Thursday, June 16, 2011

Will The Pittsburgh Biennial Get Much National Press?

Finally, a number of major cultural venues, The Warhol, The Carnegie Museum, The Warhol, Pittsburgh Filmmakers and CMU's Miller Gallery are collaborating on a large scale exhibit project similar to what I have long advocated on here.

"We are quickly becoming one of the most dynamic art communities in America, and the Pittsburgh Biennial is going to prove that Pittsburgh is a place that cherishes and supports the arts," says Warhol curator Eric Shiner.

Highlighting a broad spectrum of works and providing increased recognition for more than 60 of the region's top artistic talents, the survey-style show features everything from 2-D work, installation and sculpture, to time-, interactive- and process-based works.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers will dedicate its galleries to a presentation of media arts, while works on view at The Miller Gallery will examine the city's long labor history as well as CMU's legacy of presenting courses that explore the social role of art in public contexts. Featured at the Miller will be collectives and artists who work collaboratively in socially engaged ways, such as in publishing, installation, art education, new media, performance, and printmaking."

Finally, many of the best artists in the city brought together in the kind of large scale show that should allow each to really show off what they are doing.

Now comes the next question--will anyone beyond the immediate Pittsburgh region know about or care about this show? Well, on a positive note-since the show has a somewhat broader definition of a "Pittsburgh artist" and has included several people who no longer live here full time, at least one NY dealer I talked to knew about it.On the negative side, the absence of any artists from a wider region-means that those places have no particular need to pay attention.

I think the show will receive limited out of town coverage and that very little of the wider contact, dialog and recognition will develop. Pittsburgh is like the irritating date who only talks about themselves. My guess is Pittsburgh Foundations and other large funders are behind some of this extreme introversion. They are not doing any serious Pittsburgh artist any favors.

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