanned and cataloged about 60,000 of those negatives. There are pictures of jazz musicians playing upright or double basses, weddings, funerals, and babies.
I also love this photo of a demonstration outside of the US Steel building because of the story it tells. Most of Teenie’s photos are not composed in a particularly artistic way. He actually took a lot of group portraits of people sitting in chairs and photos that have the society-page or standing-around-the-backyard-barbeque feel. But this is an exhibit I definitely want to check out. The exhibit opened last week and will run until April 7, 2012. I’ll try to get out to the exhibit sooner than later though.
On a side note, the museum has a job opening for a part-time special projects assistant job position dedicated to this exhibit. It would be a great job for someone knowledgeable about African-American history, Pittsburgh history and/or photography. Good luck if you’re applying!