Mesh metal walls and 'Alumi-Nuts'

In conjunction with "Aluminum by Design: Jewelry to Jets" (see above story) the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh has mounted two other exhibitions: "Aluminum in Contemporary Architecture" and "Alumi-Nuts: Collectors' Confessions."

The former surveys the use of aluminum in architecture from 1990 on, focusing on eight projects. The latter showcases household and decorative objects collected by eight Pennsylvania aluminum lovers, including two whose fathers were among the metal's most notable crafters.

Tracy Myers, the museum's associate curator of architecture, says she sought buildings that "illustrated the variety of uses [and] the versatility of the metal."

The display of architectural models and aluminum-framed photographs features unusual applications, including a building still under construction in Thailand that will employ aluminum mesh curtain walls suggesting the sensuous curves of silk.

Elizabeth Agro, assistant curator of decorative arts for the museum, wanted "Alumi-Nuts" to communicate the diversity of uses for aluminum and its collectors' passions. "I thought it might be wise, rather than focusing on any single maker, to focus on the collector," Ms. Agro says.

One display case contains a collection of hammered Kensington Ware. Another features a sampling of 200 Wear-Ever coffee pots. Collecting vintage aluminum ware is becoming more popular, as seen in rising prices at Internet auction sites. Agro says her show's main point is that anyone can be a collector - and almost anything is collectible.

"Aluminum in Contemporary Architecture" runs through Feb. 4. "Alumi-Nuts: Collectors Confessions" closes Feb. 11.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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