Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Skyscraper Index

The emerging Dubai debacle is only starting to play out but it looks like another case of the world's tallest building heralding a major market top.

"The Skyscraper Index is a concept put forward in January 1999[1] by Andrew Lawrence, research director at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein,[2] which showed that the world's tallest buildings have risen on the eve of economic downturns.[3] Business cycles and skyscraper construction correlate[4] in such a way that investment in skyscrapers peaks when cyclical growth is exhausted and the economy is ready for recession.[5] The buildings may actually be completed after the onset of the recession or later, when another business cycle pulls the economy up, or even cancelled.[5] Unlike earlier instances of similar reasoning ("height is a barometer of boom"[6]), Lawrence used skyscraper projects as a predictor of economic crisis, not boom.

Lawrence started his paper as a joke (emphasized by a title referencing a comedy show[1]) and based his "index" on mere comparison of historical data, primarily from the United States experience. He dismissed overall construction and investment statistics, focusing only on record-breaking projects.[4] The first notable example was the Panic of 1907. Two record-breaking skyscrapers, the Singer Building and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower, were launched in New York before the panic and completed in 1908 and 1909, respectively. Met Life remained the world's tallest building until 1913. Another string of supertall towers - 40 Wall Street, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building - was launched shortly before to the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The next record holders, World Trade Center towers and Sears Tower, opened up in 1973, during the 1973–1974 stock market crash and the 1973 oil crisis. The last example available to Lawrence, Petronas Twin Towers, opened up in the wake of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and held the world height record for five years. Lawrence linked the phenomenon to overinvestment, speculation and monetary expansion but did not elaborate these underlying issues.[4] The concept was revived in 2005, when Fortune warily observed five media corporations investing in new skyscrapers on Manhattan[3] (none of them, including the tallest New York Times Building, broke any records"

Singer Building
Met Life Tower

Panic Of 1907

40 Wall Street
Chrysler Building
Empire State Building

1929 Stock Market Crash/ Great Depression

Sears Tower
World Trade Center

1973-74 Stock Market Crash/ 73 Oil Crisis

Petronas Twin Towers

1997 Asian Financial Crisis

But here comes the doooozy

2008 World Financial Crisis

Social Media And Economic Development

Jim Russell @ Burgh Diaspora talks about economic development professionals finally warming up to the use of social media and provides this link.

"Social media–in the form of tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and blogs–are starting to transform how we live our lives. When it comes to the world of economic development, social media usage is growing, but not yet as a consistent part of the practitioner's tool kit.

A recent survey sponsored by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and Development Counsellors International (DCI) took a deeper look at the state of social media among economic developers. The survey asked more than 300 IEDC members about their use of social media and its role in their organizational strategies and communications efforts.

The survey results clearly indicate that social media is still a "new thing" for economic developers. While 57 percent of respondents use social media in their organization's communications efforts, most of this use has only begun in the past year. In fact, of those using social media, only 37 percent of respondents have used social media for longer than one year. As DCI President and Chief Creative Officer Andy Levine noted, "Economic development groups are just getting their feet wet with social media. We're in the very early days of this work."

Skipping ahead:

"Finally, Levine expects to see a lot of innovations in the use of social media. For example, he envisions that communities could create "digital ambassadors" to discuss the benefits of living and working in a certain region or community. These ambassadors, people who have many Facebook followers or LinkedIn connections, would serve as a very credible advocate for local economic development efforts. He expects to see lots of experimentation and new approaches over the next several years."

Of course, the basic premise is absurd. Almost every city already has dozens, if not hundreds and thousands of bloggers, Tweeters and such eager to hype their favorite city street,urban park, event, band, gallery, house tour, or private business.

The trick is often to just unleash them or at least not actively stand in their way with no photography policies and other barriers as many still do.

The viral success of an event like Artprize owed largely using this energy to market the event and the city.

Not surprisingly places like Youngstown with meager resources are leading the charge towards innovation and openness.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Barden's Majestic Star Files For Bankruptcy

Chart From Wall Street Journal

Desperate Gary, Indiana now a major creditor.

"Gary and Majestic Star, the owner of both local casino licenses, have been in negotiations for years now over its local development agreement. Former Mayor Scott King signed an amendment to that agreement in 2005 which required Majestic Star to pay the city 6 percent of its adjusted gross revenue.

Previous agreements set that amount at 7 percent. It also capped the maximum amount of money Majestic Star would pay to Gary at $6 million annually.

However, attorneys for Mayor Rudy Clay have disputed the validity of that agreement because it wasn't approved by Gary's Board of Public Works and Safety. In February 2008, Majestic Star filed a lawsuit against the city, asking a judge to sort out the matter."

How far off we are from this situation is open to debate but so far revenues from the new Rivers Casino are far below the company's projections even as the city's need for cash grows.

"I believe this stopgap funding measure is crucial," said state Rep. Chelsa Wagner. She added that a long-term solution may come if the General Assembly dedicates 1 percent of Rivers Casino table games revenue to libraries."

CityCenter In Las Vegas Makes A Big Bet On Public Art And Urban Design

Sorry, yet another post not directly about the arts in Pittsburgh which does however touch on both art and urban design.

Las Vegas has some real problems, but developers are still placing bets that Vegas can transcend gambling or destination tourism and attract wealthy people interested in an "urban lifestyle".

This doesn't exactly look like something Jane Jacobs would recognize or support, but it's also dramatically different from the totally car centric Vegas of the 60's.

"The $8.5 billion hotel/living/dining/entertainment/shopping destination is billed as the largest privately funded construction project in the USA and is considered Vegas' big gamble. Its lack of emphasis on gaming (only Aria has a casino), edgy style and city-within-a-city layout are "the next step in the evolution of Vegas," says CityCenter CEO Bobby Baldwin– unlike anything yet seen in the USA's adult Disneyland."

Time will tell how this plays out. As you can see from the video, Art plays a big role in this project.

Read the USA Today article here.

Update: Key CityCenter Investor Dubai World asks for a debt moratorium.

"Dubai World, one of the emirate's main state holding companies, said it was asking for a delay on maturities until at least May 30. It has $60bn (£35.9bn) in declared liabilities and one of its subsidiaries, the "palm island" developer Nakheel, is due a $3.52bn Islamic bond repayment, plus charges, on December 14."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rick DeVos Talks About Artprize

I found two long but very interesting videos which delve deeper into the event and the broad range of responses to it.

What's clear is that big questions have been raised on all kinds of levels (not just about art) and more importantly they are being asked by almost everyone in the community.

The first video is a kind of three person panel, centered around the project's founder and original funder, Rick DeVos but most of it involves questions from a very engaged audience. (can't seem to embed video,follow link)

All kinds of topics are touched on in this video but generally most are art related.

Few "formally trained "arts professionals" like university faculty, arts administrators, curators and the like had ever dealt with the energy level and passion this thing brought out.

It's also very clear that Rick pushed this snowball in a downhill direction without almost no idea how big it might get or what it's final results might be. He knows it--and that's what's so great about it.

Museums, local venues of all kinds, Businesses and the city government were forced to actively collaborate with each other(and more than a thousand artists) in a short time frame with scarce resources or risk a spectacular public failure.

PLEASE WATCH, I really think it's worth it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Carol Coletta Talks About ArtPrize Grand Rapids

Carol Coletta, the head of CEO's for cities has a great take on the ArtPrize contest.

Of course she has to take a gratuitous backhanded shot at it's founder Rick DeVos, the wealthy son of one of Amway's co-founders, described as "famously conservative". In fact, Amway's founders would be far more accurately described as Libertarian and pro free market.

It should be obvious, that I love the Art Prize idea for the same reason I love Jane Jacobs in that both DeVos and Jacobs placed faith in the abilities, energy and creativity of individuals over self appointed experts and bureaucracies.

"ArtPrize also proves the value of rapid (in this case, lightning-fast) prototyping. This initiative went from zero to 1,200 artists in five months. Although DeVos always intended that the competition would be decentralized, the timeline forced him to pursue radical decentralization. And that led to rapid prototyping. As DeVos put it, “We had so little time that we were forced to admit when stuff was not working. We just tried something else.”

Another lesson demonstrated by ArtPrize is the value of giving people permission to be entrepreneurial. Artists, by nature, are risk-takers. They make things that are unfamiliar and new to the rest of us, then send their creations out into the world to be judged by the rest of us. But ArtPrize was a platform for entrepreneurship at a massive scale—for artists promoting their work with their own networks, for venue owners, for bloggers, for those promoting Grand Rapids, and for ArtPrize voters.

Finally, ArtPrize organized as a platform rather than as an institution. It completely defied the convention of nonprofits."

That's right folks-- they offered a tidy cash prize and then actually allowed creative people to be creative-- something very rare, these days.

I'm not at all sure the lessons learned here will be copied by many but something very powerful might have been unleashed.

Let's Have A Jane's Walk In Pittsburgh

Been visiting NYC again, going to museums and walking the streets and looking at the endlessly fascinating fabric of the city at ground level. Why people choose to live here and not there? why are some blocks crowded and others empty and dangerous? It's always interesting.

I always want to kiss the ground (umm-- not wise) and remember how close the city came to being destroyed by starry eyed urban planners armed with billions in Federal tax dollars. Jane yelled stop and asked people to walk the streets of their cities and look and and think about the practical, common sense things that made them tick. Sadly, most people didn't listen.

"All Hypotheses get tested in the real world"

For the last three years a project called Jane's Walk has invited volunteer guides to take people around and talk about the unique things that work well and make their neighborhoods special.

"Each of the participating cities in Jane’s Walk finds its own volunteer tour guides to conduct walking tours. Some tours focus on heritage sites, while others explore the nooks and crannies of the city. From great hangouts for kids to ethnic business and residential enclaves, the tours and their leaders are diverse like cities themselves."

The list of Jane's Walks from 2009

Dayton, Ohio
Jackson, Mississippi
Moscow, Idaho
New Orleans
New York City
Oklahoma City
Salt Lake City
San Francisco
Spanish Harlem, New York City
Starkville, Mississippi
St. Louis

Notice a trend-- almost no "rust belt" cities on this list and Jane's hometown of Scranton isn't either.

Some Canadian Cities with walks (Jane moved to Toronto in the late sixties)

Brant County, Ontario

Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. See complete list here!

And--- the coolest walk so far has got to be a Jane's walk in Mumbai!

Anyway, if nobody else takes this up for 2010, I guess I would guide a tour myself, something I honestly don't think I'd be too qualified to do.

The most fun might be to have several people who know a neighborhood well to guide a walk together with each adding their thoughts and knowledge about an area's history, design and inner logic.

Kandinsky Retrospective at the Gugghenheim through January 13th

A trip to N.Y.C. last week resulted in a whole lot of trekking through museum exhibits, and seeing dazzling work, work that was ground-breaking when it was produced. Specifically, I am referring to exhibits of Kandinsky, O'Keefe and Blake.

First: Kandinsky at the Gugghenheim. The paintings are wonderful (well, not so much the later period). Anyone who loves painting should not miss this exhibit. A lot of great material is available about this exhibit, including an excellent video of the exhibit on the Gugghenheim website.
So I am providing three links, and I will keep my own comments to a minimum.

I will say though that I think some will discount Kandinsky too quickly for producing beautiful paintings. But the power and depth is also there, and it is unmistakable. In the same vein, I think his passion, as seen not only in his work, but in his writings on art, can also get him too easily dismissed, again by some, as somehow not deep enough. But there is a LOT in Kandinsky. I always think of the following quote when I see a piece of work that is "out of it's era" so to speak, and hence looks not too interesting.

From: Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1912)

"Every work is a child of its time, often it is the mother of our emotions.
Thus, every period of culture produces its own art, which can never be repeated. Any attempt to give new life to the artistic principles of the past can at best only result in a work of art that resembles a stillborn child. For example, it is impossible for our inner lives, our feelings, to be like those of the ancient Greeks. Efforts, therefore to apply Greek priciples, e.g., to sculpture, can only produce forms similar to those employed by the Greeks, a work that remains soulless for all time."



Boston Globe review:

New York Times review:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hollywood Theater "Making Going to the Movies Fun Again" Great "New" Repertory Cinema Venue

After coming back from a trip to NYC (by the way, posts about various museum exhibits there will be posted here over the next few days), I was excited to see an ad in CP for the "Hollywood Theater". I assumed it had just opened, but I later learned it has been open for a couple of months.

The Hollywood Theater is in Dormont. From Shadyside, where I live, it is about a 20 minute drive. And well worth it. A non-profit has renovated an old movie thater there and is showing a broad range of films at low prices.....6 dollars! This week's schedule includes The Big Lebowski, Breakfast at Tiffany's and the Manchurian Candidate.

A terrific addition to the local film scene! I used to go to this theater before it closed in 1998. It was beautiful but really run down. The residents of Dormont did a great thing in getting this place renovated and up and running again!
Hollywood Theter website:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Poems For Disaster

Another Friday and more bank failures, (some big ones last week too)fortunately, our poet master at Calculated Risk has their juices flowing.

Combined losses for just the three banks closed yesterday, may be 1 Billion to the FDIC fund. Remember when that was a lot of money?

Suited Bureaucrats
Waiting for critical mass
Century flames out

by Soylent Green is People

"The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $344 million. ... Century Bank, FSB is the 121st FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the tenth in Florida. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Flagship National Bank, Bradenton, on November 6, 2009."

Also gone Orion Bank in Naples, Florida which had assets of 2.7 Billion and deposits of about 2.1 billion.

"The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be $615 million. ... Orion Bank is the 122nd FDIC-insured institution to fail in the nation this year, and the eleventh in Florida. The last FDIC-insured institution closed in the state was Century Bank, Sarasota, FL, earlier today."

A number of these banks had previously received Tarp infusions which are now gone. While only thee were taken down, this is likely because the FDIC is too overwhelmed and overworked to do more. More cynical types might suspect they are also very reluctant to hit the public with too many big losses at once and are trying to contain the media coverage. It's working.

Losses at the FHA soon will be too big to hide.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thad Mosley Reviewed In Art In America November Issue

In spite of Pittsburgh's higher profile in the broader media, reviews of area shows in National Art Magazines are very rare-- perhaps more so than they were even in the 1980's and early 90's.

Thad Mosley's amazing mini retrospective at the Mattress Factory got a very nice review by Melisa Kuntz in this month's Art in America which doesn't seem to be online yet.

Taking a small chance-- I am typing in the first paragraph since I agree fully with her words.

"The work of Thaddeus Mosley might seem derivative at first glance: the influences of Noguchi, Brancusi, Giacometti and African Art are evident. Yey closer consideration of his prolific career reframes the work, and Mosley emerges as an artist driven obsessively to explore endless permutations of his chosen medium."

I'd steal more but -- here is her closing.

"Each of the 78 exceptional works is proof of his inexhaustible commitment to one medium and evidence that imitation does not preclude brilliance."

One great thing is that Thad is good at speaking for himself. In this video he talks about his process.

Anyway-- buy the issue.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pittsburgh Art Events: 11/ 13-14/09.

There are plenty of art-related odds-and-ends around town this weekend. They are dispersed throughout the city, so you'll have to put a bit of thought into what you might be desirous of seeing.


I've never attended a faculty art show at CCAC, but I am aware that some of the most passionate educators can be found at our nations' community colleges. You can see the annual show over at 808 Ridge Road on the Northside campus between 5-7PM.

Last week, it was puzzling to discover that the new Fast>>forward Gallery (3700 Penn Ave) had apparently decided to distance itself a bit from the monthly Unblurred event. I noticed its conspicuous absence on the promotional literature. But I've recently discovered that the reason it wasn't open was because co-founder Craig Freeman had a solo down at Zombo Gallery. That explains this week's opening reception for Breath Deep: An Ecological Exhibition by Ross Hardy (6-10PM).

And while we are on the subject, there's another 2-day exhibition at the Zombo Gallery. This one is entitled Mod as a Hatter (that's cute... right?) and features work by someone named CZM. I've also caught wind of the news that Zombo and Co. will soon have regular hours, when they open up their doors (4900 Hatfield Street) for a fashion boutique. Sometimes I wonder where Michael and Julie find the energy and time to be involved with their various projects.

You can also catch the unveiling of Matt Marino's current preoccupations at the Crazy Mocha in Bloomfield (4525 Liberty Ave), and stop by the grand opening of Gallery Sim (1735 East Carson St.) in the South Side. Kathleen Zimbicki has curated the show at this location. It's been awhile since there has been a viable cultural presence on that side of town, but who knows? A few venues have been active down there lately. Might there be a third "First Friday" art walk soon?


The ToonSeum opens its doors for the first time at 10AM. It is one of only three museums in the nation dedicated to the art of cartooning. From what I hear, it will focus heavily on the type of strips that have been delighting American newspaper readers for over a century. I've also been told that Bill from Copacetic Comics Co. has been asked to run the gift shop, AND that he'll be offering some pretty sweet specials for the occasion of the Grand Opening. The ToonSeum is located at 945 Liberty Avenue, downtown.

Luke & Eloy Gallery
(5169 Butler St.) has a daytime reception (11AM-5PM) for Paper or Plastic, a group show featuring stuff by creators from across the country, and you can follow that up with a visit to the Christine Frechard Gallery (5871 Forbes Ave) in Squirrel Hill. Hisham and Kamal Youssef are the featured artists there, and the opening lasts from 5-8PM. If it's anything like their inaugural event, you should get there early if you want some of the divine refreshments they put out.

If you'd prefer to get out of town (but not that far), you can venture out to DV8 Espresso Bar & Gallery in Greensburg (208 South Pennsylvania Avenue) for a solo show of Gabe Felice's intricate and fantastical paintings. Felice regularly produces an output of wondrous images on wood that suggest medieval engravings and illuminated manuscripts. If you went to see the Visionary Arts Festival this past August at Schenley Plaza, you would have had a hard time missing Gabe, toiling in front of his tent, and working up a back stock of affordable inventory.

Event Date: Friday, April 2, 2010
Where: First Friday "Unblurred" on Penn Avenue/ Penn Avenue Business District
Why: A Celebration of Green Industry and Tech Wizardry

Festival Statement: As Southwestern Pennsylvania's premiere Art + Technology Festival, The GAGI or Geek Art and Green Innovators Festival is platform for showcasing all that is new, unique and experimental in the green and technology industries in Pittsburgh and beyond.

We're building this festival by showcasing your ingenuity!
We're looking for:
Digital Media
Green Technology both simple and complex
Sound Experimentation

Tell us what YOU want to do!
If your submission or idea is accepted, we'll find a venue for you to do it!

ALSO: Information Tables available in our "Green Room" info Center.
Part gallery, part green/tech Central for companies who want to do community outreach and get the word out! 8x10 table Just $50

Submissions and Ideas to: <>

RESPONSE DEADLINE: November 30, 2009
For more information visit:
Or Email
Looking forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Defend The Taxpayer Videogame: Bailout Wars

Gotta love this new video game. The naked game of looting the "public purse" for private gain is getting so blatant there's even a game now called Bailout Wars.

"Hope you got some fast fingers because this is what Bailout Wars is all about. You have to protect the White House full of money by ways of your finger. You have your classic poking the enemies which cause some enemies to explode, and you have your flicking of enemies which cause some enemies to lift off the ground and fly in the air. Only some tactics are used to stop enemies and others require combinations"

Version one includes enemies like "bankers, investment bankers, and CEOs but future games could include literally thousands of special interest looters, defence contractors, corrupt road contractors, union bosses, welfare goons, politicians and perhaps NFL, NHL and NBA owners eager to claim their sacred "projects" are in "the public interest".

Of course the idea there's a war is absurd, they just walk in and grab the cash. Why would the president or congress protect it? Did they earn it?

"Louis XIV had left France with serious financial difficulties. Ultimately, Louis XV failed to overcome these fiscal problems, mainly because he was incapable of putting together conflicting parties and interests in his entourage. At Versailles, the king and the nobility surrounding him showed signs of boredom, signalling a monarchy in steady decline. Worse, Louis seemed to be aware of the forces of anti-monarchism threatening his family's rule and yet failed to do anything to stop them. Popular legend holds that Louis predicted, "After me, the flood" ("Après moi, le déluge"). In fact this quotation is more precisely attributed to Madame de Pompadour, although it is not certain that even she ever said it."

Monday, November 09, 2009

Amerasians in Korea See Themselves in Hines Ward

Listening to the Steeler Game-- kind of a classic reminding one of the Steeler 2006 season with some great Ben drives, (a few screw ups) Polamalu back at his best; a clock cleaner by Harrison and of course some great play by Hines Ward.

The Times had a nice story on the impact his achievements and celebrity have had on Korea's small biracial population. Ward,is a national hero there.

"The plight of biracial children in South Korea was largely ignored until 2006, when Ward was the most valuable player of Super Bowl XL. Koreans were quick to make the link to his Korean heritage.

That spring, Ward and his mother, Young He Ward, visited South Korea for the first time since Ward was a baby nearly 30 years earlier. They were mobbed by television cameras and gawking fans. They were honored by the South Korean president.

“I got more love there than I did in the States,” Ward said.

Ward was only starting to understand the underlying hypocrisy. Biracial children in South Korea recognized it instantly."

Anyway, Ward has been playing a big role in changing things. Likely, you know all about it but still a great read.

“They liked someone because he is famous,” So said. “If you are not famous, they are very cold. So I was happy, but also bitter.”

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Pittsburgh Art Events: 11/ 6-7/09.


For some reason, I've been particularly anticipating this month's Unblurred. The last couple of weekends have been dead on the local arts scene, and I'm looking forward to what the various venues will be putting out.

I'm most excited to find out that artist, curator, educator, and former gallery-owner Bob Ziller is opening up a book store! It's located at the old Red Star Ironworks garage at 4810 Penn Ave. Ziller says that he is starting with an inventory of 3400 books, and that everything will be priced at 50% listed price. He's also doing another installment of his Pittsburgh Beautification Project, so stop in and find out what that is all about.

Meanwhile, "Pigeon Pair" is at Modern Formations (4919 Penn Avenue), serving up the work of Christian Breitkreutz & Jason Rosemeyer. I've been keeping an eye on C.B., and I'm eager to track his development.

The building housing the misleadingly-named International Children's Art Gallery (5020) is opening all three of its floors. The second will feature recent stuff by James Maszle, and Richard Rappaport will be up-top.

There will also be music by Brass Chariot, Duane Jones Duo and Al Zavacky at the new Irma Freeman Center for Imagination (5006 Penn), a group show at Garfield Artworks (with Maggie Black from WV), Cory Bonnet & Ryan Dunmeyer at Most Wanted Fine Art (5015 Penn Ave), and creations on glass by Joseph Holtz at Imagebox.

Shadyside offers its monthly dose of openings as well. Gallerie Chiz (5831 Ellsworth Avenue) has a group show called "A Convivial Collection...New Creations" that includes work by Philippe Paulin Derville, Ben Oddi, Joyce Werwie Perry, Carlos Sanchez-Vegas & Randie Snow. It runs from 6-9PM. Patrick Ruane is over at Gallery in the Square (5850 Ellsworth Avenue), and the Mendelson Gallery has Bob and Paul Bowden (6-9PM).


Zombo Gallery (4900 Hatfield St.) returns with another one of its idiosyncratic weekend shows. You get the opening on Friday, and if you miss that... the closing on Saturday (6-10 PM, both nights). This time around, it's "Lickity-Split!" with Craig Freeman , supplemented by sculptures by Seth LeDonne. Don't miss the madness of this space.

If you never made your way over to Moxie Dada at the Firehouse in the North Side (1416 Arch Street), this absolutely and without reservation will be your very last chance. The closing for "Dia De Los Muertos Y La Resurreccion: The Existencial Crisis" runs from 6-9PM. If you have been a regular habitue of the space, then I'm sure you'll recognize a lot of the creators represented. While it's sad to see such a stalwart of the local scene pass on, it will be exciting to see what the people behind Moxie Dada do next. Its proprietors have ensured me that they are not giving up, but just moving on to other projects.

Oh, and by the way... the Three Rivers Film Festival opens this weekend, and you can find a list of the events here.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Shepard Fairey at the Warhol Causes Quite a Stir

Fairey's work was often very large, and an anchor for work of other NYC street artists....see faint image of Mao above the wolf's head on right side. This image is from 11 Spring street (today....the building houses truly luxury condos) Now Fairey is both famous enough and legally at risk enough that he prefers venues such as Warhol Museum...see his opening, below.
Shepard Fairey's exhibit at the Warhol Museum opened October 17th at the Warhol. It was absolutely jammed. Fairey's artwork has serious young hipster credentials. And young hipsters were there in force. The line to get in literally went around the block.

The work is is very good. I have a particular fondness for his street art as I have taken photos of his images in New York in combination with works by other street artists. His giant Mao poster was an anchor for a ton of other smaller images that then accumulated at the corner of Spring and Elizabeth Streets in the Nolita area of downtown NYC.
However, I was rather taken a back by the review in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette asking if Fairey could be Warhol's heir ....well NO!!! Most simply because Warhol's influence on pop culture and fine art was mind bogglingly broad...movies, music, photos, painting, as well as prints...and on and on.
But it is a great review, and you can read it here
Wall posters of his artwork are up, legally, all over Pittsburgh. See the story on the terrific PGH art blog Bitterweet Harvest here
There was a lot of additional media buzz after the opening about something Fairey said about which photo he used for the Obama poster...and how it meant he {Fairey} had or hadn't told the truth about...something...?? (who can keep UP with all this stuff)!!
The Fairey exhibit at the Warhol is up through early January.
Finally to wrap up...........during all the hoopla about Fairey I have heard VERY little in the local press reminding us of a burning issue that connects Pittsburgh and Fairey....are we that polite???!!!!
Ofcourse, I refer to the shocking lawsuit that Fairey filed against local hero Steeler baby. Ofcourse, "we" won. Fairey dropped his suit.
Read the story on Gawker here
The Steeler Baby website is here
Even though the suit is settled,I expected to see protesters at the exhibit opening...but there were none!!!