Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Visit to Cincinnati, The Under-appreciated River Gem

We Just Got back from a 5 day trip to Cincinnati. Several posts on the way.

I know I promised several posts after my trip to Atlanta, and I still might get them up- over a year late. Cincinnati, obviously seems closer and more relevant to this blog.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Was Pittsburgh's Downtown "Ciclovia", Worthy of the Name?

Following over 100 cities worldwide, Pittsburgh had an "Open Streets", Ciclovia downtown. A few streets were closed to cars and made open to pedestrians, cyclists- even Yoga & Zumba classes. I didn't attend or actually know it happened until days later.

Of course almost any event of this type is positive. NYC now closes 7 miles of streets, including Park Avenue from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park on 3 summer Saturdays.

Bogota, the originator of the "Ciclovia" closes over 120 kilometers of  to cars once a week, in events that bring more than 2 million people onto the streets! (Medellin & Cali also have large events)

Mexico City closes over 60 kilometers of streets.

Los Angeles closes miles of streets including a big chunk of  Wilshire Boulevard, 3 times a year.

"Atlanta opens several miles of streets throughout the year for Atlanta Streets Alive. On April 20 the festival will close a 2.7-mile loop in the West End, and in May the city's Peachtree Street will be closed from Downtown to Midtown."

Paris's streets along "the Seine are not only banned to cars, they are also transformed into "plages" or beaches, which include sand, umbrellas, beach chairs, and actual temporary pools. The plages are installed for July and August."
Nothing against what Pittsburgh did but hopefully the future events will be more worthy of the name. An event next year may close 3-4 miles of Pittsburgh streets to cars.

A few links about Open Streets, Ciclovia movement.

The Rise of Open Streets

Ditch Your Car And Grab a Bike For These 9 Open Streets Festivals

Open Streets Coming To Pittsburgh

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Online Project Matches Pittsburgh Street & Landmark Names To Headstones

Somebody roamed through Allegheny Cemetery and matched Pittsburgh landmarks to the headstones- adding historical background.


Learn about the family and personal histories behind the names. Possibly the project will extend to other cemeteries- although Allegheny seems to be the central fountain of names.

P.S. Names not directly linked to old Pittsburghers are often named after Civil War Generals- Butler, Thomas, Meade, Grant etc

Check out the project here

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Abandoned Turnpike Stretch Near Johnstown Becomes a Bike Path

I assume, most people reading this blog know about the 335 mile long, "Great Allegheny Passage", which almost fully links Pittsburgh and Washington DC.

Much less known is an abandoned 13 mile section of the PA turnpike 

The Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike hasn’t seen car traffic since 1968 – but it’s experiencing new life as a pike-to-bike trail. The 13-mile stretch of road runs parallel to the modern turnpike, from Breezewood stretching east, and has a fascinating history as “America’s Only Abandoned Superhighway.”

Officially the road isn’t open, and ATVs, dirt bikes, and other motorized vehicles are prohibited. But unofficially, hundreds of cyclists have discovered it. The four-lane road is mostly level, so beginners and experts alike can use it at their own risk. Helmets and flashlights are strongly encouraged – the abandoned turnpike features two unlighted tunnels, Ray’s Hill Tunnel (2/3-mile) and Sidling Hill Tunnel (1.2 miles).

“While you ride there are no signs of modern civilization. Grass and weeds grow through the cracks of the pavement and trees grow in the median. What you see is very familiar and very wrong,” says Murray Schrotenboer, chairman of Pike 2 Bike, a group that promotes the trail. “You are on a four lane superhighway, but the pavement is broken and the forest crushes in on both sides, then you get to the tunnels. Dark for 46 years, they are a wonder. This is unlike any other ride you will ever do.”
Image from Pike2Bike website

Only two lanes wide in each direction and obsolete almost from its birth - it's been attracting bike riders and hikers for years. It also was used in the post apocalyptic move, "The Road".

Plans are now moving along to turn the stretch into a legal bike path and tourist attraction.

Red the full post here- which includes more links.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Unblurred in June

As always, Unblurred was an excellent night. And it's becoming such an active, community event. I love the addition of the Garfield Night Market. It's a great combination of artisan and street foods, and a perfect way to wind down after visiting the galleries.

Image Box
Eastern Standard: A Time Exhibition
14 local artists displaying clocks and other time-based mediums. Curated by Joe Mruk
Great show, with some really fun clocks! There are images in the gallery at the end of this post, but this one was totally my favorite. I could have taken pictures of all of them, really. Such a nice idea for an exhibit, too.

Maggie Negrete Elemental Flame
Maggie Negrete Elemental Flame

Pittsburgh Society of Artists presents SMALL WORKS Jason Sauer, Juror

With a plethora of works, it was really hard to stay focused. Nice show, HUGE variety of works, considering that all of them were small format. There were a few encaustic works in the exhibit, a process that I find fascinating. There were a few familiar names, but the gallery was so packed, I'm sure there were some nice works that I missed. I particularly like the work by Martha Hopkins Skarlinski (pictured below), an encaustic and mixed media piece.

PSA, founded in 1965, is one of several artist-centric guilds that operate in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region. Coming up in July, another guild takes over the walls at Most Wanted. Associated Artists will be mounting a group exhibit at the Waterfront location, opening this coming Saturday.

Martha Hopkins Skarlinski Prelude
Martha Hopkins Skarlinski Prelude
Stuff N Such Society
DS Kinsel Know News is Good News
From the show description:
A shrine dedicated to the dying newspaper industry built by D.S Kinsel. The audience is invited to enter the sanctum of information and immerse themselves in a fading mode of information exchange through consumption of print.
So, with that in mind; I don't really know what to say. I have been blogging about the local art scene for several years now. I've continued to blog, even if somewhat sporadically, because there is so little support from local publications for emerging visual arts venues. There is at least one paper in town that only reviews exhibits in the non profit galleries. This policy really undermines the vibrant local scene, imho.

As a blogger, I am a little on the fence on this issue. Professional writers do have a certain cache because they have a value that is accepted associated with their work. They have the time to dedicate to running down facts and editing their work. On the other hand, I don't have anybody looking over my shoulder. I think that there is value in both, but I think that the physical press is entirely to dependent on commerce to be as objective as they could be.

July's Unblurred is scheduled to take place over two days, and those lovely people at the Penn Ave Arts Initiative have released a schedule. I am planning to make it up to Penn Ave, how about you?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Incredible Old Master Print Show @ Carnegie Museum Mines Into Collection

Wow! I seriously doubt one can see this number of amazing old master prints in one place.

The show stands out for 3 special reasons.

1) Rare prints of this type are very rarely shown in such brightly lit rooms (The Carnegie can't do this very often)

2) The Carnegie has one of the world's best collections of master prints- with many works in the best possible condition.

3) The show is a masterpiece of display - offering loads of supportive information without undercutting the art.

Highlights of this show include - a half room of Martin Schongauer engravings & woodcuts

A full room of Albrecht Durer prints including Adam & Eve, Melancholia, Knight, Death & the Devil; St. Jerome in his study

A great selection of Lucas Cranach the Elder's prints

A large display of prints published by Heironymous Cock - many based on Pieter Bruegel's drawings.

A large room of Rembrandt etchings & drypoints including The three Crosses

A large selection of Piranesi etchings 

Small Prints, Big Artists: Masterpieces from the Renaissance to Baroque

MAY 31, 2014 – SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

Carnegie Museum of Art.

(In spite of the title- many of these prints are quite large- by standards of the time)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Part Time Pittsburgh Artist, Swoon @ The Brooklyn Museum

Swoon's Brooklyn show returns to the familiar ground (and water)- idealized life size prints, & intricate cutouts creating an ethereal magical environment while attempting to build human links and political awareness.

Centered around a huge cosmic "tree of life" reaching into the infinity of the museum's domed roof she docks segments of her swimming cities raft projects.

The show does lack some of the gritty, earthy, street qualities that kept it from feeling trite. I also wish she included more videos explaining her projects.

Swoon: Submerged Motherlands

Brooklyn Museum of Art
April 11–August 24, 2014
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery, 5th Floor

Some previous posts about Swoon.