Monday, July 31, 2006
But seriously folks; I don't want a lot of flack about the quality of the schools involved and or any stuff about the great exhibition spaces that these schools might have. CMU has a pretty great one and I have seen images of Penn State's which is super deluxe-- my point is that very few people will get to see these shows. I think that Supersonic does not take the place of, but is in addition to the regular thesis shows. I also don't expect the effect of joint shows in Pittsburgh, to have anywhere near the same effect as one in an existing media capital. But, I do think it would greatly increase the chance of this work being seen at all.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
In NY right now it seems like the MFA shows are not to be missed part of the scene. Here is some blog buzz to give one an idea of the fever here, here, here, here, here, here, and in LA, -- here, here, here, and in San Francisco-- here, here and Philly--- here.
Now we are all by now aware and a lot of us are a bit mad about the almost pedaphilic interest that the current art world has for hot creative flesh and the MFA's evolution and merger with the debutante ball seems gross. But in this region one can see that the reverse is not good either. There are many serious artist's flowing through these schools whose work deserves to at least be seen. For many, the MFA show is the culmination of some of the most concentrated studio work they will ever have a chance to do. Unfortunatly, most of it will just be seen my a tiny number of academic insiders and students. This is wrong and a huge lost oportunity for the students.
Wouldn't it be so great if these schools started getting serious about interacting with the wider world and started working on joint MFA shows. For the last 2 years 8 schools in Southern California have worked thier MFA shows into a single art blitz called "Supersonic". ( here, here and here is more dope on Supersonic )Couldn't something like that be done in Pittsburgh, using empty spaces in the city?
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Emilie Clark is a pretty awsome artist who lives in NY, with some works in my files. She is in a three person Show right now at Morgan Lehman's space in Connecticut till Sept 10.
Friday, July 28, 2006
On Tuesday night I caught a ride up to IUP, a state university about an hour from Pittsburgh in the middle of f---king nowhere. It is a good school and sort of known for it's art department.
I went there For LeRoy's MFA show which was just kind of unreal. A perfectly orchestrated overload of visual data. I caught a ride up and forgot my camera so these are some images I copped from someone else. The show was very well organized and was all work I had never seen before. The Walls were completely covered in alternating arangements of eyes and kitchy triangles. Each one a separate world; combining longing, bitterness and fall on your ass humor.
The show was pretty well attended considering they threw him into the middle of the summer in the middle of nowhere. I was really happy that I got to see it. I miss a lot.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Jean McClung is a local artist who has been documenting the street art scene in Pittsburgh and NY for years. This has culminated in luminous light works installed at The Center For The Arts through August 20. The effect of the room is transporting as she manages to take some of the most raw urban art and create pieces of almost religious beauty.
The show combines shots she has taken in both cities and is both an important documentation of lost worlds like Pittsburgh's legendary graffiti Warehouse and also some pretty profound art. The rather strange revival of street art and it's now current re-entry into and blurring with the fine art world makes this work particularly interesting.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Twelve-Minute Portraits - Side II
From left, John Morris, Carolyn Wenning and Vicky Clark
Here are a few shot's from the opening I had on Thursday night. It was really fun and boy do some people have a lot of friends. The place was pretty packed and a I had a lot of sales.
Friday, July 21, 2006
But, to anyone who follows the history of this town, it looks like another of a long series of attempts to slap a thin smiley face on something rotten. Ugly is what ugly does. This rather tragic a campaign "of oh so cool" and hip smiley's, whether painted on buildings or inflated will not be fooling many of the truely cool.
A massive block long garage, ( don't bug me with this ones exact size ) wasting space and creating a hole in a nice downtown is the most ugly, anti urban and non "cosmo" thing there is-- All the more so, since this one is one of so many of these things in the downtown. When I am choking on the Hummer filfth from the things parked inside I will not be thinking about what a cool and urbane city Pittsburgh is. A cool city would tear the garage down. Ugly is what ugly does.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
The other blog will be a place for sleeze, bloodletting and personal grudges with a focus on urban planning and some local policy thoughts. Basically I want to take a few of the subjects that most piss me off and vent on them on this blog.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Don't miss the opening of my two shows tomorrow night at Digging Pitt Gallery. They are really both must see stuff.
The 20-Year History of a Drawing Group
In the summer of 1986, Patrick Ruane proposed to Stuart Smith and Victor Capone the idea of getting together for figure drawing. They had all been art majors at IUP and wanted regular opportunities to draw from a model as they had in figure drawing classes. The first evening of drawing was at Pat’s house in Harmerville on September 17, 1986. The following week Ron Donoughe, who graduated a few years before them and heard about it from his wife, joined them. Duncan MacDiarmid began drawing in 1990, not long after moving to Pittsburgh; John Ritter joined in 2000, and Mike McSorley, who first participated in the early 1990s, started attending regularly in 2005. In addition to the 7 current members, a dozen other artists, both men and women, have participated over the group’s 20-year history.
Drawing sessions lasted 2 hours and included 4 to 6 poses. In the early years they drew weekly in the basements of Pat and Ron’s houses, often inviting friends and relatives to sit for 20-minute poses. Occasionally each drawer pitched in a few dollars for a model. When considering a name for the group, Stuart suggested ‘Sküll’ as a reference to portrait anatomy. It was roundly ridiculed as sounding like a biker gang, yet lacking an alternative, the name stuck for some time. Pat routinely referred to the evening’s host as the ‘Skull-Master.’
In the early 1990s drawing moved out of basements and into living rooms. The venue now rotates among the drawers’ homes, three of which are in Lawrenceville. Sessions are bi-weekly, are simply called ‘drawing,’ and have not included a nude model in years. The length of poses is between 10 and 15 minutes, easier for both volunteer models and the drawers themselves who regularly take their turns ‘in the hot seat’ when no model is available.
Striking a balance between creating art and socializing has sometimes been a challenge. The current format is 90 minutes of drawing followed by a half-hour of refreshment and conversation. While talking does occur during drawing time, much of the conversation is related to art. Other common topics include families, work, and current events. When the artists move from portrait studio to dining room table, family and friends often join them for tea, pie or other snacks, and more warm and witty conversation.
Twenty Years of Journal Entries about the Drawing Group
by Victor Capone
Tuesday, September 25
On Mondays Stuart, Pat and I will be drawing. We’ve met twice already. Ron Donoughe joined us last time. It’s good to do it. I’m willing to commit myself.
Monday, November 3
Tonight we drew at Ron’s place, and it was really great, particularly because his wife Tracey was there. She sat for us twice. She made pumpkin pie for us and whipped cream for on top. She asked Stuart and me to stay, and we played Chinese checkers. Drawing was pretty good, incidentally. It’s good meeting regularly for this purpose.
Wednesday, March 16
I am thankful for the Skull-- Wednesday night drawing sessions with Stuart, Pat, Ron & Harry. It is good to draw.
Wed, January 11 Skull resumed; Maureen also drew & Charlie modeled.
Wed, January 18 Skull at Ron’s; Nadine & Maureen;
Ron’s son Seth is so big, almost 3, & cute.
Wed, January 25 Skull at Pat’s; Stu, Maureen, Nadine
Wed, February 1 Drew at Nadine’s; Ron, Pat & daughter Lindsay, Stu, Maureen
Wed, February 8 Full Skull at Maureen’s; Stu, Pat, Ron, Harry, Nadine, Maureen
Wed, February 22 Skull at Pat’s; Bob modeled & took our photo.
Wed, March 1 The Skull at Ron’s; Michelle & Chuck
Wed, March 8 Skull at Pat’s
Tues, March 14 Skull at Nadine’s; 3 heads only
Tues, March 21 Skull at Pat’s; Charlie modeled.
Tues, March 28 Skull at my house; my brother Joe modeled.
Tues, April 4 Skull at Ron’s; drew a neighbor girl.
Tues, April 11 Skull at Pat’s
Tues, April 18 Skull at Nadine’s
Tues, April 25 Skull at Ron’s
Tues, May 2 Skull at Ron’s; Stu’s sister Susan modeled
Tues, May 9 Skull at Nadine’s; my brother Joe sat.
Tess, May 30 Skull at Pat’s; new Skuller Don; Keith modeled.
Tues, June 13 Skull at Nadine’s; only Stu & I came; we spoke about justice.
Tues, June 20 Skull drew at Ron’s; Seth had his rage
Thursday, December 14
A small skull drew at Ron’s: Nadine, Ron and I. We saw 16-day-old Emma, and 3½-year-old Seth posed. He did so much better than last spring when he deliberately moved every part of his body. This time he sat and talked. He said he was a crab; his name was ‘Crabby Seth Donoughe.’ When I asked what a crab looked like, he said it had pinchers. He said that crabs are very fast. Ron said he often became a crab and spoke as a crab, and earlier we even saw him crawl up to Ron and pinch his leg as a crab. So I drew him with claws. I knew he would like it, but I was wrong. He was greatly disturbed by it. He wanted hands. It was not some kind of joke to him. He couldn’t deal with that image. He went upstairs to his mother seeking comfort and almost complaining, even though he emphatically said before that he was a crab. I’m told that the next day Tracey called him a crab, which he had previously enjoyed so much, but he immediately protested, “I’m not a crab; I’m a little boy.”
Thursday, January 18
We drew at Ron’s tonight. First Tracey sat feeding Emma. Next Nadine sat, then I,
and finally Stuart at Seth’s request. We met Duncan and Joann who drew as well.
Thursday, September 20
Duncan and Joann had a dinner tonight at their home to kick-off drawing for the year. Everyone brought something, and we ate dinner and did 3 drawings.
Wednesday, January 16
Desert Shield became Desert Storm at 7 p.m. We drew tonight and watched the Gulf War unfold with the bombing of Baghdad.
Wednesday, May 8
Drawing at Ron’s. Julie drove me and drew. Stu told that he was laid-off this week. Duncan, Joann and Rose there too.
Wednesday, June 19
Tonight we drew outside at Ron’s. We actually did 5 poses. Kim brought peanut butter cookies. Seth posed like a statue, but he was staring right through me-- killing me softly, as it were.
Wednesday, June 26
Tonight we drew at Duncan & Joann’s. Stu, Rose, Kim & I attended. Joann’s daughters Anji & Andrea were with their father.
Wednesday, December 11
We drew at Stanford and Daisy’s apartment for the first time. I did drawings right
in my journal of Seth, Stu, Ron & Joann.
Wednesday, April 15
I returned to drawing tonight at Duncan and Joann’s. Also there were Ron, Seth and his small friend, Stuart, Stan & Daisy, and Rose, who came later. Because Anji & Andrea were with their father in Rio, some of us walked over to the Artery to see art after we were done drawing. We ended up in a real searching conversation primarily between Joann & Stan instigated by his observation that not working for
corporations allows the individual to enjoy a walk or sunshine….
Tuesday, December 1
Drawing was at Ron’s. Ron said that although he went to hunting camp with his family over the weekend, he didn’t really feel like he fit it too well. He was painting while the rest of them threw darts and drank beer. Well, I’m sure he did all of those, but he left for home in the morning when they all went out to their spots to hunt. Ron said that one place he feels like he does fit is with the guys at drawing.
Saturday, September 17
It looks like the former ‘Skull’ may be re-emerging with its stag nature- with no room for chatty visitors. It was suggested that we should only allow serious drawers who can keep drawing as the priority.
Saturday, October 1
Drawing resumed with a disciplined format: 4 five-minute poses; 2 ten-minute poses; 1 twenty-minute pose, and no talking for the first hour.
Tuesday, November 29
Drawing included a group story-telling game recorded by Rose for the library.
Tues, January 16 At Ron’s. Nadine returned to drawing, at least for one night.
Tues, January 23 Drawing at Duncan’s. Ron, Kathy.
Tues, February 13 Drew at Ron’s. Nadine gave me a ride.
Tues, March 26 Only Duncan and I drew.
Tues, April 9 Drawing at Duncan’s with Stu & Ron. Marty modeled.
Tues, April 16 Drawing at Ron’s. Stuart & Michelle each made one of their
now less-frequent visits.
Tues, April 30 No drawing
Tues, May 7 At Duncan’s. Ron talked about his father’s death last week.
Tues, May 14 Went to drawing. Joann told me it was cancelled. Apparently
Ron asked Duncan to take it at the last minute, but it was
Tues, May 21 Drew at Ron’s
Tues, June 4 Drawing cancelled
Tues, June 11 No drawing
Tues, June 18 Took my niece Krissy to drawing at Duncan’s. It was an
interesting group: just 3 thirty-something men & 3 teenage
girls (Krissy, Anji & Andrea).
Tues, June 25 No drawing
Tues, July 9 Drawing
Tues, July 16 Drawing cancelled
Tues, July 23 No drawing, just a visit
Tues, October 8 Tea without drawing at Duncan’s
Monday, December 30
The drawing group seemed to fade away in 1996. Nadine hasn’t come in years. We tried to begin again in 1996, but only Duncan, Ron and I were regulars, and Ron even missed a lot. By the fall I didn’t even expect to draw, but I did keep Tuesdays open. Still, that had been the highlight of my week for years. It was sad having to put it to rest.
Tuesday January 14
Drawing began tonight. Ron had a newly remodeled kitchen, and I brought Rebecca as a first time participant. It was our first effort in months, and it brought back the things I value.
Tuesday, April 15
We drew at Ron’s: Duncan, Stu, Tess and Seth. Rose, Joann & Anji came. Emma sat still for a 12-minute pose, about 3 times as long as we asked her to.
Monday, December 31
Drawing resumed in 1997 on a bi-weekly basis. It was well attended. I’ve brought in artists and models, and I do get to see my friends.
Tuesday, December 1
I used watercolor at drawing tonight. I need to rely on my gut more. I need to let chaos creep in, let go of the utter need for control.
Wednesday, December 22
We drew at Julie's last night. Pat wore a tie. His family had a portrait taken. I was a bit envious of him. His clothes fit so well. I just don’t fill my clothes as well.
Wednesday, January 5
Last night at drawing Pat described me as a vampire in the art building at IUP who roamed around all night and who he never saw doing any work. Ouch. Perhaps he was right. I was not focused back then. I could not get it together, and I guess I’m struggling with the same condition still.
Okay, I am going to do my part for a baby mobile that the drawing group decided to put together for Nadine. I’m going to inform the few who were absent last night what we decided. Of course, my creative energy will be diverted to disseminating info and away from the creation of my part.
Saturday, January 22
What are the traits I admire about these guys? Some of them have an excellent sense of humor which includes being up-front about their foibles. Of course, they are artists and do not worry too much about convention.
Ron is like a wholesome gentleman. He takes an interest in people, and he doesn’t mind being up-front about his niceness. He also has good values: home, quality work, and people. Pat is funny. He is actually so clever. He’s got strong opinions, not on the fence, and not offensive in his explanations. He also makes fun of me, but I know he kind of admires me. I don’t know Ritter well, but he has an intense look and a sure counter-culture foot.
Wednesday, March 15
Last night we had drawing at Maria’s. We also had a decoy surprise party for Stuart. His family is having a 40th birthday party for him is 2 weeks, but someone spilled the beans, and we were asked to fake this one to satisfy his suspicions. It was a good idea. Do we have to do another one in 3 weeks for Maria?
Tuesday, April 11
Tonight Pat was entertaining Duncan’s son Langston by talking about taking out his brain and enjoying TV. Lang loved it, and Pat repeated it for him various times. Then Pat talked about taking out his brain and talking to me, as he yawned. Painful.
Tuesday, September 19
Tonight we drew at Ron’s. I painted a good one of Ritter. I want to enter something, perhaps a watercolor, in a teacher art exhibit. I assume they have to be matted and framed. I have a few decent watercolors. They are just studies, but that would be okay. There is that one of Stu and the pillow. I guess I can do this.
Wednesday, October 3
Last night in Tess’s absence, we drank Beaujolais in honor of her birthday. Don’t know where she was. Perhaps she was just blowing-us-off because we're all cads.
Sunday, July 21
We got some lousy news today. Ritter broke his hip, or the femur just below the hip, while skateboarding today. It sounds pretty nasty to me. Duncan said he went to West Penn Hospital where they will be putting a plate or a pin in it on Monday. I guess John won't be drawing on Tuesday.
Wednesday, July 16
Nothing has been set for the next drawing. Both Tess and John have expressed willingness to host it. The date is unclear. Duncan will probably be out of town July 22 & 29. I will be in class on July 22 and at the beach (North Carolina) on August 12. I wonder if Pat is doing the out-of-town summer work again this year.
Tuesday, October 21
We drew at Anji’s house. It was nice. She had 2 young artist friends who drew with us. One is a CMU student. I hope they appreciated it. Really, I look forward to drawing because I feel like a dieter at a smorgasbord: I don't get to see my friends too often, so it's wonderful to have a chance to see everyone in one place.
Tuesday, November 15
Drawing at Duncan’s. We discussed Bush’s reelection and implications about our country.
Tuesday, May 24
Drew at Stu’s with Duncan & Tess. It was her final drawing before moving to D.C.
Tuesday, June 7
Drawing at Pat’s. He said that biscotti literally means ‘twice-baked.’ While they are indeed baked twice, I could not support his definition. As far as I knew, biscotti just meant cookie. I always understood that the closest English language word was biscuit. Pat actually backed down, but now I’m wondering if maybe he was right.
Tuesday, July 19
Draw at Stu’s, and all the guys where there: Stu, Ron, Duncan, Pat, Ritter and McSorley.
Sunday, November 20
In the 19 years since we have been drawing, I have probably hosted it fewer than 10 times. I have humbly invited everyone to draw at my home on Clawson Street in Homewood this Tuesday, November 22. I will move out this coming weekend, and the closing on the house is the following Wednesday. When I find a house of my own, I will invite everyone again. This Tuesday, I would be very pleased for the drawers to assemble one last time in Homewood.
Tuesday, May 9
The first drawing at my new house in Lawrenceville: Stu, Ron, Dave who was just passing by, Duncan, McSorley, Pat and Ritter. They had a nice reaction to my attic/studio/loft space. Ron challenged my ethics about something I found in the trash. Everyone shared accounts of prostate exams and encounters with snakes and bees.
Tuesday, April 25
Drawing at Ron's. We have dates for a group show at Digging Pitt Gallery. After considerable brainstorming, we agreed on a title: Twelve-Minute Portraits.
I think that one of the underpinnings of government planning is to make one forget that any alternatives to it exist- that no other road could have been taken.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
So anyway I might at some point have to start another blog so I can throw all the stones I need to. I guess I came to Pittsburgh because I saw it's potential as a certain type of city. A nice dense little New York or San Francisco. I still really see that. But now I am much more aware of the cities history and the way it sees itself.
So anyway, I ended up throwing some stones on another blog and really let the fur fly here and here and here . A few of my comments were not signed but by now you know I'm the one on crack and looking fight anyone who mentions parking.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Lawrenceville has a lot of this stuff and I am afraid that I likely don't know about a lot of it. One kind of seriously good alternative space nearby will not put up a website. So one just sort of just has to take my word on the fact that most of it's shows are worth seeing.
I guess, I have to admit that Trib is the evil paper in town. The sad fact is that it's reviewer takes alot more trouble to see what's going on here than I get from the other paper.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Friday, July 14, 2006
It is funny how, the same nanny state morons who want to dictate all kinds of tiny details in building design and zoning leave little things like transportation out of their thinking. If you have a bar or bunch of bars or night clubs in an area with very few residents around it and no transit link- you must think it's OK to drink and drive. Do you think that all the guys in the bars around the stadiums have designated drivers?
Being an urban planner means never having to say you are sorry, I guess. You just make the map and none of the blood that ends up on it is your fault.
I know this is a highly competitive position but this is an open call competition. In the comments below feel free to nominate your city or town. I do think Pittsburgh's amazingly poor urban layout, insane hills and hard drinking culture mean that we can win this one. The plans for the casino are likely to seal the deal. Drop a casino and all the needed parking right on the lower hill to eliminate any chance of having a residential area there. Right next to a sports stadium.
Do politicians ever have to take sobriety tests?
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Opens: July 13, 2006
Artist Reception: July 20, 2006: 6-9pm
Closing Reception: August 19, 2006: 6-9pm
View Carolyn Wenning's flat file
Save the date! August 19, 6-9PMMark the closing of the exhibit with an improvisational photographic event orchestrated by the artist, to be posted on www.digginpitt.com
Works by Carolyn Wenning
The images composing the exhibition "Resonance" are a collection of paintings, digital prints and mixed media pieces. The works are meant to resonate with the viewer on different psychological, emotional or conceptual levels. One of these levels I've termed the "Marginal Space". Marginal refers to the liminal space, the nascent rift between such boundaries as private/public, inside/out, peaceful/violent, memory/reality and secret/revealed. "Space" connotes a psychological place or interval of time.
Each piece also serves as expression of my search for the relationships between the subjective influence of experiential or corporeal knowledge and the way this sensory information can provoke a psychological response.
I believe that the subjective body can serve as a basic and important foundation for human knowledge and perception. Thus, tied to the research for these works is the philosophy of phenomenology. This philosophy theorizes that human understanding is derived not theoretically or objectively, but by interpreting bodily involvement and experience. Philosophers in the field of phenomenology whose ideas have inspired my work include Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
Metaphorically, the materials used mimic the substances of the body. The intrinsic properties of oil paint, tar and wax allow for a carnal, viscous quality while the layering process replicates the complexity of individual identity. Photography is utilized to capture a decisive moment or record a specific space of time. Photography also helps to create a narrative - the situation of the subjective body caught and documented in a moment or condition - a public display of a private mystery. Something that perhaps will resonate with you. Artist Statement - Carolyn Wenning
July 13 - August 19, 2006
Artist Reception: July 20, 2006: 6-9pm
Closing Reception: August 19, 2006: 6-9pm
Drawing Studio at Digging Pitt Gallery: August 8, 2006: 8-9:30PM
Twelve-Minute Portraits - Side II
Digging Pitt Gallery is hosting an exhibit of intimate works on paper in July. A small group of artists, founded by Ron Donoughe, Patrick Ruane, Victor Capone and Stuart Smith, have been meeting for twenty years, drawing each others' portraits. Over the years, members have come and gone, but the group has always been small, creating an intimate atmosphere of camaraderie. This exhibit, curated by Ron Donoughe, chronicles the changes that have taken place over that time period. Digging Pitt Gallery welcomes you to accompany the artists on their life-long journey. Works by the following artists are included in the exhibit.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Sunday, July 09, 2006
That Pittsburghers love to drink is a sort of an absolute fact. Coming from NY, which is a hard party town, I felt at home. But, soon I could see that partying in the Burgh had a sort of wierd edge to it. In most of NY, because of it's high housing density and transit system ; one is often not far from home or a convenient way to get home after partying. drunk driving in NYC is a sort of unforgivable act. You are likely within 10 blocks or much less of a subway line or you can walk home or you can catch a cab out of the endless sea of late night cabs that troll the party alleys of NY. There is just no excuse for drunk driving in almost all of NY.
You have to wonder, Is someone trying to create some sort of drunk driver road course? There is hardly a high density transit system to speak of and so many of the popular party spots like The Strip and Station Square have marginal transit links. Service on the marginal system that does exist shuts down pretty early at night. Years of active aggressive and stupid urban planning has removed most of the housing density from near the center of town and created massive amounts of parking for people who might drive in from the massive sprawl that surrounds the city. Then some of the same genious people who discouraged or removed housing from the city try to market it as a place to come and party.
WTF. I mean WTF. Is it just me or is someone just trying to kill people. So anyway-- I think that we should challenge other cities to some kind of drunk driving contest or have some kind of suicide Grand Prix. I know it will be tough and that many other cities in America are designed to train drunk drivers. But I think we can win. It's a prize that we deserve.
The last few days have been an overload for me. Friday was one of those crazy dumb super Fridays with every gallery in the city trying to have an opening on the same night. This created a situation in which even the most fanatic people could not see a fraction. I think David has said all that needs to in his post. I will try to give a few highlights as I get the chance, but I missed a lot. One knock-out moment that I could not miss was Katherine Young's obsessive exploration of sexuality and personal vulnerability at Modern Formations. I bought one even though I am so broke.
Another fantastic find was the miraculous appearance of Swoon onto Penn Ave. I must admit that at first I thought that this was just another example of imitation as flattery. The quality of the work was great. Still I did not believe. But, I now have the dope-- Swoon was here. I guess this is a sort of lesson on faith and believing your eyes. We can only pray that this outrageous vandal will return.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Other Birds: That's a good gallery! How? Why?
Me: You mean why would I move to Pittsburgh and start my own place?
Greeny Bird: I mean, I understand what you are saying and what you are trying to do--But? But?
Pink Bird: I mean You were doing OK. We would all have loved to get that far. You were on the road. You were r-
Me: Represented? You know how it works. Nothing is in writing. You pledge to them and they play it by ear. There's always another bird with pretty feathers or some new thing.
Other Birds: But. But, this is what we are all here for. It's what we all want.
Middle Aged Bird: I know what he's talking about. Most of my friends that are with galleries still are on the edge. Everyone has to teach and a lot of them have had to move out of town to do thier work.
Teeny Bird: I um, I um don't understand. You mean even if you ---. He starts to cry and shake. Several birds rush to hug him. ( a tide of anger seems pulse through all the birds )
Me: Now, do you see why I left. We are just being played for suckers. We can't afford to live here and we can barely get our work done . The scene dosn't revolve around us. We are the Birds that made NY and now we are just supposed to suffer in some hole while everyone else makes money off of us? You have seen how it works. It's a game, we come in fix up an area and do cool stuff and then get kicked out so we can do it again.
Greeny Bird: It's just the artist's life.
Other Birds: Yes, we get it. But is it realistic to change it. It's always worked that way.
Me: Because, we let it.
Old Bird: Yes! If I had only bought my place in the East Village or the one I had when I lived in Brooklyn. It was a crack house.
Me: So, as you can see. I am doing this because I want revenge.
Middle Aged Bird: I see what you mean. You think if you pull us out you can pull the whole scene down.
Me: Yes and re- build it from the ground up. This time we own the buildings and we make the rules. If someone likes what we are doing or want's to buy some art they can come to us.
Greeny Bird: You don't mean destroy the galleries do you? I mean do you think that they would move?
Young Bird: A lot of new places have opened in Philly and didn't Joe open up a place in Germany?
Greeny Bird: Germany!!, yes there is a lot of buzz about Germany.
Me: Think about it. Most NY dealers don't own thier buildings. They are under the same gun.
To Be Continued
Thursday, July 06, 2006
"Second, the author of the blog must reside in southwestern Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh and the surrounding area) or spend an overwhelming majority of time in the Pittsburgh metro area. There currently is no hard and fast rule around what is acceptable, but (for example) State College would be too far. If someone is simply temporarily away but still has Pittsburgh as a residence would be OK. Ultimately, the maintainers of the website have final determination for listing/inclusion."
One overwhelming aspect of the city that I do not like is it's strange sense of isolation. Pittsburgh has a huge diaspora of ex yinnzers and thier kin as well as a number of people who just love the place or one aspect of it. I am blogging partly to try to link up with those people and give them a gathering place.
Please, get rid of this rule. If someone wants to start a blog in LA that talks about Pittburgh or the goings on of the extended Steeler Nation. List it.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Anyway... I plan on encouraging questions and I want to address two of the most common so far.
Q: What the hell is "Guignol"?
First of all it's pronounced "geen-yole". Second of all, don't you people have the internet? Never mind. Stupid question. I proceed.
The abbreviated version: There was a French dentist who wanted to ease people's fears of him, so he created a puppet in his likeness (named "Guignol") to tell funny stories and defang his trade. It worked, and it became so popular that it inspired copycat puppet shows. These productions eventually incorporated social commentary that led the King to outlaw puppet shows altogether.
In 1897, a French shock theater opened, and took as its moniker, Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol. This theater operated until the 1960's, becoming widely renowned for its cringe-inducing fare. If you have ever before heard or read the word "guignol", it was probably inspired by the theater. It's a word that comes up a lot in film reviews, particularly related to directors such as David Lynch, David Cronenberg, John Waters, and Fellini.
What does that all have to do with my sense of the carnival, or the arts? Come to the talk and ask that question to my face...
Q: Where did I take my photos?
I took some of them on the pier in Ocean City, MD last year. It seemed to be one of the few places that I could recapture the sense of the old-time carnival. Most amusements are now homogenized, so that even the dullest parent will remain unoffended in their presence. If you have ever been to Ocean City, MD... well... you probably know that the normal strictures just don't apply.
Most of the carousel photos were taken in Mansfield, Ohio. They have a beautiful old merry-go-round right in the middle of town. Why Mansfield? Because they have a historic carousel district right in the middle of town. But why did I go to Mansfield? To take photos at an abandoned prison reformatory. But that's a story for another show.
Me: Hi There little birds.
Me: My, there are a lot of you in here and look at all the flocks on Bedford, but it seems a little thinner this year.
Birds: Are you buying? We need food.
Me: OK, I will try to help, but you have to talk to me. Bird number 3 a little male passes out on the counter-- a little tuckered out from his three jobs.
Me: So why are you all here? Tell me little about yourselves.
Yellow dreadlock bird: I use chewing gum to confront gender is--
Me: It's OK. Relax.
Pink and green Bird: I want to act. Isn't this where I have to go?
Yellow d: I always wanted to be an artist. This is the place isn't it?
Other Birds: No one has ever asked us this question. We Just have to because...
Me: It's the lights isn't it?
Greeny bird: Yes, I saw them on TV in Iowa.
Other Birds: And all the sound and some birds would dance and some would sing..
Pink Bird: Also, I feel more at home here. There are so many different colored birds.
Other Birds: And it's going to work out-- I know someone who served Andrea Ro ( other birds break in.. one says that's a lie )
Me: So, Where are all of you from?
Other Birds: --India, Germany, Boston, Idaho, Mexico, Alabama, Long Island ( can't remember them all)
Me: So, most of you aren't from around here?
Old Bird: I ain't but I've been here forever, seen it all.
Other Birds: No. most of us are not from around here.
Teeny bird: I came in on the bus a week ago and I am looki--
Other Birds: We ain't got no room-- Find your own nest.
Me: There is a slight shortage of nests? Huh,
Old Bird: Not like when I was young. I had a huge nest on 11th St. ( He meant more than one bedroom. ) and I did my art and the went to The Bottom Line and
Me: Didn't they close?
Old Bird: Well, then the rent went up and I moved into The East Village.
Other Birds-- Cool, tell us about CBGB's ( closing )
Old Bird: Well it was rough. Birds wer shootin and wailin and things were dirty and all the garbage.
Middle aged Bird: Yes, I was scared to go there. I got a place in Soho. I wasn't supposed to live there and it was empty there were no stores.
Me: And, what was your place like?
Middle Aged Bird: It was so raw, there was big hole in the floor and there was no kitchen and not much heat. But the space was big and I was handy. Me and my friends put in new wiring and plumbing. We fixed it up over a bunch of years and of course we lived there.
Old Bird: You guys did shows-- They were so great, the place was so sincere and...
Middle Aged Bird: Well, we did a lot of great stuff. But then rich people started coming to watch us and we thought it was great untill, I had to move to Brooklyn.
Old Bird: They kick you out?
Black Bird: They kicked me out of Dumbo. I fixed my place up almost from scratch.
Other Birds: They Kicked me out of ( everyone chirping at once, so I can't remember all ) Soho, Noho, Tribecca , Long island City, Hoboken, Harlem , Chelsea. Something has broken and a few birds start to cry. A few walk out they have to be seen at some opening or they want to try to do some art. Many have to leave, they live in places like Red Hook or Jackson Heights and they have to work the next day.
Me: So, can we get back to why you are here?
Dreadlock Bird: I need to be near the galleries that might want to show my work.:
Me: Do you get much art done?
Dreadlock Bird: No, partly because I can't sleep with my four roomates working all hours and then after I get back from work ( an hour on the subway ) I have to be seen at a friends opening.
and I get into the studio around 10pm and--
Greeny Bird: He is just lazy and won't stay up past three. If he was a commited artist-
Pink Bird: Yes. Ed told us that he is looking for serious artists who are willing to ( All the birds look down, they know they should work harder and then they would get a break. )
Me: So, If I get you guys right you are all here because you like the other birds and all the cultural exitement. You are here because the other birds are here. The filmaker birds and the dancer birds and the artist birds. Why don't you all move?
To Be continued
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Teeny Bird: We didn't get too much to eat. I am hungry.
Greeny Bird : This guy is a nut. I have an MFA fro
Middle Aged Bird: Yeh, We know. Why don't we all admit it. A lot of us have thought about this. A lot of the birds I know moved upstate.
Another Young Bird: Some of the birds from Tyler are staying in Philly. They say it's pretty great and they get to spen..
Greeny Bird: I am from Philly and a lot of it just so dangerous and nasty and
Me: Like Brooklyn was? ( This seems to strike some kind of cord and I can see a lot of birds thinking )
Black Bird: I am from Pittsburgh and I hear that some birds a--
Other Birds: He's a nut.
Greeny Bird: The fact is that we can't leave and that is just a fact that we all have to face. The galleries and clubs and theaters and writers and curators and critics are all here.
Me: Arn't they here because you are here?
Old Bird: ( really loud ) He is just right and you all know it. I remember when it seemed like the scene revolved around us and seemed to be about the work. I remember when I could do work.
Why don't you all just look around. How many of you think you might lose your nests soon.
Pink Bird: Well we are in court and I think I am OK for a few months.
Black Bird: I gotta move out in two weeks.
Other Birds: We can help ( one say's he has some space on the floor of his place since his roomate moved to LA. )
Black Bird: Didn't you move to Pittsburgh?
Me: Yes. I came there because I want to help make scene that revolved around the artists.
To Be Continued
One of the most striking paintings in the exhibit is Stephan Phillip's The Virgin and Child (pictured at left). Very somber in tone. The distortion is what really drew me to the painting. The gigantic legs, soft belly and round breast are topped by small shoulders and head. Through this distortion, the figure has taken on the proportions of some unclimbable mountain.
The Sacred Art exhibit strives to find work each year that steps out of the mainstream of spirituality, that challenges the viewers' preconceptions of the monotheistic religions with which our culture is most familiar.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Like Ireland and India and China, Pittsburgh has a vast diaspora of people who have left for greener pastures or those they thought were greener. I hope that I can play some role in keeping this Steeler Nation together in some way.