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The 2004-05 Carnegie International is the 54th installment of a series launched by the Carnegie Museum of Art, which industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie had founded in 1895 in order to introduce the people of Pittsburgh to contemporary American and European artists. Since 1896 the Museum's acquisition program has centered on an annual exhibition of contemporary art from which "the Old Masters of tomorrow" could be purchased for the Museum's permanent collection, and which is now known as the Carnegie International. Today the Museum is esteemed worldwide for its collection of American and European works from the sixteenth century to the present.

The 2004-5 Carnegie International, organized by Laura Hoptman, curator of contemporary art at Carnegie Museum of Art, presents more than 400 works by a diverse and exciting array of 38 established and emerging artists from all over the world, and all at the forefront of contemporary art. Paintings, sculpture, video, film, photography, ceramics, animation, performance art, and even comics will be featured in the exhibition. While it is organized into an overall narrative that unfolds through groupings of artists with shared affinities, the exhibition will also incorporate several smaller monographic displays of new and lesser-known work by important older artists such as film animator Robert Breer and the comic-book artist Robert Crumb. The Carnegie Prize, awarded for the best work in the exhibition, will be announced on October 8, 2004.

"All of the artists as well as the works selected for this year's show have been chosen because they contributed greatly to the contemporary art discourse over the past four years. The works convey a particular attitude that goes beyond formal or thematic expression," says curator Laura Hoptman. "In distinct ways, the artists consider and use art as a meaningful vehicle through which to confront what philosophers have called 'the Ultimates' - that is, the largest, most unanswerable questions ranging from the nature of life and death, to the existence of God, to the anatomy of belief. This may not seem unusual in light of the entire history of art, but it represents a subtle and important break from much of the work produced for, and viewed in, large international exhibitions of the 1990s."

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