Friday, November 29, 2013

Mommy, I want art for Christmas!

Do you, Virginia, do you really?

You're in luck, 'cause there's a lot of great stuff happening over the next two weekends!

Small Business Saturday is tomorrow. I'm sure that you have favorite store that you intend to patronize. One of mine is BoxHeart Gallery, located in Bloomfield.
Blooming with Holiday Spirit at BoxHeart Gallery
Blooming with Holiday Spirit at BoxHeart Gallery
 Enjoy holiday goodies while shopping for unique gifts of original artwork. In addition, they'll be offering 10% OFF all purchases and providing FREE gift wrapping!

Small Business Saturday Celebration:
Saturday, November 30th: Noon - 5pm
Free and Open to the Public.

- 10% OFF All Purchases!
- Free Gift Wrapping!
- Holiday Goodies!
Holiday Book Sale at Belvedere's Ultra Dive
Holiday Book Sale at Belvedere's Ultra Dive

Hosted by Small Press Pittsburgh, the Holiday Book Sale is gonna be great for all gifts Lit. The sale takes place at Belvedere's Ultra Dive on Sunday, December 1.

Browse selections from some of Pittsburgh's Best Bookstores, for the book lovers on your holiday gift list! New books, used books, art books, photography books, graphic novels, small press books, bestsellers, books on sale, cards, and more. More info
Unblurred Holiday
It's an Unblurred Holiday
Taking place, as usual, on the first Friday of the month (December 6). Tons of great opportunities to find those really unique gifts, for yourself or a special person. Check out the line up.

Pittsburgh Glass Center Holiday Glass Sale
Pittsburgh Glass Center Holiday Glass Sale
The Pittsburgh Glass Center has events going throughout the weekend, starting with Unblurred on Friday December 6. On Saturday and Sunday -

"Funky, fanciful and functional glass will be for sale for three days only! Regional artists will display handmade art and jewelry in all price ranges. Hot glass demonstrations will be ongoing on Friday evening. If you'd rather make your own glass ornament, you can on Saturday from 10am-4pm. Make a blown glass ornament for $35 or a fused glass ornament for $25." more info

Handmade Arcade
Handmade Arcade
"Enjoy this earth friendly sampling of handmade goods from Handmade Arcade artists. Because nothing feels better than giving a gift that reduces, reuses, recycles and inspires others to do the same. Come out to see the rest of our amazing artists and craftspeople at this year’s Handmade Arcade, Saturday, December 7th at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center." more info

This is far from a complete list of all of the great things happening in Pittsburgh during the holiday season. The Small Business Saturday event and the weeks leading up to Christmas are going to be full! Enjoy, and stay safe.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Great New Film on Iconic Pittsburgh Architect, Henry Hornbostel

OK, Hornbostel did works all over the country, but taught at Carnegie Tech, and designed so many loved buildings (110 building in the Pittsburgh area) here he is closely identified with the city.

The original Carnegie Mellon campus including

Hamerschlag Hall
CMU College of Fine Arts Building
 Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall
University of Pittsburgh's Thaw Hall
Pittsburgh City-County Building
 Rodef Shalom Temple
The Schenley Apartments (In Oakland)
Hamburg Hall (Originally the U.S. Breau of Mines Building)
Congregation B'nai Israel (Now, The Urban League Pittsburgh Charter school)

Henry Hornbostel Biography Pitch Video from New Perspective Productions on Vimeo.

The film contains great film footage of the building and extensive interviews with local architectural scholars & historians and tries to connect his buildings to his affable, constantly curious nature.

Long ignored as a stodgy architect trapped in the past, Hornbostel is now recognised  for designs filled with beauty, sensitivity, invention and lots of amazing engineering.

He also created one of my favorite NYC bridges- The Hell Gate.

Keep your eyes out for a repeat of the film on PBS.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top of the Line Drawathon

Top of the Line Drawathon: a 24 hour online drawing marathon of prizes
Top of the Line Drawathon: a 24 hour online drawing marathon of prizes
This is a little short notice but -

Daniel McCloskey, Cyberpunk Apocalypse, has launched a Kicksatrter campaign to support his newest endeavor.

Top of the Line is the story of a kid growing into a hero, and in the process becoming a terrible human being. It's also kind of about a guy riding a bike and missing teeth (oddly) but this guy chops the heads off genetically engineered monsters with a sword.

But wait! There's more!

Starting tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon, you can -

Join Daniel McCloskey as he launches his new monster fighting comic, Top of the Line, with a 24 hour drawing marathon streaming at:

There will be bonus rewards announced throughout the day, and guest artists dropping in. This sounds like it's going to be so much fun; I'll definitely be checking in throughout the drawathon!

Penn Avenue

So, I just couldn't make it to the November edition of Unblurred. I was too busy reading a sign on a building to watch where I was walking and took a tumble, twisting my ankle, and banging up my knee and elbow. Ouch!

I am sorry I missed the full event, which are usually so much fun. I especially like going in the Fall. It's a lively street scene with so much activity that I rarely am able to get to all of it. I did get a chance to visit Penn Ave this past weekend. I stopped at ModernFormations to take a look at their current exhibits.

Signs From the Times: An exhibition of new works by Ron Copeland
Signs From the Times: An exhibition of new works by Ron Copeland

Ron Copeland's Signs of the Times was really great! The front room of the gallery is filled with these collage-installations of signs. Just a really gorgeous exhibit. The pieces were nicely detailed and gave you a lot to look at.

The installations include found and fabricated objects, with some lighted pieces mixed in. The combination of textures, coupled with the relief aspect of the assemblage made for some very appealing work. With so many works in the room, I would have assumed it would feel crowded, but the whole exhibit had a nice and balanced flow to it.
Signs From the Times: An exhibition of new works by Ron Copeland (detail)
Signs From the Times: An exhibition of new works by Ron Copeland (detail)

I happened to glance behind one the installations and found that there were several pieces completely out of view. It just sort of tickled me to find them, yanno? The show reminded me of the ghost signs that you see on some of the old buildings in Pittsburgh. The show seems to herald that nostalgiac look at our recent history.

More examples from Signs of the Times are in the gallery. There are a few more days to view the exhibit, and it's well worth the trip.

Signs From the Times: An exhibition of new works by Ron Copeland
ModernFormations Gallery

At Spak Bros
At Spak Bros
I stopped in Spak Brothers on my way up Penn Ave. Unfortunately, the works that were installed weren't labeled. But don't they look fabulous? There are a scant handful of these pieces, and they work really well with the space. Very whimsical! (Thanks for the update! Gabe Felice is the artist)

December's Unblurred should be a really good one. You should definitely bring your gift-giving list with you, though. Past years' experience has demonstrated that this is a great place to find something special and unique for those on your list.

Mostly Mod / Artica will be open, with their eclectic mix of kitsch and classic collectibles.

Stuff 'n Such Society, located in the basement of Most Wanted Fine Art, is a great place to pick up that one action figure from the Star Wars series that your friend doesn't have.

Clay Penn is the studio of Laura McLaughlin. Expect amazingly detailed ceramic art.

Pulse is going to be having a gift mart with lots of DIY vendors.

And stop by the Pittsburgh Glass Center for the Holiday Glass Sale.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rob Ford, Crack & The Dangers of Government Consolidation

Often, the greatest dangers come from comforting confidence in bad ideas. Clearly, the absurd level of municipal fragmentation in Pennsylvania can be a problem. But the blind belief that merging often radically different communities together can only produce good is equally dumb.

In Toronto,  the bitter political conflicts born in the forced merger of the city with its major suburbs elected a crack smoking mayor and a city so divided it seems unable to get rid of him.

From The Toronto Star

In 1998, the Harris government forced a shotgun wedding on Toronto and five surrounding suburbs, in spite of local referendum results opposing the move more than three to one 
Not a single municipality affected was in favour of the merger, and all but one joined a legal challenge opposing it. The amalgamation bill was rammed through the Ontario legislature in one of the most bitterly contested battles in provincial history with opposition parties tabling 13,000 amendments over a two-week period in an ultimately futile filibuster.
The almost certain result in this case was a city dominated by suburban voters opposed to the basic values and interests of the city itself.

 What was unleashed on Toronto in 1998 was a diabolical masterstroke: a perpetual culture war between the suburbs and the city, where the later will almost always be outvoted by suburbanites with different values, priorities and motivations.
 Transit is a pregnant example. If the TTC only had to serve the former City of Toronto, it would actually turn a profit . Instead the beleaguered transit authority is whipsawed by populist politics and asked to deliver astronomically expensive subway service to the surrounding low-density sprawl. One of the first actions of Mayor Ford was to rip up Transit City, the guiding planning document for public transport even though it had been developed through years of consultation and had $1.3 billion in signed contracts.
No real surprise that Columbus, Ohio the regional poster child for a sprawling consolidated city now lags Pittsburgh & Cleveland in downtown construction.

Before one considers merging communities, consider what policies and interests would those voters bring. What would be the impact on land use policy, zoning & transit.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Carnegie International Reviews Pour In -- Updated List

No excuse, but I haven't seen it yet.

The professional art world is a bit of a circle jerk, where open, honest criticism is rare. Even so, the reaction seems very positive, with reviewers using words like smart, understated & playful

Check out the the blog entry with links. 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Pittsburgh Children's Hospital Surprises kids with Super Hero Window Washers

Not exactly a fan of the monolithic, UPMC healthcare giant, a non profit that claims to be the region's biggest employer while saying it has no employees.

File this in the Pittsburgh fun & awesome category. Obviously many of these non employees and contractors are pretty good people.