Carnegie Mellon University's Regina Gouger Miller Gallery will relaunch this fall as the Miller Institute for Contemporary Art (Miller ICA). Under the new leadership of Director Elizabeth Chodos, the Miller ICA will harness the power of contemporary art to connect local and national audiences to new ideas and fresh ways of thinking about some of society's most pressing issues.
Since joining the university one year ago, Chodos recognized Carnegie Mellon's responsibility to the greater public.
"I believe deeply that art has the power to transform and that contemporary art offers society a vehicle to participate directly in social change," she said.
"The Miller ICA offers a place where the public encounters all of the fresh thinking and exciting research that defines CMU," Chodos continued. "Art is about communicating and connecting people to one another through the exchange of ideas. We can create opportunities for dialogue and interaction and build a bridge between campus and the public through conversation about contemporary art."
Founded in 2000, the Miller Gallery has gained recognition for exhibiting top regional artists and emerging talent from CMU's College of Fine Arts. The gallery has since evolved to present challenging, curated contemporary work by national and international artists.
The Miller ICA marks a new chapter for the free and open public space. Defined by robust programming like other institutes for contemporary art across the country, the Miller ICA's transformation will be highlighted by a fresh vision and mission, a new website and identity. The changes will allow for new ways to connect online and in person and a suite of dynamic programs that amplify the intersection of current events, CMU's groundbreaking research and contemporary art.
"Under the traditional gallery model, the space was almost exclusively focused on exhibitions, whereas the new model of an institute for contemporary art expands the possibilities for public encounters with art," Chodos said. "Although exhibitions remain the centerpiece of programming, this new model adds a variety of public events and publications - print and online - that increase dialogue about contemporary art and its relevance in today's society.
"The Miller ICA's ability as a mid-size entity is unique and bridges the gap between the large Pittsburgh museums and smaller grassroots arts organization," Chodos added. "It provides an access point for people to engage with CMU and a space where people can open a discourse around important societal issues."
Dan Martin, dean of the College of Fine Arts, said the new approach reflects CMU's flexibility and focus.
"Our new approach to programming and exhibitions is indicative of Carnegie Mellon's ability to provide a rich, reflective hybrid experience for our students, and to present new ideas and creative propositions to a general audience," Martin said. "Elizabeth is the perfect fit to lead us in this new direction. She has strong and successful arts-center leadership experience, a remarkable aesthetic and sharp curatorial skills."
Chodos said the Miller ICA will be a different kind of "idea machine."
"Our new programs will provide transformative experiences with contemporary art through conversation and exchange in our free and open public space. When you get people in conversation, that's where community starts — and we need that now more than ever," she said.
The Miller ICA opens to the public Aug. 18 with "Carrie Schneider: Reading Women," a solo exhibition of photography by CMU alumna Carrie Schneider, a 2001 graduate from CMU's Bachelor of Humanities and Arts program. This exhibition features nine photographs of sitters reading texts authored by women and is part of the artist's series called "Reading Women."
Additionally, Autumn House Press in Pittsburgh has announced they will be organizing a group of local women poets reading their work from 6 - 7 p.m. on Sept. 7. Later this fall, the Miller ICA will present "Paradox: The Body in the Age of AI," an exhibition curated by Chodos. This major exhibition takes a deeper look into the unconscious role of the human body in the advent of artificial intelligence.