Saturday, December 16, 2006

Digging Pitt Gallery small works

While you're out and about, checking in with the galleries here in the 'burgh, make sure that Digging Pitt Gallery is on your list of stops. The current small works exhibit amasses a varity of work that shows to great advantage artists represented in Digging Pitt's flat file archive.

At no other time has Digging Pitt's ideology been so apparent as with this show. The work is consistently good, ranging from the truly bizarre to the deeply beautiful. Digging Pitt is the antithesis of the white-box gallery. While the work presented in traditional galleries are without doubt of high quality, there is also no doubt about who is in charge in these presentations. The artist has, at best, a secondary role with the curator or director the real star. This includes a number of so-called alternative spaces whose presentations, while challenging, are far from democratic or inclusive. While many make the effort to present challenges to the viewer, they share the same insider bias that is prevalent within the traditional gallery system. In addition, viewing is limited since many of these venues have erratic or limited hours.
The gallery was started by John Morris, who moved here from New York in 2004 with the express purpose of opening a gallery. Digging Pitt is modeled after the Pierogi Gallery, located in Brooklyn. Digging Pitt, much like the Pierogi gallery, brings a wide range of works from a vast array of artists, into one small area. Several articles have been written about Pierogi. You can read more on their site. Following is an excerpt from Gregory Volk's essay on Pierogi's flat files:
Moreover, there seems to be a vast gulf between this era and others when
galleries—in addition to their major business of selling or merchandising
art—were also cathartic arenas where people met, exchanged ideas, mixed it up,
formed friendships, engaged in foolishness and exploration, and where other
genres like music and literature made frequent appearances.
The gallery itself is dominated by large flat files, the drawers of which contain folios of carefully stored artwork. Perusing the collection of artwork gives one a sense of discovery, delving into unknown depths in search of some hidden gem. When you walk into the gallery you get such a sense of discovery, with a feeling that there are no wrong choices.

No comments: