Monday, December 27, 2010

From High Art to Low Art...From One "Ordinary Madness" to Another

That is "Ordinary Madness" at the Carnegie Museum of Art, and Steeler's Madness at the "Whatever It Takes" exhibit at Miller Gallery at CMU.
Ordinary Madness at the Carnegie is a terrific exhibit and high art in the best sense of the term. The exhibit is close to the end, only up through January 9th, so make haste to go if you want to see choice works by: Phillip Guston, Willem De Kooning, David Hockney,Tony Oursler, Charles Burchfield, Ed Ruscha and others, both well and less well-known. One hundred and seven works are included. Oridnary Madness refers to the premise that the "ordinary is in fact laced with the contradictory, uncanny, and surreal". I really enjoyed this exhibit. So much strong work by both famous and not so famous artists. For more information see

The exhibit "Whatever It Takes" at the Regina Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University draws from the everyday Steeler madness that is around us in Pittsburgh. The exhibit focuses on Steeler fan rituals, collections and obsessions. The exhibit is up through 1/30/11.The Steelers man cave, recreated from its basement home is amazing. A local cook? chef? Denny DeLuca who has painstakingly put his Steeler's memorabilia together in one room over the years recreated his space in the gallery.. It's fascinating. And the accompanying video of Mr. Deluca suggests that his collection is something he enjoys and has a sense of humor about. Whereas an item such as the Steeler's poodle....(a photo on exhibit) is much my view. For information on the exhibit,see

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Adventures in hot metal: Carley Parrish

It's been a week since I accepted Carley Parrish's gracious invitation to stretch my skills and try my hand at casting in her studio. It was a small group at the studio: Carley Parrish, Mike Walsh, Adam Castleforth, and my friend Laurie Trok and myself. I am a complete novice when it comes to this type of medium. Honestly, it was absolutely a wonderful experience. I have not retrieved my experiments yet, but I will follow up with an image of my attempt!

What Carley was concentrating on for the evening was a molten aluminum pour. She was casting in two different types of sand relief and lost wax casting. The sand reliefs were very immediate, and offered an opportunity to experiment with carving or pressing. One sand, for carving, was mixed with something to keep it stable and was good for carving a relief into. It kept marks very well. The other sand was softer and better for taking an imprint. This was where my friend, Laurie Trok, and I were working.

Carley Parrish and Mike Walsh were working with a combination of things. Both had lost wax pieces prepared and both were also preparing sand for casting in relief. Theirs were much more complex, of course, planned as components for later assembly. Mike Walsh was also preparing for an exhibit that opened on December 18 at The Gallery 4.

All in all, it was a rewarding experience. Carley made the process seem much more accessible than I would have thought, bringing a very intuitive approach to a medium that I had always seen as requiring considerable planning. Unfortunately, I had to cut out before the drama of the pour really started. I will, however, be sure to update when the next hot metal pour will be held.

Please take a few minutes to view the slide show. The images are labeled and document the process up to loading the crucible.

Get to know Laurie Trok. I wish I could find some information on Adam Castleforth to share with you along with Laurie's, but I can find no trace in the e-phemeral.

If you want to acquaint yourself with some of Carley Parrish's work, stop by Hermanowski's (1907 Penn Ave) in the Strip District where you can see the impressive Strip Mural. Carley and her husband, Ed Parrish, have brought hot metal to many public events in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities. Their work is always good and their events are filled with fire and energy. Carley includes a number of mediums in her skills, and her work appears in many focused and group presentations. Recently, some of her works were included in the new Irma Freeman Center for Imagination in the exhibit Energy: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

You can definitely get to know Mike Walsh a little better Check out:

Coming Full Circle "20 Years Later"
Recent work by Mike Walsh
The Gallery 4
206 S, Highland Ave, 15206
tues - sat
1pm - 7pm

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Reading Suggestions While Roasting Those Chesnuts Over an Open Fire

Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Santaleaks and Bagging the Beats at Midnight (the latter two are available online).

Keith Richards: A Life. I love the Rolling Stones, but it didn't really occur to me that this might turn out to be a good book. Then the reviews started pouring in. All good. Every one of them. And the book, which has a co-author, is engrossing.Richard's really knows how to turn a phrase, and he certainly doesn't seem the least bit concerned about offending people. He has a fascinating story to tell. I read half of the 547 page book the first night I got it. Brings the 60s and 70's to life. Great portraits of musicians and other artists. And celeberties. And groupies. The whole cast of characters. Too bad Hogarth isn't alive any longer, what he could do with this source material!!!!!

Santaleaks The title speaks for itself. And you thought the wikileaks cables were shocking! From The New Yorker, the link is here

Just Kids by Patti Smith This book came out maybe early this year? So it has been out for quite awhile. The subject is Patti Smith's love affair/friendship/creative fermenting with Robert Mapplethorpe.It is one of my favorite books. So well written. So evocative of NYC's underground. And a great story about the process of two people becoming artists. Patti Smith just received the National Book Award for this work.

Bagging The Beats At Midnight by Karen Lillis Karen's memoir of her time as a clerk in the famous St Mark's Bookstore in NYC. There are currently 4 installments. Like the Patti Smith book, it left me with an unanswered question, why on earth didn't I ever work in a NYC bookstore???!!! If I have my life to live over, this will be on the agenda, at least for awhile. Ofcourse the bookstores have to be as interesting as those in which Patti Smith and Karen Lillis worked.
Bagging the Beats at Midnight is so well-written, and a lot of fun.

Karen's piece is here
There is also a video of the editor of Undie Press reading a bit from the first installment here

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Pittsburgh Weekend Art Events: 12/10-11/10.

c. David Grim (taken 11/21/10)


The Pittsburgh Glass Center seems to be making the effort to build a bigger profile for its brand. Tonight they are hosting a reception at Future Tenant for a group show of 8 glass artists. It's called "Futilitarian" and starts at 6PM.

The Pretty Things Peepshow is in town, and appearing at the Rex Theater in the South Side. They are a premiere touring burlesque outfit from northern NJ, and several of its members have done time at the justly renowned Coney Island Circus Sideshow (including Heather Holliday and Danny Vomit). That fact alone should compel you to see this! The doors open at 8PM and the show starts at 10PM. Bring $15 to get in.


This week's must-see art show is "Big Love" at the Panza Gallery (and that's not just because I'll have work there). Curated by Lawrenceville resident Cleo Zell, it features the work of approximately 40 artists, conveniently priced at $100 or less. Some of the creators involved include Kathleen Lolley, Mascha Vereshchenko, Gabe Felice, Heidi Tucker, Ryder Henry, Mario Zucca, Laura Jean McGlaughlin, Bob Ziller, Sid Kweller, Carley Parrish, Paul Leroy, etc. It runs from 6-9PM, but if you get a late start on the evening and think you have to skip it, stop in anyway. Events at Panza (115 Sedgwick Street, Millvale) invariably run past their scheduled times.

Apparently there's a new gallery space opening in Edgewood. It's called Verde Art Space (113 Edgewood Avenue), and it plans to be fully in business in the Spring. But if you are of the mind to, you can catch a preview today from 11AM-8PM.

And in Homestead, Artspace 105 (105 E. Eighth Ave.) is having a silent auction from 7-9PM. Robert Qualters, George Nama, and Paula Bland are just a few of the participating artists.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Pittsburgh Art Events 12/3/10.

c. David Grim (taken 11/21/10)


Yes, indeed. it's going to be COLD for this month's Unblurred. But that doesn't give you license to skip it. There is plenty worthwhile to see, and you'd be remiss if you didn't get out there and support some struggling artists. Do some holiday shopping somewhere other than Walmart.

Gabe Felice will be down at the newly-named Penn Avenue Art Studios (4810 Penn), working on a live art project. Appearing with him are Dan Devine, Perry and Danny Angel, and they are all there to support the Kullu Valley Bike Project. Ten bucks will get you into the after party, which includes wine, beer, and DJ's.

You could also do your holiday shopping at the Irma Freeman Center (5006 Penn) where they are hosting "I Made it! Affordable Art & Craft". Apparently City Parks will be there with some light up ornaments. Oh... and there's some bands too.

Seth Clark and Kelly Blevins are at Modern Formations (4919 Penn). The latter is this past year's Spring Salon winner, which means she already has a significant audience waiting to see what she will do. No pressure, Kelly! Meanwhile the ever-prolific Dean Cercone is showing at Most Wanted (5015 Penn Ave.) with someone named "Detrich" (as per the gallery site).

Not that I'd particularly want to go to the South Side on a Friday night, but if I did I'd go to Silver Eye Center for Photography (1015 East Carson St., 6:30PM) to see the work of the winners of their Photography's Fellowship 2010 Competition. Don't worry if you're not up to the mess of transit. You can see the images of Laura Heyman of Syracuse, NY, and Laura Bell of Girard, PA, through January 15th.

And then there's the rare event at James Gallery (413 S. Main Street) in the West End- a group show called "Pulp Friction". Its "Paper: burned, sliced, disguised, reclaimed, reconfigured" can be seen between 5:30-9PM. Good luck finding out who is participating, as the gallery's website seems to demonstrate a deliberate disinterest in providing any significant information. I do know that Tom Sarver is involved, so that's one bright spot.