Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Observations on The Tiger Lillies by Karen Lillis

Saturday, October 28th, Pittsburgh fans gave an enthusiastic welcome to the London-based cabaret trio, The Tiger Lillies, in their debut performance in the city. The show was held at the
Byham Theater downtown, reportedly Pittsburgh’s oldest standing performing arts facility. The Byham was built in 1903 and served as a vaudeville theater for a few decades, then was converted into a movie theater in the 1930s; I loved the old details of the place, the gold moldings, the cherubim reliefs holding strings of lights, the murals of nymphs against a Maxfield Parrish sky on the ceiling, and the (probably 1950s) black-and-chrome glamour bathroom. The tickets were pretty damn affordable, for downtown theater. Twenty bucks for floor seats and only ten for the balcony.
The Tiger Lillies are a macabre musical ensemble who give a riveting, impeccable, theatrical performance to their morbid, comic, erotic songs. Martyn Jacques is the creative driver as
singer/songwriter for the group, with Adrian Stout on bass (mostly) and Adrian Huge on a whacked-out drum set, complete with rubber chicken.
Jacques plays the Brecht-ian character to a T with bowler hat, white-face and sinister black eyebrows, white shirt and trousers, and a very long braid down his back. But as compelling as his movements can be, it is his voice which steals the show. Like Sinead O’Connor and Diamanda Galas, Jacques trained in opera; he most often sings in a gender-bending castrati range. But other times he croaks in a Tom Waits-gravel-voice and displays an abject irreverence towards his vocal cords. (Waits had to have surgery on his vocal cords for the damage he rendered them by singing in his “low falsetto.”)
The storyline I’ve heard is that Jacques at one point resided in Soho (London’s red light district), lived on the dole, and took opera classes on the cheap at some London community college. His writing is said to have come from observing the prostitutes and drug addicts of those Soho days, which is clearly true, except that when I hear that description, it makes him sound like a cultural anthropologist instead of another city dweller who may or may not have any number of things in common with his “subjects.”
Jacques’ voice is startling and impressive. During the evening, I found myself thinking about the combination of his writing--these stark and simple lyrics of archetypal skid-row characters--and the particular performance he gives his words. In a stanza about a “broken-backed
beggar,” his artfully screeching voice made the words “GREEED and FAME!” into two more characters, familiar as they are in cities of high capitalism (or the art world). It was the gravel voice to an extreme when he sang the words slowly, “The fire - it warms – the Matchgirl - and she - is free - to dream....,” making the matchgirl’s unspoken story seem ominous, or perhaps just lending an ephemeral moment weight enough to pass into legend. His gleefully rolling R’s added an extra level of disgust when he sang the chorus about everyone’s favorite city dwellers, “RatsRRatsRRatsRRatsRats!”
As a writer, Jacques loves blasphemy best, and offers it with gusto and gallows humor, singing about killing his mother and God in two separate songs. “Mary’s going down on the Lord” was about Mary Magdalene, and yet another ditty featured a diseased prostitute: “One More Trick Before She Dies.” I’d say at least a good third of the audience were fans of the trio, cackling in delight at the most scandalous lyrics, and immediately shouting titles when Jacques asked in his Monte-Python falsetto, “Any requests?”
Adrian Stout played a violin bow on the saw to great effect during “The Violin Plays Your Life Away,” in keeping with The Tiger Lillies push-pull aesthetics of mixing sweet and jarring, nostalgic and violent. I hadn’t thought about the saw as a musical instrument for many months, and it sent me back to images of a subway busquer in New York, a rather serious young man in his 20s. I saw him a number of times in the Bedford Avenue station and also in Union Square. I
remember him as quite tall and lanky, with a boyish energy but also deeply serene, with a strong air of self-possession. He was very quiet, I never heard him speak. He was dark skinned brown-black but since I never heard his accent I don’t know if he was American or African or
from the islands.
A delicate amount of smoke-effect (do they still use dry ice?) wafted across the stage at the Byham Theatre, high above The Tiger Lillies’ heads, and was visible in the stage lights. This recalled something I learned only recently, that downtown Pittsburgh in the
steel days was dark in the middle of the day, because of all the smoke from the mills filling the sky. Pictures I had seen and thought were fabulous city-scapes at night, turned out to have been examples of this phenomenon. It is hard for this newcomer to fathom, as Pittsburgh now is overgrown with trees and flora.
The Pittsburgh fans’ applause earned them one encore, and in return they gave The Tiger Lillies a standing ovation after the final curtain.

Monday, October 30, 2006

AAP's 96th Annual Update

Okay, just when you think that you're shouting in the wind and you can put anything out in the air without thinking about it, someone calls you on one of your more glaring oversights.

The following was posted in my comments from Tey Stiteler of the CMOA:

Hi Susan,
Thanks for your blog about the AAP show. Media as we know it is
getting smaller and smaller because of budgetary constraints, so spreading the
word through alternative methods, like your blog, is a very good thing.

The AAP has been working hard in getting coverage for the show.
There are articles about the Associated Artist exhibition in both Pittsburgh
Magazine and Carnegie Magazine this month.

It has been shown on KDKA TV,
WPXI TV, and via the links below. In addition, Mary Thomas from the Post-Gazette
and Kurt Shaw from the Tribune Review will be reviewing the exhibition for the
papers this week.

On Q will do a feature about the show on WQED TV, but
I don't know the date.

Post-Gazette hot
tickets listing

Post Gazetted


on the Associated Artist
web site

and on my museum's web site www.cmoa.org

Hope this helps.

Tey Stiteler
Communications Manager
Carnegie Museum of Art

Thank you for the grace of your response. I appreciate that and the time you took to reply to my post. Especially since I am but a light breeze in the roar of the wind. I did follow the links that were provided. Two of them are for listings, as noted. The one two KDKA, I don't see a reference to the exhibit. I have been known to miss things, though.

Okay, but here's the thing: why isn't the local scene behind this exhibit? This is an opportunity for local artists to have their work presented at a major museum. It is also an opportunity to participate in an objective review process that isn't so dependent on the entrenched system of Pittsburgh's art scene. The juror is almost always from out of town and doesn't know who holds key positions in the regional art scene. This is a real opportunity.

And if we really want to make Pittsburgh culturally attractive, artists need to feel that they can step up here. Artists come, they love the city, the people and the scene. But it is extremely difficult to advance a career as a producing artist from here. It's not like there aren't major collections here. And there is an amazing scene. All you have to do is show up on Penn Avenue the first Friday of each month or wander around in Lawrenceville a little. It's not like we're hiding or anything.

Stay Strong

Stay Strong

Gallery Goals & Vision

CurratorsMy next show is a big holiday season spetacular, open to all the artist's affiliated with my gallery and many others, So I figured It would be a good idea to post my gallery vision and goals as they are on my website.

Digging Pitt was started by New York artist, John Morris, with these goals
1) To create an open-ended, accessible way to introduce the creative output of the region.
2) To create an affordable and practical way for people to see and buy the works of emerging artists.
3) To create a viable way to introduce work to audiences outside of the region.
4) To create a forum for experimentation and artistic collaboration between artists.
Too often galleries and museums act as the places where a passive art "audience" is force-fed the work they "should see" as determined by a small base of curators, dealers, critics and collectors. The logic is inexorable and brutal: shows are expensive-therefore only certain artists can be worthy of the huge investment. How are these artists found? In previous shows dictated by the same logic. The result is a largely closed loop with few entrances. (Such as coming through the "right MFA" program.)
Outside are the huge bulk of artists, often with very worthy work for whom the system is almost impenetrable.
Digging Pitt is meant to act as a one of the new holes in the gallery system. A place where the works of new emerging and under recognized artists can be seen. It is modeled after the legendary Pierogi2000 gallery in Brooklyn. It is a do it yourself gallery, requiring the viewers active involvement to come to life.

Flat File

Digging Pitt was started by New York artist, John Morris, to create an open-ended, accessible way to showcase the creative output of artists. Digging Pitt is meant to act as one of the new holes in the gallery system, a place where the works of new, emerging and under recognized artists can be seen. It is modeled after the legendary Pierogi gallery in Brooklyn, which has been the source for curators, critics, collectors and dealers to draw engaging and promising work. It is a do-it-yourself gallery, requiring the viewers' active involvement to come to life.
The flat file archive is easily accessible to the general public and Digging Pitt wants to extend an invitation to you to explore the portfolios. Digging Pitt has recently installed shelving and bins so that larger and framed works can also be stored at the gallery. Digging Pitt welcomes you, the art lover, the curator and the curious, to explore the archives, digging through the files to find that special work that engages your mind and your spirit.
Digging Pitt Gallery welcomes new artists to the flat file archive on a continuing basis. Every once in a while we like to let every one know whose work can be found by digging through the flat files. Currently, Digging Pitt Gallery represents over 140 local, regional and national artists. The archive houses hundreds of works, from the experimental to the whimsical. The works include digital prints, monoprints, etchings, collage, photography, watercolor paintings and mixed medium works: anything that can fit into the flat file. Over the past year, Digging Pitt Gallery featured works from the flat files in its continuing Inside Out series. In April, Digging Pitt Gallery continues to draw from the flat file archives for the Welcome Back exhibit. Over the last several months, Digging Pitt Gallery has hosted solo, group and survey exhibits on the gallery walls. In October, Digging Pitt Gallery began the Flat-out exhibit series and the eye-site series, all of which focus on the creative spirit of the gallery artists.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Night at The Castle

Here are some of Merge's impressions of last nights party at "the castle"; the amazing and hard to believe home of the artist, Marci. I am having a solo for Marci in April and I was going partly to try to document her work and her place. Visiting Marci, is a pretty memorable experience. The details above are from two of Marci's recent paintings.

"It's much too late to be writing an entry. Why am I doing this in the middle of the night? It's 3:20AM (taking into account the bonus daylight savings hour). This evening I went right from telling creepy stories at Digging Pitt to driving north for a Halloween party. As we approached our destination, we saw a series of orange flares along the roadside, but there were no cars disabled by the side of the road. I couldn't figure out why there were flares.

When we got to the party, the mystery was solved. A storm had come through immediately before us, and knocked down a power line. We were at the Castle, but there was no electricity. I quickly devised some fictional scenarios. Our host had gone around the bend from living in isolation too long. She intended to lure us one-by-one into the woods, where she would dispatch us and throw us into a shallow pit. Or maybe someone had cut the line intending to do us harm. I imagined fleeting shadows through the trees.

The atmosphere could not have been more appropriate for the weekend before Halloween. The bright colors of the Castle were obscured by shadows and candlelight. Our imaginations ran wild, but we kept quiet... so as not to scare the children. No music and no distraction. We relied on conversation around the fireplace. And beer.No one really disappeared. The electricity eventually came back on. It took us by surprise. We marvelled at the efficiency of the local utility maintenance services. And then we went around and turned the lights back off. Wouldn't you?"

Creeps I Know Was Creepy

Well, not that many people showed up for creeps I know, but we had quality time and some really good creep stories. Merge, had a few real life personal ones that were first class. Also, a guy called the dirty poet was there with his mom ( wow being a creep in front of your mom! ) and had a fun little one. He also left us with a print out with some little poem gems that I wished he had read.

Here's one that fits my brain.

Halloween Parties are the best

women dressed up like sluts
or witches---
magic sluts

or heres punchline


the 20th century
a hundred years of surreal slauter and systematic savagery
from mustard gas trenches of world war one to neighbor-on-neighbor machetes of Rwanda
with Nazi bake offs and Hiroshima in between
remember the 60's? body counts on TV every night?
more people murdered per decade
than breathing in previous centuries
the 20th century
has for a punchline a simple question
put by a man famous for being a televised punching bag
cant we all just get along?

tell me Rodney-- what do you think?

(thank god we got our shit together in the 21st century )

Jean McClung told a scary family story that goes back to West Virginia
One of Merge's two is told on his blog and is the kind of story that should come with a description and APB.

One reason, i think hearing about other people's creepy or bad behavior is too get that feeling of-- ( wow, I'm not as bad as that ) and that was the rush I got. It was a kind of literate and facinating version of Jerry Springer and it was great.

Drink and Draw 'n at

I went to Drink and Draw at brillobox last night. Renee Ickes played a great selection of music, setting a casual, fun atmosphere for us sketchers. If you want to join us, we are...

Moving to Tuesday evenings, from 6-9PM
November 7: Niki - Burlesque
November 28
December 12
December 26

brillobox Drink & Draw
4104 Penn Ave,
Pittsburgh, 15224
Cost: $10 , $3 drink specials

For updates on models and themes, you can check in at the Drink and Draw site or get on the email list

In just two short weeks, the brillobox has seen a transformation. The upstairs has been dressed up with flocked wall paper and a new chandelier. Renee brought in columns and vases and festooned the space with cobwebs. Look! the new model stand!

Oure model last night was Niki. She really got into the costume thing, with lace and satin embellishments. She brought this great hat and Cricket, her poodle.
This is Steve, showing us one of the draings he did last night. Steve won the door prize! Lucky Steve. It was a box of assorted pencils and a pocket sketch pad.
This was a great pose. I wish I had a better memory for names; he was a lot of fun. Did I mention the candles on the table?
Renee's drawing for the evening. Beautiful, huh? Looks like Mae West.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

MOCAD update

For people following this thread-- Detroit has opened it's contemporary art museum. It seems totally raw and funky, which is honestly what interests me. anyway there are some shots from the opening on Detroit Arts and I would imagine that a lot more is on the way in terms of pictures.

Friday, October 27, 2006

96th Annual at the Carnegie Museum

In the lexicon of survey shows, this has to be one of the most important exhibits of regional art in Southwestern Pennsylvania. It's like prom night for Pittsburgh artists.

The parking lot had a line that went around the block. Inside, there was a sea of black-clad artists and art aficionados. It is museum policy that no photographs are permitted in the galleries so I didn't take my camera last night. A friend of mine, who is out of town and couldn't make the gala festivities, will be going with me to view the exhibit at a more leisurely pace. Last night, however, was for fun and the opportunity to talk with some friends and colleagues.

Andrew Carnegie founded the museum in the hopes of supporting contemporary arts, including the work of regional artists. This exhibit is the 96th Annual, most of which have been at the Carnegie Museum. Over the last few years, this annual has been hosted by the Andy Warhol Museum and the Frick Gallery of the University of Pittsburgh and the Regina Miller Gallery on the Carnegie-Mellon University campus.

There were a number of very fine works exhibited. I will be posting about them after my next, more leisurely, visit. Last night? It was a lot of fun. My family was there to cheer me on. Their support has been invaluable over the last several years. And my good friend, Christiane d., came to show her support. We were going to stop at brillobox for dinner after the reception, but they were so packed, there weren't any open tables. Instead, we ended up at Hambones, a neighborhood tavern. They make great burgers.

You know what gets me about this? I just ran a Google search and there is absolutely nothing in either the blogosphere or the local press about the exhibit. Get with it, Pittsburgh! You can't build a thriving art scene if you don't support your local artists. We have great museums, we have incredible artists, we have a city that is livable and charming. And yet the press completely overlooks this regional showcase.

The other thing that I want to say? Thanks to the local resident who decided to that they wanted to live with my work. The Word: Genesis was purchased last night, within an hour of the reception's start. That's how you start a thriving, local scene; by supporting your local artists.

Creeps I Know

Image courtesy of David Gonzalez

This should be a lot of fun. Just come with your worst story about a creep in your life. I will be there to try to stick up for the male of the species, but let the truth be told; the world is full of creeps.

In celebration of the creepy holiday, Digging Pitt will hold an open season on creeps. Come tell your stories at...

Digging Pitt Too
45th and Plummer Streets
Pittsburgh PA 15201
October 28, 2006: 4:00PM.
Free and open to the public.

Creeps I Know
It’s open season on creeps at Digging Pitt Too so watch out! Your stories are about to be told. Digging Pitt Too invites you to share a story about the most awful-lest creep you know, in time for the Halloween holiday. Who knows the creepiest boss? Who went out with the creepiest blind date? What has absolutely given you the willies?

Bring your stories to Digging Pitt Too and we’ll see who has the most harrowing, hair-raising, skin-crawling encounter of the creepiest kind.

Disclaimer: Digging Pitt does not advocate, endorse or support creeps.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Some Things You Missed

The bad news is that you missed some nice stuff in the last few days and even worse, I don't have many good pictures. I got to the small press event on Sunday and it was pretty great even though there had been a lot more tables and presenters the day before. On Saturday night, the three galleries near me had openings and the group show at the Society for Cultural Exchange was great; a big bunch of NY artists and some nice insallations. I hope I can get back there and shoot some stuff. As is typical, few people with power or money even know that the place exists and there isn't enough support from volunteers to even keep the place open for the few hours on Saturdays that are scheduled. Most of the artist's in this show had shown in the East Village space and quite a few of them seemed to have come in for the show.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Drink and Draw @brillobox

Hey, it looks like this will be happening every other Saturday. We had such a great time with this. Merge Divide posted about it on Serendipity. Images from the first Drink & Draw are posted here. And Renee has posted a MySpace page. Check it out. It has a great slide show.

If you missed the first one, drop in for the next one on...

October, 28 2006 at
Drink & Draw presents brilloburlesque
4104 Penn Ave,
Pittsburgh, 15224
Cost: $10

brillobox is hosting open figure drawing sessions... drink and draw... dont miss this exciting addition to the Pittsburgh arts scene. All materials except oils are welcome, chairs and some tables provided. If you have a portable easel bring it if you'd like. $3 drink specials

Read this book

One of my daily stops in the blogosphere is at Lisa Hunter's Intrepid Art Collector. She consistently has thought-provoking posts, written with great clarity and ease. She generously runs a monthly bulletin board in her blog for artists and gallerists. Here is a small sampling...

A Collector's Responsibility
The anxiety of influence

Well, this is it! Her book has been released. The Intrepid Art Collector: The Beginner's Guide to Finding, Buying, and Appreciating Art on a Budget is the full title and can be ordered on line. The publisher has a few options listed on their site for ordering. My copy came in the mail yesterday and i have already started thumbing through it.

If you're in the neighborhood, you might want to swing by for one of the book signings:

92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10128
212-415-5652 - Sidney

Barnes & Noble
396 Ave Of Americas
New York, NY 10011
7:30 pm

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Milwaukee International & Bowling

I was checking out the list of galeries in the Milwaukee International and I am pretty blown away. One great new trend that I hope survives is that non profit alternative spaces are now playing a bigger role.

First the blurb from the website about all the other stuff planned.

October 20 and 21 2006
This year, for the first time, Milwaukee will host its own contemporary art fair. Twenty-eight of the world’s finest galleries are coming to share their art. The fair is open to the public and admission is free. Galleries, non-profits and nomadic curators from around the country and world will be participating, showing contemporary art in a genuine, old-school Milwaukee beer hall. Various events around the fair will offer visitors guided bus tours of the city, a performance night, a DJ dance-a-thon, a collage party and a panel discussion. Fair visitors can expect to find an eclectic selection of art spaces side-by-side under one roof, from submerging to emerging galleries, young artist-made product stores next to established non-profits, anonymously curated work and internet-based projects.

Here are some of the participants.

Ghosts Are Everywhere San Francisco
Bas Fisher Invitational Miami
Canada New York
Gavin Brown New York
The Green Gallery Milwaukee
Hermetic Gallery Milwaukee
Little Cakes New York
Jody Monroe Gallery Milwaukee
Hotcakes Gallery Milwaukee
Morgan Lehman Gallery New York
Angstrom Gallery Dallas
Ooga Booga Las Angeles
Locust Projects Miami
Other Gallery Winnipeg
Polvo Chicago
Western Exhibitions Chicago
Mark Muller Zurich
White Columns NY

I Think I'm In The Wrong Drinking Town

Wow, check this story out from Milwaukee. They have rigged up a new art fair in a bar/old polish club. This is the first one but the list of galleries participating is not entirely a joke. Of course, Gavin Brown from NY, is in it ( he had a hipster bar attached to his space) as are a nice array of Millwaukee galleries and alternative spaces from all around. Anyone with a knowledge of the funky origins of many of the giant fairs will take notice. Milwaukee is developing a number of spaces like Hot Cakes, that are getting noticed. From a distance it seems great- organic-Brooklynish, without an extreeme amount of gentrification. The scene there has too feed off it's proximity to Chicago.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Glen Ligon @ The Warhol

This is a heads up about the Glen Ligon show at the Warhol. Glen is an artist who has shown a lot over a lot of years- but this kind of comprehensive survey is important. Glen for a while showed in the same gallery that I did in NY, but I have to admit to not knowing his work as well as I should. His work is not simple- let's just say that.

Glenn Ligon: Some Changes @ Andy Warhol MuseumSeptember 30, 2006 - December 31, 2006 This major exhibition of the work of American artist Glenn Ligon surveys the breadth of the artist's oeuvre over the past 17 years and includes more than 50 paintings, sculptures, prints, videos and installation works. By appropriating a wide range of material - from literary texts, to nineteenth century slave narratives, to the jokes of comedian Richard Pryor - Ligon explores how his own identity is shaped by the social and political narratives of American culture, past and present.

Say It Isn't So

First, I want to say that I don't have TV and rarely listen to the radio, so of late the internet has come to be my main source of news-- in addition to newspapers. This honestly makes me very well informed on some levels but also vulnerable to internet legends. Please, someone tell me that this story is not true.

Building A Network

I was invited to participate in a panel discussion this morning. The topic was "Strengthening Relationships Between Artist's and Post Industrial Pennsylvania Communities. Readers of this blog likely know by now that I think that the level of communication and team play among all levels of the arts community here sucks and I refrained from hitting people mainly because I think there are hopeful signs of change.

The aim of the project is to help post-industrial Pennsylvanian communities sutain and attract artists. For the most part they are working off a base of existing and fairly dated research and of course they "seriously want input" but will come up with the final study in a month. They used six cities as case studies-- Paducah, KY; Providence, RI; Santa Anna, CA; Sante Fe, NM; Toronto, Canada and Ashville, NC. This meeting the presenters showed thier initial findings which were pretty obvious and non controversial. In the next month they intend to delve into Pittsburgh's specific needs more fully. Many Pennsylvania towns have or are starting initiatives to attract artists, who have proven effective and pliable tools for gentrification efforts.I will try to hold my breath and temper untill the end. Clearly, the young people conducting the study are very sincere as were many of the others at the meeting.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Stranger In Pittsburgh

People who have been following this blog, have no doubt noticed my interest in the increasingly self selecting and global nature of identity. My post's on the Pittsburgh diaspora; City of the mind and on Paper Rad; all touch on that theme. So, anyway not that long after my gallery opened I met a person in Pittsburgh who is a great example of this. His name is Jeorg Colberg and he is an astrophysicist in Pittsburgh and also a photographer. Since, 2002, he has had a blog on contemporary photography, that is one of the more known sources for dope on current work. His special focus is current German and European photography and what is more facinating is that to a great extent his knowledge comes from what he can see and keep up with online. Here are some quotes from his profile.

Conscientious is a weblog about photography, art, and life in general. Predominantly, you will find contemporary photography, but I am not going to try to define what future or past posts will or did contain other than saying that it's photography or art that I like(d) or stuff that I was/am interested in. I am no professional photography critic, and I do not aspire to be one; hence there will be no long words. I think good photography doesn't need making too many words.
Photography has become an art form - with all the advantages and disadvantages that has for photographers. Conscientious usually ignores most aspects of the world of art. There are links to world famous photographers, whose work you can find in "important" museums, and there are links to virtually unknown photographers, many of who will never have a chance to display their work. There are also occasional samples of my own work. What all this means is that these photos are photos that I like. If you want to deduce any other statement from it that's your personal decision"

The extent of his knowledge and the obscurity of some of the work he digs up reveals a level of obsession. This is obviously someone living in two worlds.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Allow me To Vent

Before, I get too caught up with all the local goings on that I started this blog to cover, I want to do this Post. Gratefully, a number of very intellegent bloggers have posted on one of the darkest recent developments in the art world-- The Decision, by a major Art Fair to exclude Print Dealers. Both Ed, and Heart AS Arena have done wonderfull posts on this subject and I think that the comments on thier blogs are facinating. Brent Burket really said it best by simply doing an extended series of posts showing an array of contemporary prints( here, here, here, here ) I think they go a long way in showing that artists working in print media are producing some of the most interesting work out there.

Here is a major quote from Heart As Arena, which leads into his posting an interview with a mega art collector.

"Editor's Note: For best effect, read this post while humming the melody to Napalm Death's classic, "Continuing War On Stupidity"Look. It's pretty simple here at Heart As Arena. I want to see art that moves me. I don't care who made it, what medium it is, where it's shown, or who's showing it. However, the art has to be shown to be seen. When that possibility is limited the teeth of my heart come out. Not because they're angry, but because they're hungry. One increasingly common cause for their hunger is the exclusion of prints at art fairs. These fairs are hated by many, but not by me (See above.). Stupidly expensive ticket prices and some truly horrible people are never enough keep me away. Not from a place where I can see so much art from so many galleries visiting from outside of New York.The Frieze Art Fair's decision to exclude print dealers this year was more than a little disheartening. In Ed Winkelman's spot-on piece regarding this dumbass move, he mentioned that The Armory Show might be next. Oy. Shall I mention that some of the best work I saw at The Armory last year was in the prints section? I guess I just did.Of course, the argument can be made that it's a free market and Frieze can do what they want to bring in the most money. Whatever. Even from that angle it's a short-sighted move. Wait. Don't take my word for it. Let's allow uber collector Martin Z. Margulies to speak for just about every collector on the bloody planet. From the first issue of Whitewall:"

Ed's Post on this subject was also great.I really, don't have much to add on this subject.

Comics/Small Press/Music Expo

Here's your chance to peek under the hood at Pittsburgh's small- Press scene

Unicorn Mountain and Encyclopedia Destructica join forces to host a two-day small-press and music expo.
Featuring Poison Control, Incredibly Thin, Pitchfork Poetry Projects, Sunnyoutside, The New Yinzer, Enamel Records, Ambulantic, Copacetic Comics, Phantom of the Attic, and many more!
Saturday, 10/21 (11 AM - 6 PM) - Artist and Small Press Vendor Tables, Food, and the Spy Magicians Independent Bookstore complete with couches and a coffee bar. Don't miss out on the special appearances of the Spy Magicians themselves! - FREE!
Saturday Night (7 PM - Midnight) - After-Party featuring Don Caballero, Zombi, The Apes, and Black Moth Super Rainbow - $5
Sunday (noon - 5 PM) - Workshops by AIR, Encyclopedia Destuctica, the Sprout Fund and more. Music by Phil Boyd, Julie Sokolow, Pike, and more. Readings by David Cherry of Incredibly Thin, Lenny Flatley and more- FREE!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Braddock: Follow Up

Here's a little more dope on the goings on in Braddock from a recent city paper article and a little fist fight on another blog-- mostly related to the mayor's fashion sense. I guess by know it's pretty obvious that I don't know too much about Braddock and I don't. What interests me with a place like this is that in so many way's the town's virtual life is almost more important than it's real one. It's now like a start up company, with little more than a vague vision and hollow marketing campaign. But that's how everything starts.

Shots From Blogger Show In Brooklyn

Here's some shots from the opening of that show in Brooklyn from the blog of one of the curator's James Wagner. I am sure he will be posting more images and updates.

Joshua Tonies: Epic A

Josh Tonies

This is a subtlely powerfull piece that you can still see in the Everything is Possible group show at Future Tennant, an alternative space run by CMU, downtown. To a large extent, most of that show got lost on me, during the gallery crawl, but this piece, managed to hold it's own. I am not sure how the artist did it, but he transfered a series of drawings into onto micofilm so that they could be run through the simple film reader. The result is a mesmerizing panorama that can be run slowly through the viewer, stopped and speeded up at will. The shots above don't capture it at all. Please see this in person, it closes on October 27th.

Here are some thoughts that Joshua, sent me about the piece. Joshua has work in my flat files.

Epic A was the result of a daydream I had. Having just returned from New York city , I had been visiting family, and during my train ride back to Pittsburgh I was marvelling at the passing landscape from the window of my seat. Having a background in time based media, and a continuing interest in time and its relationship to space, I had been meditating or rather stewing over a way of transmuting the experience I had looking out the window of the train car, at the passing landscape.

While on the train I had though of many possible solutions including making differing types of scrolls, and playing with the physical context in which they could be viewed. The solution to use microfilm came quietly, as I was returning from Carnegie library in Oakland. I had spent the day researching imagery, and had been looking through the stacks as well as the archives (using microfilm viewers).

I have always been enamored with the convention of microfilm, its tangible, physicality. I enjoy the way one can physically navigate the information stream of the film, rotating, panning, raising and lowering the image. I often would go and just play with the machines, dismissing the content on the spools of film, and lose myself in the visual experience of manipulating the information.

In order to create the continuous landscape of Epic A, I employed a variety of working processes, all occupying the same visual neighborhood. The imagery used in Epic A is the result of pencil drawings of propeller planes, paper collages of mountains from grid drawings that I xeroxed and cut and pieced together, and for the cloud information, I enlarged and cropped volcanic eruptions . As a limitation, I choose to use black and white, and focused of line and value. Epic A turned out to be 45 feet long and one foot high.

Epic A is titled as such to imply the first of multiple incarnations ( Epic B, Epic C etc). I plan to gleam and augment new strategies and mutations for future microfilm projects. This working process forces me to develop and cultivate my visual language, and allows me to consider analogous manifestations (paintings, videos and books ) that pull from the reservoir of visual material that I accumulate while making the microfilm scroll.

The Future Tenant Space, has a surprisingly big impact on the scene here. CMU has a very fancy gallery space on campus, that would rank as one of the better exhibition spaces in town, and it certainly hosts some great shows. But, the very act of walling the space off on it's campus creates a huge separation from the city.

Tales From The Art World: Art Advisors

I want to thank Ann @ Detroit Arts, for posting this NY Times Article. It opens a window into a part of the art world that few people see and confirms what most average people think; that art is an inside power game that they are not invited to play. Art advisors of various kinds have always existed- partly because, many people who have a lot of money are also not fully confident in thier judgements. In recent years and especially now that there is a hot art market ( Didn't you get the invite? ) the art advisor has come to the fore as the purveyor of access.

Here's some quotes from mega dealer David Zwirner:

"There are a lot of novice collectors out there who don’t realize that you can’t run through the door and make your first purchase,” Mr. Zwirner said. “You have to finesse your way to that. Primary market galleries like us often have three-year waiting lists. We’re very picky.”
This means that while advisers are selling the merits of a particular artist to their clients, they must also sell their clients to the gallery.
“I’ve definitely felt that there’s a certain hazing ritual in art buying,” said Lowell Pettit, an art adviser in Long Island City, Queens, who often works with first-time buyers and young collectors. “Galleries literally want your C.V. and that of your client” before they will part with their best inventory."

To a large extent, the situation in the major galleries right now is entirely fair and understandable. Markets are not always hot and galleries want to sell to collectors who supported them when times were tough, and also try to make sure that potential buyers are not just looking to buy and sell artist's work for a quick profit.

I don't have much else to say, other than that I know very little about this world. There have been some great comments on Detroit Arts.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Associated Artists of Pittsburgh 96th Annual

The Word - Genesis

It is my pleasure to be included in this year's Annual exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The show is previewed in the Carnegie Online magazine. The juror for the exhibit was Douglas Fogle and you can view his juror's statement on the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh site.

Save the date!
96th Annual Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Exhibition
October 27, 2006-January 14, 2007
Opening reception: October 26, 6:30 - 9:00pm
Carnegie Museum of Art - Heinz Galleries
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080

Each year the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh invites artists living within 150 miles of the city to submit work for this survey exhibition. Douglas Fogle, Carnegie Museum of Art Curator of Contemporary Art and organizer of the 2008 Carnegie International is the exhibition's juror.

Figures Of Thinking: Convergences In Contemporary Cultures

Nina Katchadourian
Mona Hatoum

Adrienne Heinrich

Ok, Here's another show that is likely kick ass, that I missed ( anyone wana give me a ride ). It's in Youngstown Ohio and was co- curated by Vicky A. Clark and Sandhini Poddar. and includes a number of major woman artists, ( anyone wana email me images? ) and Pittsburgh's Adrienne Hienrich.

Here's some dope from the curators statement-- which is not on the museums website.

While not immediately obvious, all of the artists are women, but unlike exhibitions of the past decades from Making Their Mark: Women Artists Moving into the Mainstream, 1970-1985 (1989) to Inside the Visible (1996) to Sexual Politics (1996), feminism isn’t foregrounded in this show. Issues of gender, race, and religion inform the work of these artists but do not define it. We have assembled a group of artists we deeply respect to initiate a conversation about our world. This dialogue will hopefully offer up possibilities for confrontation with how we sometimes too easily define and limit understanding. The curators and artists will present possibilities, but so too will the viewer, whose own experiences and insights will continue the conversation in new venues.

Some of the artists Rina Banerjee, Lesley Dill, Ellen Gallagher, Mona Hatoum, Adrienne Heinrich, Nina Katchadourian, Wangechi Mutu ( anyone wana give me a ride??? )

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Drink and draw

It's 9:30 on Sunday morning. I have a hangover. Not a bad one, just a little fuzzy around the edges. Mostly very happy. Man, you all missed a great party last night.

But do not despair! Renee has already scheduled another Drink and Draw for October 28, from 5:30 - 8:30. I'll post details later in the week, so stay tuned.

Drink and Draw at the brillobox had its first session last night. Our host at the brillobox, Renee Ruth Ickes.

The models costmed themselves as burlesque queens for the evening. David Grim and Niki during a break.

Olga takes a dinner break.

Christiane d. joined us last night. She told us that it has been several years since she has drawn from a model. She got these wonderful depths in several small drawings. This drawing is from the last pose of the evening.

One of Renee's drawings. There is something so tongue-in-cheek about the drawings she did last night.

David Grim had shown some older telephone book drawings at Digging Pitt. He has recently started doing this again. He attends several open model sessions every month and always shows up with these telephone books.

Okay, so here's mine. Not bad for someone who was three sheets to the wind, huh? I think i'm gonna drink more when I draw.

Fiji Island Mermaid Press

I guess this is a follow on to the post on Pittsburgh's emergence for small press and self publishing. Marc Snyder, who is a very recent transplant to Pittsburgh puts out these almost always amazing little books. A few border on just didactic propaganda and yet almost always get beyond that with the pure humor and economy of means. Some of them border on genius. Of the sample set he sent me-- so far my favorites are- How To Draw Jean- Paul Sartre; Understanding Quantum Mechanics and Threat Gestures.

Marc was just buzzed about on the Size Matters blog and will have a show at Kent State that will open on October 26th ( any one wana give me a ride? ) Oooops, that was last year. Marc sent me the show card with his books and I kind of assumed it was coming up.

Show I Missed

Here is a strange post about a show I didn't see at Seton Hill that just closed. The show is reviewed by a blogger, who also didn't see it. I think that we both very much wish that we had.

"The artist, starting four years ago on the anniversary of 9/11 -- and triggered by the media's replaying of the horror of that terrorist act -- started taking photos of media stories about terrorism she saw on her tv. She set up a tripod and camera in her living room and snapped black and white photos in a random, scatter-shot way documenting the drumbeat of terrorism entering her home. School shootings, sniper shootings, Iraq shootings and bombings, the London Underground bombings...the list is long

The idea that we are randomly but continuously bombarded by images of terrorism (is there ever a time when "breaking news" -- the code words for "drop everything and pay attention this is going to scare you" -- is not the screen crawl at the bottom of the all news channels?) is a thought we all know but mostly choose not to deal with."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Braddock: City Of The Mind

These are pictures of the town of Braddock, PA. If I were still living in New York and had not pluncked my life savings into the region, I think that I would have a lot of guilt about posting them. I dont think that even the most ardent fan of it today would call it much more than a ghost town or a corpse, so it borders on morbid voyeurism to show it. But, places like Braddock are not too uncommon around here and the issues they raise are pretty real.

To start with a little backround, Braddock wasn't always a corpse, it was actually SLIGHTLY, important and very much alive. So the mayor of Braddock ( and don't you want that job ) has put up a web site with his own money and put out all these pictures of the town and he actually hopes to revive it. He is showing these pictures with the hope that someone will see something or have an idea or whatever.

Well, it's in places like this where the rubber really meets the road, and a town's history, memory and virtual reality faces it's physical one. There is the mostly dead physical place and then there all the very real people who came from there and all thier memories and they are not dead. And, of course there are all the new people who might see some posibility there. The internet puts this in your face and makes it in some ways harder to forget things and places. I think that can be good.

Shrinking Cities


I have to admit to just becoming aware of this facinating project called shrinking cities.
The project was started in Germany and I think that the first lines of the web intro imply that all cities are shrinking-- which is not close to being true and even the website has to slip that in.
(6.1 billion people currently live on the earth, 3 billion of them in cities. By 2030, the population of the world will have increased by 2 billion (+33%). This increase will be stem almost exclusively from the growth in urban population. Every day, 190,000 new city-dwellers are added all over the world, 2 in every second. In the year 2030, 4.9 billion people will live in cities)
The shrinking city is however an important area for study.

Intro from the Website:

The Project ///
Shrinking Cities, a three-year initiative project of Germany's Federal Cultural Foundation, seeks to expand Germany's city-planning debate - until now concentrated on questions of demolishing surplus apartments and improving residential quarters - to address new questions and perspectives. The project also places developments in eastern Germany in an international context, involving various artistic, design, and research disciplines in the search for strategies for action. The emphases of the research and exhibition project, Shrinking Cities, are, first, an international study of processes of shrinking (first project phase) and, second, the development of strategies for action for eastern Germany (second project phase).International Study /// Since 2002, four local interdisciplinary teams have been commissioned to study and document urban shrinking processes in the urban regions of Detroit (USA), Manchester/Liverpool (Britain), Ivanovo (Russia), and Halle/Leipzig (Germany). Each site stands as an example of a specific form of shrinking: In Detroit, the issue is the consequences of suburbanization; in Manchester/Liverpool, of deindustralization; in Ivanavo, of postsocialism; and in the greater Halle/Leipzig region, several of these factors are compounded. People from various disciplines, including urban geographers, cultural experts, architects, journalists, and artists, take part in the work.

The project has also developed a touring exhibition.

Merge On Film Kitchen

Here's some thoughts by merge about last Tuesday's Film Kitchen showing.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The City Of The Mind

My recent posts, posts, posts, on Detroit seem important on some deep level I cant explain fully. Pittsburgh and Detroit seem to have huge amount in common. It's not just that they were industrial cities; they were the birth places of huge industries and had built there identities so completly around them that they were the global symbols of those industries. No doubt the size of the industrial complexes made them look like permanent and unmoveable forces that could not be changed. Perhaps, unwisely people built thier lives as if they could not be moved or at least never killed.

Every city is the interaction between a real place and a mythology that people build around it and with these two places the interaction is traumatic. I think that my memories of NY in the late 70's were facing that interaction. On the one hand, you knew that NY was like the greatest city in the world and yet the day to day facts showed you it wasn't that great. But, what happened to places like Pittsburgh and even more so Detroit has to be on a totally different level. New York, somehow found it's greatness again ( to a large extent imigrants came who believed in it ) and for the most part, it never really faced becoming irrelavant. But, both Pittsburgh and Detroit have faced becoming footnotes or even in the case of Detroit epic symbols of America gone wrong.

The other major thing that links the cities is their huge diasporas. So anyway, I am hoping to here from some people in Detroit and people from Detroit and perhaps involve them in my diaspora project. I am particularly interested in hooking up with artist's from Detroit and those that live there now. Please pass this post along. I still am very much looking to develop build my links to the Pittsburgh diaspora.

Drunk Driving Capital Will Now Try Drunk Drawing

The city that is my pick for drunk driving capital of America, will now try drunk drawing. Take advantage of this one before they shut it down.

Some Recent Pittsburgh Gallery News

Moxie Moving To North Side
Tai + Lee exhibition space in Polish Hill

Here's a somewhat futile attempt to keep you up on the fluid art scene in Pittsburgh.

Moxie Dada-- Moving from Bloomfield to the North Side.

Tai + Lee opens a storefront exhibition space in Polish Hill

Gallery On Grant is shooting to open in the spring in Milvale.

Most Wanted Fine Art will open a studio/exhibition space on Penn Ave in Garfield ( any day now )

Bloggers Curate Show In Brooklyn

I wish very much that I could make this opening. The two people who curated this show are the kind of glue that hold real artistic comunities together. They have been blogging long before a dumb person like me could do it and consistantly finding and supporting, often unknown artist's. The chances that this show is not worth seeing are less than zero.

the show opens tonight.Here's the dope from James Wagner's blog.

"Dangling Between The Real Thing And The Sign In The Window" finally opens on Friday [see the link to the left for the press release]. I expect so many gazillions of creative, smart, cute people to head for Dam, Stuhltrager that night that Barry and I will have to retreat to the garden for some air, where Susan Dessel's installation will remain through the run of the show inside. Loren Munk's work will be installed in the front room during the same month. If you can't make it on Friday, please stop in later in the weekend, or on any of the next four. The show closes on the 13th of November. After the opening reception the gallery will be open on Fridays from 3 until 8 and Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 6. You can also make an appointment.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Transportation Mess

Pittsburgh's transport woes grow.

Open Call for Craft Artist's

Pass this along.

Open Call to Crafters
Timeline:October 7: Printed announcements availableOctober 26 - November 3: Drop off workNovember 6 - 10: InstallationNovember 18, 2006: Opening receptionNovember 30 - December 3: Lawrenceville Cookie TourFebruary 3, 2007: Closing reception
Digging Pitt Gallery - Side I and Digging Pitt Too will house Bright and Shiny Holiday this year. We wanted to give you an early heads-up so that you have time to prepare. Above is a general timeline for the exhibit.
All mediums are welcome. Please be sure that your work is ready to hang, display or install. Work may be two- or three-dimensional. No limit to the number of pieces submitted, emphasis on cash-and-carry work. Work not to exceed 16" in any direction BUT SMALL ITEMS, APPROPRIATE FOR GIFTS, ARE PREFERRED. You might want to bring in a bunch of pieces!
Digging Pitt is recommending that your submissions fall within the $5-$30 price range, but some higher-priced items will be considered. Gallery commission rate is 30% of the selling price. Please be sure that your submissions are labeled with your name and the retail price. Please be sure that your work is sufficiently protected from damage. (wrapped, boxed, cushioned.) If possible, please bring an inventory sheet with you when you drop-off.
If DPG doesn't already have your current resume and bio please send it to the gallery along with your RSVP. If you have an updated version, please send it on! If possible, please send images of work that you are submitting to the gallery by September 29. We will post as many as we can on the DPG site. Please send images to diggingpittgallery@yahoo.com. Please size the images at 1600 width on the longest side in jpg or gif formats.
Printed announcements are ready. Please stop by the gallery and pick up a few to distribute to friends, family and passing strangers.
We begin installing on November 6. The 4th and 5th of November will be used to de-install the previous show and freshen the gallery. If you are available to lend a hand for the installation, DPG would really appreciate it. We would appreciate it. Really. A lot.
The opening reception is on November 18 and the closing reception is on February 3. As you can see, this is a long show. We hope to have additional events at the gallery during this exhibit. Digging Pitt will be part of the Cookie Tour this year. But if you have any grand ideas for events at the gallery, let us know.

Get Back in The Kitchen

I have a feeling that putting this thing out there, makes me some kind of politically correct activist. The blunt truth, is that the whole subject makes me ill. The only thing more sickening than endless tirades by woman artist's about thier treatment in the art world is seeing again and again that they are right. It will take a lot of flip flops to explain away this stink bomb. Thankfully some serious storm clouds are brewing out there. Having a small and very marginal gallery has made it murder on me to do any real outreach. I pretty much try to plan around the good artist's that aproach me and I have to admit that my gallery is not even close to being fully representative or diverse. But, these people have got some explaining to do.

Museum Of Contemporary Art Detroit

Speakingof Detroit; I have been trying to follow the cities long struggle to create a contemporary art museum. Detroit Arts has a great recent post on the subject which links to a long article. It now sure looks like it's now more than a wet dream-- the place will be known as MOCAD.
Detroit Arts, seems to have developed a srappy and dedicated following, judging from the active comments.

Here's the start of the article:

"A year ago, when word got out about seemingly legitimate plans for a new contemporary art institution in Detroit, the buzz was big in the creative community. Many were skeptical from the first word — people here are skeptical about "new" anything.
But in the ensuing months, the e-mails arrived, followed up by press releases. There were a few stories in local papers, and then the Web site launched. Weeks ago, colorful stickers and posters came in the mail. It still seems hard to believe, unless you've recently seen the space that's to be the home of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit ( MOCAD) on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Garfield Street. You probably haven't noticed the unremarkable building, but it's been there since the 1930s, when it was an auto dealership. Located in Midtown, near the Cultural Center, the museum will be a short walk south from the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Public Library, Detroit Artists Market, and north from CPop Gallery and the Max M. Fisher Music Center, home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

I have come across an impressive array of blogs and web projects in the Detroit area. Many of them are poignant efforts to document the lost memories of the city and also to develop a new virtual identity.