Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cincinnati's Beautiful Taft Museum

Francisco Goya 
J.M.W. Turner 

Rembrandt Van Rijn
Joshua Reynolds 
Taft House Entrance 
Pieter de Hooch
Cincinnati's Taft is one of the best private collection museums in America. Beyond the list of amazing works, The Taft offers a calm, intimate viewing experience giving one insight into the political family that built the collection.

They also host in depth special exhibitions.

Camille Corot 
James Whistler

The Taft Museum is at the edge of Cincinnati's downtown and is free on Sundays. It also has a a very above average cafe

Museum website 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

FAKE: New Psyence by Gabe Felice

Gabe Felice at ModernFormations
Gabe Felice at ModernFormations
I love Gabe Felice's work. He has a nice sense of color and the paintings are simply charming. The exhibit at ModernFormation's is filled with his paintings, a feast for the eyes.

But beyond the immediate eye appeal is a sense of journey, with paths and odd markers embedded into the bodies of his figures. These interpretive maps seem to dance between reality and perception and purpose.

While the body of the show has been created on canvas, there are several pieces that use other substrates. It's an interesting challenge, since the novelty of the substrate can at times become to central in the theme. Mr. Felice, however, overcomes this with his exuberance. I get the impression that he would consider any unmoving surface the perfect target for his brush!

With ModernFormation's extended scheduling, you'll have another opportunity to view the work on Friday, August 1. There is an Unblurred for first Friday this month, but you may have to sift through Penn Avenue Art Initiative's Facebook page for a glimpse of what is happening on the avenue. Garfield Night Market, Most Wanted Fine Art, and of course, ModernFormations all have events planned.

Open First Friday, August 1
Through August 15

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Contemporary Figurative Drawing at Spinning Plate

The exhibit of figurative drawing at Spinning Plate is pretty intense. The artists are well matched, in theme and in medium. The works are consistently produced in dense blacks on white surfaces. Just by dint of the media, the works are imbued with intense impact.

Richard Clraraval
Richard Clraraval
When I stopped in to see the exhibit, I was really taken with these small drawings of Richard Claraval's. These drawings represent his planning process for an upcoming exhibit.

Tim Fabian
Tim Fabian

I would have liked to get a better image of the above drawing by Tim Fabian. I've been following his posts of his figure drawing for awhile, and it has been interesting watching the permutations of his figurative drawings evolve. I've seen them included in other exhibits, but this is the first time I've seen several assembled in the same place. They have a dynamic action, and a freely expressed gesture, that is open to interpretation.

Marc Snyder
Marc Snyder
Marc Snyder's drawings for this exhibit are strong, and violent. Decapitated torsos are threatened by elaborate shadows; limbs and skin have been separated from the body. In all, a disquieting presentation that will take some time to read.

Stephen Tuomala
Stephen Tuomala
I've seen several of Stephen Tuomala's drawings in previous exhibits. But I loved the way that they are suspended in front of the windows that wall the gallery. The book pages looked like they were on fire, even on the cloudy day that I visited. It brought an entirely different dimension to the large scale drawings. Especially with the pentimenti of the construction casting shadows through the work.

There's a special music and dance performance on Saturday, July 26. It would be the perfect time to catch some good music and cool art. details

Contemporary Figurative Drawing
Spinning Plate Gallery
5821 Baum Blvd, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206
Tues, Wed, Thurs, 7 to 10 PM. Fri and Sat 4 to 7 PM.

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.