Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cookie Monster Rap

Cookie Monster Rap

Digging Pitt Gallery and the Lawrenceville Cookie Festival
Thursday, November 30
Friday, December 1
Saturday, December 2
Sunday, December 3

Digging Pitt Too - Extended hours
November 30: 1 - 6
December 1: 1 - 6
December 2: 12 - 6
December 3: 11 - 5

The International Cookie Festival is a great way to get to know your nieghbors here in Larryville. And since we have the small works show mounted at Digging Pitt Gallery, it is also a great time to acquaint yourself with some of the artists from the flat files. Everybody is open, lots of holiday cheer! So stop by, munch a cookie, and say hello!

From the website:

Sample holiday cookies and knock out your holiday shopping list in one fun-filled weekend during the International Cookie Festival Thursday, November 30 through Sunday, December 3, 2006 in Lawrenceville.

To see who all is invloved, check out the website.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Drink and Draw @brillobox

New Pictures from the last session! Our models were Brian Czarniecki and Christinae D. It was kind of a Goth nite...

Here's Lucky LeRoy's drawing...

And of course, Merge Divide's infamous phone book sketches...

Check Drink and Draw's MySite for more information or sign up for updates.

Our next model is...


on December 12, 6-9PM

Drinkies and drawing, what are you gonna do? Stay home and watch Law and Order re-runs?

Roumanian Film Screening, Friday December 1st

My (minor) beef with Pittsburgh is NOT that there ain’t things to do, galleries to crawl, culture to bask in, local artists to find, out of town interests coming through, avant garde performers to shake us up, never-before seen films (like the recent Turkmenistan Film Festival) or directors resurrected from obscure archives---but that there is some strange lack of connective tissue letting a broader local audience in on the news.

I might venture to say that Pittsburgh doesn't take its responsibilities as a (multi-faceted, cosmopolitan) audience seriously. Some say that Pittsburgh is less a city than a collection of small towns, and if this is true, it is true in more senses than just geographic.

One example of this was the impressive performance at University of Pittsburgh’s Stephen Foster Memorial Theater on November 1st by Puerto Rican performance artist, Aravind Enrique Adyanthaya. His postmodern, multimedia take on Prometheus Bound was free of charge, it was thought-provoking, and it was a one-night-only gig, but it was attended by a modest audience of undergrads in the Theater and Hispanic Departments, and a few faculty. (Where were Pittsburgh's actors, performance artists, spoken word folk, avant poets?) It seems that the Universities in town have the clout and money to get some great folks to speak, screen, or read, but because the revenue from the event is not the point, there is a lack of incentive to advertise. The artist gets paid even if no one shows up and I suppose also is complacent about publicity.

All this is a rant to precede the simple announcement that a great looking film from Roumania, 2005, will be playing for free on University of Pittsburgh’s campus this Friday, December 1st, at 6:00pm. It’s FREE! You’d pay $10.00 and an insulting 50 cents if you were seeing this at Film Forum, and you’d think you were the shit.

The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu
(Moartea domnului Lăzărescu)
2005, 153 minutes
In Roumanian with English subtitles
6:00 pm, Friday, December 1st
4130 WW Posvar Hall
University of Pittsburgh
230 S. Bouquet Street, south of Forbes Ave.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Shots From The Intrepid Art Collector Book Signing

Bill Gusky and Digging Pitt

Paddy Johnson, Lisa Hunter and Bill Gusky

I am finally, getting around to posting images from Lisa Hunter's book signing at Edward Winkleman and Schroeder Romero a few weeks ago. As I expected, it was sort of an art blogger convention and I can now confirm that Edward Winkleman, Bill Gusky, This Broad and That Broad, Paddy Johnson, Chris Rywalt and Lisa Hunter exist in the retro non digital world too. I was hoping very much that Barry and James would be there but it sounds like they were at the New York Art Book Fair preview.

I read Lisa's book all the way through on the trip from Pittsburgh and I now can fully endorse it. Hopefully this won't hurt sales too much.

Please Pass This Bill

Please, Please, Please. Pass this bill.


Friday, November 17th, Stacey Waite read to a full room on the University of Pittsburgh campus at a book party for her latest chapbook of poetry, love poem to androgyny. I’d had the pleasure of having lunch with Waite, once, and asked her if she liked to read her work. (I was selfishly looking for good, local writers that I might pair up in readings with my writer friends from out of town, should any of them dare to brave the Pennsylvania Turnpike.) Waite’s reply (essentially,“not very often”) led me to believe that she would perhaps be an adequate reader of her poems but perhaps also best enjoyed on the page.

Not so. Waite blew me away with her powerful, powerful reading by which I mean every cell of her being knew exactly what she had written, knew exactly how to read it, and even if she was nervous (you often have to look at the hands holding the book or the papers to find this out), she was the diametrical opposite of shy.

In my former stomping grounds, Stacey Waite (who is a native of Brooklyn/Long Island but a resident of Pittsburgh for eight years) would be by now a superstar of the downtown New York lesbian performance art scene, working at WOW Theatre or sharing a stage with the Backdoor Boys or being introduced by drag king variety show host, Murray Hill. Or she’d be a cross-country spoken-word favorite, touring with Michelle Tea and her troupe of outraged women writers, Sister Spit. I will admit that Stacey Waite and her insights about gender and feminism and identity, and her top-notch writing, and her absolutely contemporary poetic voice, are not what I expected to come to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and find hidden in a PhD program on the 5th floor of the “Cathedral of Learning.” (But don’t ask me, I knew nothing of what might be found in Pittsburgh.)

I shouldn’t forget to tell you that Waite’s poems are daring and accomplished; they are never boring and they’re not trying to swallow their own meaning as too many poems are. She writes indeed, about androgyny, about being mistaken for a boy by an umpire; for a delivery boy by two high school girls; for a man by a gay man, a waiter, and a security guard at Newark Airport. She has titles like “Dear Gender,” “XY,” “Butch Defines Feminism Under the Following Conditions,” and“On the Occassion of Being Mistaken for a Man by the Cashier in the Drive-Thru Window at a Wendy’s in Madison, Wisconsin.”

You should read Waite’s work not just because she writes so well about the masculinity of her womanhood, but because we’re all part yin and part yang, and Waite so deftly traces the roots of each of these in herself. Along the way, she draws a map of her longings and heartaches, she introduces us to the characters who validated or violated her developing sense of self, and she finds an eroticism that bridges the gaps.

Stacey Waite knows herself well, as a person who has lived in (the contradictions of) her body and as a writer who has learned to excavate and articulate; if I suspected this from reading her writing on the page, I know it for sure after seeing her show up with her work, after hearing her poems in her strong, sure voice.

In the acknowledgements for love poem to androgyny, Waite thanks the “gender warriors” who came before her, and I wonder if anyone outside the politics-of-gender community will ever thank Waite as a writer for being a gender warrior who came before us, who wrote to us so that we could know the history of lost parts of ourselves. Not because we are all oppressed butch lesbians but because we are many of us repressed human beings fitted into productive human citizens; because it is scary to delve into our own histories, alone; because our daily distractions bury the developing selves we were and are and perhaps have no words to lead us back or into the who and the why and the how. Until the right writer comes along.

I wish Stacey Waite a long and prolific writing career, a wide audience, and many more books.

Some of Waite’s poems are available for reading on the web:

Monday, November 27, 2006

David Scher: Practice World @ Pierogi

Here are some of the works in the David Scher show at Pierogi. My camera battery was totally dead by the time I got to this opening so I love these great images from Pierogi's site.
Just to set the stage here- Pierogi, in my humble opinion is one the world's greatest art galleries, even though it's a legend, it's still underated. My little art career, such as it was started in with Joe accepting my work into his flat files.

I think in the previous post on shows I liked, I rated this one as "very good", which on second thought was not close to being true. The show is one of the best things I saw for sure. David's work is amazing on so many levels and visually facinating, but it is not about giving you a visual orgasm and that is what I'm a sucker for. The world he is making is both insanely creative and deeply pathetic. The feeling I got from looking at this stuff is a lot like the one I get from looking at Robert Crumb work.

Here's a very insightful review by another artist named, ummm "corny". As far as I know, she doesn't do a lot of "reviews", on her blog but this show got the honor.

As far as I know, this artist has no connection to Pittsburgh.

Some Shots from New York

Chris Gilmore @ Freight + Volume
John Newsom @ Mike Weiss
Jennifer Steinkamp @ Lehman Maupin
Lordan Bunch@ Schroeder Romero
Keith Meyerson @ Derek Eller
Midori Harima @ Vanina Holasek Gallery

Here are some shots I took on my NY, art orgy. My eyes achieved full orgasm only a few times, but they were happy with it. Yes, people of fly over country;New York is attempting to have a non stop art orgy going on all the time- ewwwwww!

I wonder if anyone has actually gotten a photo of an eye orgasm in person? I really think that would be a real money shot. I think that's what makes the Mona Lisa smile-watching all those eyes go crazy has got to turn her on.

Diane Samuels: Mapping Sampsonia @ Kim Foster

Here are some images of the Diane Samuels show at Kim Foster, taken from the gallery website. Yes, the title of the show refers to Sampsonia Way on the North Side, where Diane has lived since 1980.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Jonathan Borofsky @ Deitch Projects

Here are some images I took of the Jonathan Borofsky show at Deitch Projects in Soho. Borofsky is another CMU alum. I think I said that I saw a lot of great shows but this one was one of the few that seemed on another level. Let's just leave it at that until I am able to get my thoughts together.

November 02, 2006 — December 23, 2006 18 Wooster Street, New York

Jamie Adams @ Jack the Pelican Presents

Here are some images of the paintings in the Jamie Adams show at Jack the Pelican Presents. Somehow the stars aligned to put a John Currin and a Jamie Adams show in NY at the same time. Both of these artist's have a CMU connection and when I first came across Jamie's work it seemed just too close to Currin's. This show really hit the spot for me. Hopefully, I will get it together to explain why I liked it so much. Both artist's play with the history of painting, kitch and attraction and repulsion with Adams, usually tilting towards attraction. I did not see the John Currin show.

My camera's battery had died by the time I got to this show, but one nice thing about blogging about NY gallery shows is knowing that the gallery will have images and info on their site.

Some More Thoughts About Isolation

This is sort of a follow up to my "gestures have meaning", post.

Since I have been here, I have been trying to explain the level of cultural isolation and the circular dead end nature of most art careers here. What happens in Pittsburgh stays in Pittsburgh. First, I want to acknowledge that the only other place I know well, first hand is NY and that is a tough comparison. But, from what I can see, when compared to most mid sized cities, and certainly to cities with as many major cultural and educational institutions- the level of isolation disturbing. I don’t think that this is something that can be explained by lack of exhibition spaces or lack of funding because, for a city of it’s size, there is a lot of money spent. I also don’t think that a general lack of nice exhibition spaces is a major factor. In fact on a relative basis, getting into some type of show here is much easier than in most places for local artists.

The spread out and inconvenient nature of things explains a lot, as does the basic lack of marketing to people out of town ( look at how few institutions list themselves in the Mid Atlantic Gallery guide and how few images and info is on most cultural websites and the lack of web links or any kind of city wide guide. ) But, I think the “separate but equal” situation in which there are relatively few spaces that regularly mix, Pittsburgh and non Pittsburgh artists is one of the biggest factors. When, you look at exhibition spaces in most cities ( and I have looked at a lot online as well visited some ) what you see is a lot of shows – some of which are touring- that mix local and non local artists. This creates links with other cities – artist’s come to see and install their shows, and critics, writers, collectors and other artists who follow those artists pay attention to what’s going on. This interaction often leads to press attention and the chance that local artists will be invited into shows in other cities and all kinds of “buzz”. If I ask people in the art world in other cities, which places they have heard of here- they almost always know the ones that regularly show out of town artists. Quite a few NY dealers seem to know Wood Street Gallery, but few know about Space or the Center For the Arts ( though they are kind of better exhibitions spaces and bigger )

Artist’s here have to question whether this “separate but equal” system is really in their interest and what it’s full effects are. There is no doubt that on some level it may mean more exhibition space available to local artists than there might be otherwise. But, it also undermines the whole purpose of showing ones work and having it taken seriously on more than a local level.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The NY Art Book Fair

One of the best things I ran into in NY was the first NY Art Book Fair which was held in DIA's old Chelsea space and was totally free. I ended up there on Saturday while trying to jam in all kinds of other stuff, including a trip to the open studios at Hunter. Several other bloggers, like AFC and Barry and James have done wonderfull detailed posts on the fair. Most, like me really apreciated the mix of high end booksellers, non profits and all kinds of facinating DYI print projects and alternative press.

Here is a long quote from AFC.

"In a city where you have to pay to sit down, it is refreshing to attend an art fair that offers a few free goodies you might actually want. Pet Book, by artist James Sprez, (and published by Back East Press) is one of many such items that can be found at The New York Art Book Fair, this one packaged in a baggies that encourages attendees to smoke it. It may be that the plastic sleeves on books ranging from free to hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, make a book seem so precious and alluring that I am rendered blindingly smitten, but I feel safe in saying that it is more than just packaging that has led me to the conclusion that of all the fairs I have attended this year, including The ADAA, The Armory, Scope, Pulse, and The Affordable Art Fair, The New York Art Book Fair is the best. The NY Art Book Fair succeeds because it satisfies the art snob and the art collector while providing a venue for less commercially driven endeavors. "

Another nice thing was that several galleries seemed to have arainged book related shows that connected well with the Fair. The two that I ran into that really worked were, the Dieter Roth show at Josee Bienvenu and Brian Chippendale's installation at D'Amellio Terras, just down the block from the fair.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Gestures Have Meaning

I am pretty apprehensive about making this post but I feel strongly that I should. I have a fairly marginal gallery in a small town that I have only been in for a little more than two years so, for a long time I felt afraid to rock the boat here. But, much more importantly I thought I was too uninformed and too much of a newcomer to start making snap judgments and throwing stones. I now think that I can't afford not to. This post is not at all directed specifically at the Mattress Factory, which has likely the best record of respecting and supporting Pittsburgh artists and taking their work seriously. The statement made by the latest Gestures show in the context of Pittsburgh's cultural history is something that should be examined closely for the message it sends.

The Gestures shows are an ongoing series of exhibits featuring site specific installations by a variety of artists and also people not generally known as artists, with most exhibits using the Mattress Factory's annex space. People considered for the shows are contacted usually not more than a month before and given limited time to install with the goal of informal, out of the box shows. In theory and to a large extent in practice, the idea is absolutely great. Who wouldn't want to see, famous artists that we see all the time and other people forced to adapt and create within tight constraints? To take people who often have a year or more to work towards shows into this kind of situation is likely to be fascinating.

The problem I have with these shows has to be set into context. One thing that stands out in Pittsburgh’s scene is it’s segmentation; everyone and everything has it’s proper place and it doesn’t take long to see where they are. Wood Street Gallery shows national acts, while Space gallery shows local artists. In institutions like the Society for Contemporary Craft, the bulk of local artist’s are consigned to the craft shop while the Center for the Arts, overwhelmingly shows local artist members of various guilds. For institutions like the Warhol or the Carnegie, the annual AAP show constitutes the bulk of their commitment to local artists or at least living local artists.

To a great extent, The Mattress Factory was the exception to that rule. They seem to work hard at being both at having a place that can be both respected on an international level for the quality of it’s shows while at the same time giving important consideration to local artists. The recent Gestures show demonstrates a scary trend. The list of artist’s in this show is full of people who have paid their dues and are fully deserving of a full Mattress Factory show. The idea of these shows as very low key experimental labs is understood as is the fact that a show scheduled on short notice is most easily done with a local artist but, the degrading and dark history of Pittsburgh’s art history cannot be forgotten and these shows cannot be removed from their context. The real risk is emerging that these shows are evolving into the backdoor ghetto for local artists.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Back From New York

Yun- Fe Ji @ James Cohan Gallery
Joyce Pensato @ Parkers Box
Jonathan Borofsky @ Deitch Projects
Rosmarie Fiore @ Winkleman Plus Ultra
Wayne White @ Clementine Gallery

Here are some shots, from my trip to NY last week. Several of my appointments fell through so I spent several days scoping the galleries. This was one of my most extensive trips in years in which I guess that I visited about 100 galleries in Chelsea, Brooklyn and Soho. I expected to bury Caesar but now I have to praise him. The number of strong shows was almost overwhelming and the density and convenience of the scene was very impressive.

I will be posting a few reviews and follow ups on my trip over the next few weeks. Major highlights included mini blogger convention at The Intrepid Art Collector book signing; the NY Art Book Fair and a bunch of gallery openings. One strange thing was the number of great shows of artists with Pittsburgh connections. Gagosian had a two space show of late Warhol works; Deitch Projects, a major Borofsky exhibit; Jack The Pelican Presents, a show of Pittsburgh alum-Jamie Adams and Kim Foster an installation by Pittsburgh resident Dianne Samuels. ( with a piece like the one in her last Mattress Factory show )

Here is a small list of the standout shows.

Absolute Knockout

Dieter Roth @ Josee Bienvenu
Arturo Herrera @ Sikkema Jenkins
John Newsome @ Mike Weiss Gallery
Eleanore Mikus @ The Drawing Center
Jamie Adams @ Jack the Pelican Presents
Jonathan Borofsky @ Deitch Projects
Yun- Fe Ji @ James Cohan Gallery
Ray Johnson @ Fiegan Contemporary

Very Strong

Rosmarie Fiore @ Winkleman Plus Ultra
Diane Samuels @ Kim Foster
Violet Hopkins @ Foxy Production
Jason Brooks @ Stellan Holm Gallery
Jennifer Steinkamp@ Lehman Maupin
Joyce Pensato@ Parkers Box
Color Aside group show @ Luhring Augustine
Wayne White @ Clementine
David Scher @ Pierogi
Kate Gilmore @ Pierogi
Keith Mayerson @ Derek Eller
Lordan Bunch @ Schroeder Romero

Two things seemed to stand out. One was that there were a large number of strong painting shows and very few weak ones and the other was the seemingly high percentage of shows artists who don’t live in NY. The few video pieces I saw seemed very good.

96th Annual @ Carnegie Museum update

Well, I still have to make it over to the museum again to really take a look at the exhibit myself. Now that the Bright and Shiny and small works shows are installed at the gallery, I have a breather so I will try to make it over next week. In the meantime, Mary Thomas at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette has reviewed the show. Mary Thomas has been a staunch supporter of Associated Artists for years.

Although Associated Artists does not see itself as one of the many guilds in the area, its structure is very similar. The guilds, and there are dozens of them in Pittsburgh, have been in place for decades. Many of the mid- and late- career artists in Pittsburgh have multiple memberships but it is unusual for the younger artists to participate in the guild system. The guilds have tried to interest younger artists in membership, at least since I have been here, which is several years now.

Associated Artists has been operating as a group for nearly a hundred years, the last forty-five or so as a non-profit. The guild's home is the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, which has seen some rough weather over the last couple years. Recently, PCA merged with Pittsburgh Filmmakers to the advantage of both organizations. PCA's campus is charming, set at the edge of Frick Park in Shadyside.

I plan to go to CMOA next week, after the holiday. Time has gotten away from me this month, with one thing or another. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bright and Shiny for the holidays

Digging Pitt Gallery and Digging Pitt Too present two exhibits, Bright and Shiny Holiday and small works. These exhibits showcase the work of regioanl and national artists and crafters. The exhibits run from November 11, 2006 - February 3, 2007. Check back for updates on special events, like the International Cookie Tour, holiday workshops and flat-out exhibits. Email us to get on our update list.

Save the date! Artist Reception:
November 18, 2006: 6-9pm

Digging Pitt Gallery
4417 Butler Street
Digging Pitt Too
45th and Plummer Streets
Pittsburgh PA 15201

Cool buttons pins jewelry craft items posters zines t-shirts handbags scarves ceramics glass ornaments dolls toys and other stuff from crafters all over Pittsburgh.

Curated by NICEGUY

Looking for something special to mark the holiday season? Stop by Digging Pitt and Digging Pitt Too. Artists and crafters from the 'burgh and beyond will be converging to bring you their fanciful creations. Stop by the
Stuff blog for updates about special events at both spaces.

Digging Pitt was started by New York artist, John Morris, to create an open-ended, accessible way to showcase the creative output of regional and national artists. 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.

In November, Digging Pitt Gallery will feature works from our
flat file artists. Currently Digging Pitt represents over 150 artists in its archives. Many of the works are available for viewing online. The artists represent a range of disciplines, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography and collage.
Friday afternoon, poet Stacey Waite will read at the University of Pittsburgh from her second book of poetry, "Love Poem to Androgyny." Stacey is a native of Brooklyn who has lived in Pittsburgh for eight years now. Her work has one of the strongest, most contemporary voices I've read in an emerging poet in some time.

Read Stacey's poem, "Dear Gender":

Friday, November 17; 4:00-5:30pm; 501 Cathedral of Learning, corner of 5th Avenue and Bigelow, Oakland. Stacey Waite reads from her new collection of poems, "Love Poem to Androgyny"(Winner of the Main Street Rag Poetry Competition). Reception and Book signing to follow.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Drop in 'n draw

Drop-in model sessions are a standard practice among artists. Even if the artist's work is not figuative, there is something about working from the figure that is refreshing for the eye and the mind. It's an opportunity to generate new ideas and practice observation. Any time that I have been in a slump, figure drawing has always helped me to focus my ideas.

These sessions are a great place to meet and socialize with other artists. There's a wonderfully supportive feel to theses sessions. There are a number of unique drop-in sessions operating in Pittsburgh. I haven't been to every venue that sponsors these sessions. If you know of any others, please let me know.

Barely Brunch
Barely Brunch is held at the Brew House in one of the available spaces. There are generally two models, one posing long and the other a vaiety of poses. The added bonus here is that the artists attending exhibit their work in an annual show at SPACE 101 gallery. The sessions are held monthly and the schedule varies a little bit. It's called Barely Brunch for a reason; Breadworks in Pittsburgh supplies the artists with a bounty of fresh breads and spreads to nibble while you work. You can sign up for updates on the sessions here. In December, Barely Brunch will be having a six hour marathon session and holiday party. Don't miss it! It should be a blast.

Barely Brunch
Brew House
2100 Mary Street
Pittsburgh PA 15203
Cost: $15
November 19: 1-4PM
December 17: Holiday Party and Marathon!

Drink & Draw
brillobox has recently entered the arena for drop-in model sessions with Drink & Draw. The models are costumed in a variety of themes. It's a very friendly atmosphere, with folks at small tables, a stage and great music. The first three sessions were burlesque-themed, with models wearing a variety of feathers, lace and fish-net stockings. The sessions are held twice-monthly on Tuesdays, avoiding holiday conflicts wherever possible. You can get on their update list here and check out images from each session on their site. This is a really fun session, with door prizes, lots of laughter and alcohol-induced conversation.

Drink & Draw @brillobox
4104 Penn ave
Pittsburgh PA 15224
Cost: $10
Time: 6:00-9:00PM
November 28: Brian, costumed in something that sounds like a cross between Rocky Horror and Queen
December 12
December 26
January 9
January 23

The Southside Academy
Tim Meehan started this group a few years ago at the Brew House. I don't really know to much about their scheduling, how often they meet or what the costs of the seesions are. This group works with costumed models and I believe that they are open to new members. The paintings I've seen from these sessions are contemporary figurative works. Several of the group's members have brought work to the PYP art party events, set up on portable easels. If you want more specific information about this group, please email Tim Meehan.

Panza Gallery
Panza Gallery is across the river from mr, here in Lawrenceville. I haven't been there but I have met Mark Panza and heard some very good things about the session from Merge Divide. His sessions take place every Thursday evening and are two hours long. You can find more information about the sessions on their website.

Panza Gallery
115 Sedgwick St.
When: 7-9 p.m. Thursdays
How much: $7

Watercolors Gallery
This is one of the sessions I've just never made it to. No excuses: it's right downtown, centrally located. If somebody knows paticulars, let me know.

Watercolors Gallery
When: 6:30-9:30 p.m. Thursdays
How much: $10
901A Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15222
Details: 412-600-1664

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rise Nagin @ Three Rivers Arts Festival Gallery

Don't miss this show either.

Dates: November 10, 2006 - January 13, 2007Opening Reception: November 10, 5:30-7:30pm

Risë Nagin blurs the distinction between fabric, drawing and painting, creating an elegant environment and mixed media pieces in her new solo exhibition. Using Nagin’s personal vocabulary of images, the new work evokes a stillness and lets us contemplate a serenity that is fleeting in our current cultural consciousness of fear and anxiety. Nagin generates abstract images that create an environment or atmosphere that reminds the viewer that beauty is always present, even if we fail to see it.

Guerilla Gallery

This building has been closed up for about a year. Not to long ago,, somebody posted a painting on the lower corner. It is mounted right to the wood with screws.

The painting is anonymous,; I couldn't find a signature on it anywhere. I first noticed it at least two months ago. It is weathering the cold and rain quite well.

I like this. The idea of just posting an artifact in the public arena, to be viewed by any and all.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dana Schutz talk @ CMU

Well here's one of those fancy young art stars passing through town and on her way to her solo museum show in Cleveland.

School of Art Lecture Series
Each semester the School of Art offers a series of lectures. All lectures are free and open to the public. Lectures are announced via e-mail, flyers, bulletin boards, calendars, and on this web site. Students are strongly encouraged to attend these events. In some courses, attendance at these lectures is required. This series of bi-weekly lectures by artists and other art professionals is made possible in part by The Elizabeth (Thompson) and Thomas M. Cox, A’29, Distinguished Artist Fund. Lectures usually occur on Thursdays at 5pm, often in McConomy Auditorium in the University Center.

Dana is actually from Detroit and thanks to Detroit Arts, I have some nice shots from her show in Cleveland. Calling work that often plays with ugliness eye candy is wierd, but often Dana pulls it off.

Handmade Arcade

Anyone have thoughts about the Handmade Arcade this past Saturday?

Handmade Arcade is Pittsburgh's first-ever indie craft fair. And, now that we're in our third year, may we modestly add it's still the biggest, the baddest & the best. We created the annual Handmade Arcade to give grassroots, independent crafters an opportunity to show and sell their wares. It's an alternative to Pittsburgh's established, traditional craft and art fairs. Handmade Arcade's uniquely Pittsburgh, but shares the DIY aesthetic of fairs like Bizarre Bazaar, held in Boston & LA and the Renegade Craft Fair, held in Chicago & New York.

Factory Installed @ Mattress Factory

Jesse Bercowetz & Matt Bua

Dan Steinhilber

Here are some nice shots from the must see, "Factory Installed" show at the Mattress Factory, which is up till January 7th. Merge's review of the gestures show, spurred me to throw them up there. All of these nice images were taken off the Matress Factory sight- great job. I saw this show at the opening, but I want to spend more time with it.

Getting trapped in Dan Steinhilber's wacky handmade science project with a few little kids was a transformative experience.

Here's a little list of the art materials used in these installations

Jesse Bercowetz & Matt Bua

wood, fabric, videos, reclining chair, microwave oven, carpet, plastic bins, lights, speakers, motors, colored water, water pumps, sonic foggers, spoons, rope, foam, fans, theatrical gels, sensors, werewolf mask, found objects, photographs, books and documents

Dan Steinhilber

plastic tarp, Rigid Air-Mover fans, Genie garage door opener, Rigid leaf blower/vac, Styrofoam peanuts, plastic trash bag,electronic timer and components, lithium grease, nylon rope

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Keny Marshall @ Space

Here are Merge's thoughts about the Kenny Marshall show at Space Gallery downtown.

After I escaped the congestion at the Mattress Factory, I made the short drive downtown to have a look at Keny Marshall's opening at SPACE Gallery downtown. A look through the glass plate exterior of SPACE hints at the antiquated industrial wonderland inside. A conglomeration of pipes, gauges and joints coalesces into a large free-form mazelike structure reminiscent of a particularly dangerous playground "jungle gym". As impressively foreboding as the piece is, it merely hints of the magic contained at the rear of the gallery.

"Apophenia" is a confounding and playful installation centered on a large glass sphere aquarium. The movements of several fish (successors to the trail-blazing, but now unfortunately-deceased creatures involved during the project's initial conception) are videotaped by unobtrusive cameras that feed into two stacked monitors nearby. Motion-detectors attached to the screens monitor the movements of the aforementioned fish, and send electrical charges to towers with plastic slinky-like respirators. The resulting discharges of air are directed into beat-up brass instruments that announce the activities of the marine life.

Keny Marshall must be some sort of mad genius to have dreamed up such a scheme. As the piece's title suggests, it is a commentary on "patterns or connections in random or meaningless data." Yet it elicits a consideration of the very nature of concepts like "random" and "meaningless". Such carefully orchestrated harnessing of instinctual animal behavior suggests an intricately manipulative plan, whereby the artist has become the divine arbiter of fate. Through his contraption, Marshall articulates a dialogue between chance and creation. And it's all accentuated by an aesthetic reminiscent of the post-industrial tableus of Jean Pierre-Jeunet and Marc Caro (City of Lost Children, Delicatessen).

But why rely on my rather heavy-handed attempts to describe "Apophenia"? You may have missed the opening, but the exhibit continues until December 31st. Make it a point to come out and see this wildly inspired grand design.