Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pittsburgh Art Events: 5/29-30/09.

My apologies for not posting a weekend round-up here last week… I needed to get out of town, and I focused on preparing for that instead. But this weekend holds some surprises for you and yours, so grab a cup of coffee and peruse your options.


While it’s true that I simply don’t go out to movies anymore, I feel compelled to mention a documentary film playing at the Melwood Screening Room in Oakland (8PM, both Friday and Saturday). “New Muslim Cool” concerns a former drug dealer named Jason Perez, who formed a community of Muslims, and moved to Pittsburgh’s own North Side. I won’t belabor you with the details, but I do encourage you to read more about the film over on the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s website. There is a reception at 7PM on Saturday night.


At first I didn’t think anything art-related was going on this weekend, but my internet meanderings brought light to a number of events that I believe would be worth checking out.

If you are so inclined, you might want to check out “Comin at Ya ... Another 15 Minutes of Photos by Eric Holmes” at La Fond Gallery in the South Side (1711 East Carson St) sometime between 6 and 8PM. There are so few galleries left in this neighborhood that it’s pretty much off my radar anymore- but I know Holmes from back in the day, and I’d like to see him get a good turnout. He’s been a local supporter of Pittsburgh arts for years, and so y'all should return the favor.

On the Larryville tip, Fe Gallery (4102 butler St.) will host a reception for new works by local art school undergrads. It’s great to see this non-profit so active in the scene, and it’d be a shame if its productions weren’t well-attended. Go see “Grade A” some time between 7 and 9PM.

Fortunately for you and your tired dogs, your next destination is only a few yards from Fe. Your Inner Vagabond (4130 Butler St.) is having a “Granada Arts Education Project Benefit” featuring an art and poster exhibit, as well as bands (starting at 7P). The idea behind this thing is that teachers can integrate the arts into any subject area they teach. That’s good stuff I can get behind. Plus I do enjoy the venue AND Machete is one of the bands performing. If I wasn’t already committed to seeing another musical performance tomorrow night, this is where I would be.

Instead, starting at 10PM I’ll be over in the North Side at the New Hazlett Theater (6 Allegheny Square East). My buddy Slim Cessna is performing with his son George and local bass guitar hero Rob Loveclutch. Cessna’s been on a European tour with the Auto Club for the last couple of months, and it’s just a good feeling to know he’s back in town. If you haven’t seen his local combo (and you haven’t unless you were at the Zombo Galley in December), then you need to make an appearance. It’s an all ages show, but I implore you not to let that put you off- it’s only $3 stinkin’ bucks and there’s a bar area too.


Occasionally the gall of local organizers, planners, and city functionaries is so prominent that I have to remember to breathe. Such is the case with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. They have planned a “Children’s Carousel Tea” to be held at Schenley Park at 11AM. Now, that’s all well and good until you consider the price tag- $25 per kid and $50 per adult. For that nominal fee, attendees are promised lunch, treats and rides on the Merry-Go-Round. Awesome. Global recession, anybody?!

Believe it or not, cheaper entertainment is to be had on Saturday evening. Panza Gallery (115 Sedgwick Street, Millvale) offers an opening reception for the works of three artists-
Mark McLaughlin, Gloria Dufresne, and Pat Lee. The hours for this event are 6-9PM.

Afterwards pay Gooski’s (3117 Brereton Street) in Polish Hill a visit, and support the “Art What You Got Benefit Show” (starting at 9PM). This annual arts festival is only in its second year, so get on board while it’s still hip. UkuLizzy, DJ Mary Mack, and folk-pop band Horse Or Cycle will be providing you entertainment for the mere price of $5.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Deconstruction Workers


I had mentioned last week that I was going to swing by for the opening of Penumbrae. I had a great conversation with Andre and Laurie about language, iconography and logographics with a smattering of journaling. Penumbrae is a continuing collaboration which will hopefully reach its next edition at another venue. Deconstruction Workers have mounted their own blog about the project. Their most recent post has some great installation shots of Construct 1.0. Following is a brief description from the artists about this collaborative effort --

Deconstruction Workers (Andres Ortiz Ferrari and Laurie Trok) are opening their first collaborative installation this Saturday night at Monk’s (3634 Penn Avenue) from 7-11 PM.

Penumbrae :: Construct 1.0 explores the relationships between shadows and form by creating an environment filled with paper cutouts and stencils that ebb and flow through the space. Inspired by cave drawings, petroglyphs, and street art, the Deconstruction Workers weave iconic glyphic imagery through an endless web of contrast, evoking a primordial yet modern sacred space that changes and moves as the viewer finds their way through this other world. Filled with a parallel entanglement of lyriform sound, chaos finds its order.

Head over to Monk’s on Saturday and experience a space of partial illumination, as shadow covers, surrounds and obscures a dreamlike cosmos.

( $20 gets you a stencil of the artists’ choice when the show comes down next month! ) email for details.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

100 Bowling Pins by 100 Artists! @Arsenal Lanes

Hee! Okay, this was fun...


I swung by Arsenal Lanes last night to check out Art Goes Bowling. It was a lot of fun; re-purposed bowling pins were everywhere. One of the artists told me about the making of bowling pins and how, sometimes when they are deemed worn out, the inner core is basically pulverized. Little bit of trivia, there.

Anyway, the crowd and the show were a blast. It sounds like this is a yearly event, so when it rolls around next year, make sure you head over. Following is a blurb from Zombo about the exhibit --
"100 Bowling Pins by 100 Artist!" Yes, the second time we get 100 bowling pins out to ANY and ALL artist and have an Art Goes Bowling show at Arsenal Lanes in Lawrenceville. Come by Zombo Gallery or drop me an email to get your bowling pin to paint/sculpt/mosaic/etc. and sell it and pay no commission when it sells. The last show with pins was HUGE..don't miss it. The show is at Arsenal Lanes and features live entertainment, bowling and best of all your artwork!

Zombo Gallery
4900 Hatfield St.
Pgh, PA 15201

And here's my favorites --


Laurenty Josep (This was really cool. The colored tubes were neon. Use your imagination, 'kay?)


Pete Moon


Masha Vereshchenko




Gary Weiss


Jason Boone

Thursday, May 21, 2009

pen-um-brae construct 1.0 @Monk's


You know, I think I'll swing by Monk's this Saturday. This looks like it could be pretty awesome. The artists, Andres Ortiz-Ferrari and Laurie Trok, have put together an album of installation shots that are intriguing. The work is loosely defined, but it seems to be for only one night. I'll bring back a report sometime next week. But in the meantime, see if the slideshow is enough to convince you to go. It convinced me.

Saturday, May 23, 2009
7:00pm - 11:00pm
3634 penn avenue
Pittsburgh, PA

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pittsburgh Art Events: 5/15-16/09


The place to be tomorrow night is definitely Lawrenceville. Regular readers of my events updates probably shouldn’t be surprised by this. The L-Ville is firmly establishing itself as the most culturally diverse and stimulating neighborhood in the ‘Burgh.

Both The Framery (4735 Butler Street) and the Gallery on 43rd Street are having opening receptions. Elise Rugolo and Adrienne Borkowski are presenting their work at the former space, under the title “Traces of Light”. Rugolo makes mixed –media paintings and Borkowski is another among a large group of regionally-based assemblage artists. Meanwhile Diane Grguras is over on 43rd with a collection of pastel pieces.

After you’ve seen what you wanted at those locations, stop by the Fe Gallery @ 4102 Butler Street for their 5th Anniversary Celebration. Various artists (including yours truly) have donated their work to benefit this non-profit arts space. Reportedly, local luminaries like George Davis, Brian Holderman, and Rick Byerly have also chipped in to help. There will be a DJ (Kelly Carter of Milk Records), as well as refreshments at this party, so don’t whine about the $5 admissions fee. It jumps off at 8PM.


There are a lot of yard and garage sales happening this weekend, so head on over to the Pittsburgh Craigslist and peep the listings. I’m not going to hip you to my intended destinations (don’t want the treasure-hunting competition, after all), but I am putting you on alert anyway.

Also, the Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival will be held at the South Side Riverfront Park starting at 11AM on the 16th. They’ve got displays, music, dance, martial arts, food, art and textiles. And can you guess the common thread? Asian culture, of course. It’s free and you have no excuse to miss it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Legacy: Kim Curinga @Box Heart

Erased 20" X 24", Digital Collage on Canvas

Kim Curinga's Legacy exhibit at Box Heart should go on your list of exhibits to see in May. I've seen Ms. Curinga's work before; this time, she is printing her large-scale digital works on canvas. On canvas, the works are even richer than on paper. The deeps appear deeper and there is a surprising amount of subtle undertones to the color.

I am partial to the figures in Legacy. From Box Heart's description --
... Curinga's work is a journey. It tells a story, has a history. It has to come from a personal place for her to create a piece. It will always be changing. It has to for her to keep creating. It may change from week to week. After a series is finished in her head, she is ready to move on. Curinga will stay on a series until she is tired of it, only to switch to another as her mood changes. But all series and styles are ultimately ongoing. Read more here

Yes, there is a sense of narrative to the work. But overwhelming the narrative is some pretty strong emotional content. The works presented from Curnga's Nude series are raw, unabashed and stark. Erased, pictured above, is one of the strongest from this series, providing a vector for self examination that most women might find uncomfortable to travel.

The exhibit is up through My 23.

April 28 - May 23
Digital Paintings by: Kim Curinga
Box Heart Gallery
4523 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
P. 412 687 8858
Gallery Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday: 10 AM - 6 PM
Sunday: 1 PM - 5 PM

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Arts funding in Pennsylvania

The Citizen's for the Arts in Pennsylvania recently mounted a campaign to recover funding for the arts in the state budget. From their email --
Late yesterday afternoon (May 6), the Pennsylvania Senate passed SB 850, which included zero funding for arts grants through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), by a 30-20 vote. ...

... We may have lost this battle but we haven't lost the war. On Monday, House Appropriations Chair Dwight Evans introduced the House budget bill (HB 1416) which includes $14 million for arts grants. The House will act on this piece of legislation later this month.

You can find out how your representative voted here. At the same time that the state budget was under discussion, President Obama approved a 4% increase in the National Endowment for the Arts in the federal budget. The Pennsylvania Council for the Arts and the the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation are both partners of the NEA and receive at least partial funding from the federal budget. These budgets will affect the 2010 fiscal year.

These funding streams affect larger projects, museums and cultural attractions. It also affects social and educational programs that are artist-driven. Although the funding that actually makes it into the pockets of art makers is a fairly small percentage of these budgets, the affect on the economy is far-flung. From the recommended letter to your state representative, offered by Citizen's for the Arts --
State support of nonprofit arts organizations is vital to preserving our rich cultural heritage but also important in creating a healthy economy in Pennsylvania. In a recent economic study done by Americans for the Arts, nonprofit arts organizations pump approximately $1 billion into the annual economy. That's an impressive return on an investment of only $14 million.

So, if you haven't already done so, contact your state representative. Make sure they know how important this issue is to you and your community.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Pittsburgh Weekend "Art" Events: 5/7-8/09.

If you were considering taking a roadtrip out of Pittsburgh, the upcoming weekend would be a nice time to do it. Not surprisingly (given the onslaught of diverse options last weekend) there isn’t a whole lot going on over the next couple of days. I suppose this will give you a convenient excuse to hang out with your mother. Just don’t mention the great abyss in the schedule to her, and it will be a pleasant surprise.

Anyway, I suppose it’s all for the good. I had a hell of a time narrowing the highlights a week ago. So here we go…

Thursday, Friday, Saturday

I don’t know much about dance, but I’m assuming the NewMOVES Contemporary Dance Festival at the Kelly-Strayhorn Performing Arts Center is worth a look-see over the next three days. From the little I’ve read about it, it seems to be an opportune chance to see a diverse selection of newer works by local choreographers. Dance Alloy, Attack Theater, Point Park and independents will all be represented. Check out the program HERE.


Every year the Mattress Factory calls in a guest curator to put together “Gestures: An Exhibition of Small Site-Specific Works”. This year is the 12th installment, and the pivotal figure behind it is Katherine Talcott. Previously Talcott was responsible for the Three Rivers Arts Festival visual arts program, and she has also selected work to show at the 937 Liberty Avenue Gallery downtown. There are 19 participating regional artists, including Kenny Marshall, Atticus Adams and Rise Nagin. It all happens at the annex (1414 Monterrey St.) from 7-9PM. It costs ten bucks (which seems a little steeper than usual) for the rabble, and free for Pitt and CMU students with ID.

If fundraisers are more your speed, you can check out two of them in the L-Ville Friday night. Both support the Lawrenceville Resource Fair and Community Celebration- an event to occur in the Allegheny Cemetery on the last Saturday of this month. The fun starts at the New Amsterdam (6-8PM), and continues at Remedy (10-2PM). These will cost you a few bucks for admission, but you’ll get the benefit of the sounds spun by local DJ superstars. No one’s asking for any super-sized sacrifices- do something for someone else for a change, and drink cocktails while you are at it.


I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted to see the inside of a modern-day operating room without a bunch of bloody victims lying around. You can get a chance at Allegheny General Hospital this Saturday at 8AM. This is presented in part by the Association Of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN), the national association committed to improving patient safety in the surgical setting. For more information, call (412) 359-3808 or (412) 782-5439. They are even going to let you ask questions!!

After that, you might as well take in some sun (and good luck with that, my friend… I DID suggest a road trip, didn’t I?). The 12th Annual all-day Friendship Flower and Folk Festival is happening Saturday starting at 11AM. There will be lots of plants for sale, demonstrations, music, food, and raffles (why does anyone think those are a major draw?). It all goes down at Baum Grove (400 Roup Avenue). Come and find a healthy way to brown your thumb.

In the evening (6-9PM), make sure to visit Shawn Farester’s exhibition opening of sculptural pieces at Moxie Dada in the North Side (1416 Arch Street). The stuff’s made from metal and inspired by nature and “his interest in medieval times.” And Matt will likely be behind the bar, which in and of itself should be a major draw