Springboard Design

Pittsburgh Revealed

This interactive photography exhibition was designed to offer visitors novel ways of encountering and enjoying the photography of Pittsburgh. Springboard Principal Paul Rosenblatt was responsible for the design of Pittsburgh Revealed: Photographs Since 1850 when he was on the staff of Damianos Anthony Architects. His exhibition design was composed of the real materials of historic Pittsburgh: casework was supported by steel plates and beams, left in their original, raw, mill-finish state.

The exhibition curator, Louise Lippincott, begins her introduction with a series of questions: “Of course you have seen the view of Pittsburgh from Mount Washington. But do you know what that view looked like in 1874? Or how it appears in infra-red light? The majestic panorama of 1908 presented here contains sights that disappeared before most of us were born, and familiar landmarks that still anchor our perceptions of place, if no longer of time. Photographs show us how our city has changed, and they show us what has not. The Museum of Art’s fall exhibition is entitled “Pittsburgh Revealed” because it unveils a city we have never seen and presents its most familiar sights afresh. Through photographs we can watch the mills go up, illuminate the landscape, and then collapse, just as—by turning the pages of an album—we can observe a child grow, age, and give way to succeeding generations. Today’s photographers continue this process of reinvention as they tinker with tradition and master new technologies; their stories become a metaphor for the life experiences of every citizen of Pittsburgh. Like us, they are drawing on the city’s strengths to make something new.

Pittsburgh Revealed is the first exhibition to consider photography in this city from the medium’s beginnings to the present. Hundreds of photographs in this all-encompassing survey have never been seen before, although almost half are in the collection of the Carnegie Museum of Art. Others have come from artists, attics, flea markets, private collectors, dealers, libraries and other museums. All were taken in Pittsburgh and its environs and record some aspect of its life or appearance.”

In this, Mr. Rosenblatt’s first major exhibition design, he established the themes of his approach to exhibitions: visitor interaction, unconventional materials, dramatic settings, and a focus on an individual’s art encounters.

photography courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art