Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Unblurred in June

As always, Unblurred was an excellent night. And it's becoming such an active, community event. I love the addition of the Garfield Night Market. It's a great combination of artisan and street foods, and a perfect way to wind down after visiting the galleries.

Image Box
Eastern Standard: A Time Exhibition
14 local artists displaying clocks and other time-based mediums. Curated by Joe Mruk
Great show, with some really fun clocks! There are images in the gallery at the end of this post, but this one was totally my favorite. I could have taken pictures of all of them, really. Such a nice idea for an exhibit, too.

Maggie Negrete Elemental Flame
Maggie Negrete Elemental Flame

Pittsburgh Society of Artists presents SMALL WORKS Jason Sauer, Juror

With a plethora of works, it was really hard to stay focused. Nice show, HUGE variety of works, considering that all of them were small format. There were a few encaustic works in the exhibit, a process that I find fascinating. There were a few familiar names, but the gallery was so packed, I'm sure there were some nice works that I missed. I particularly like the work by Martha Hopkins Skarlinski (pictured below), an encaustic and mixed media piece.

PSA, founded in 1965, is one of several artist-centric guilds that operate in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region. Coming up in July, another guild takes over the walls at Most Wanted. Associated Artists will be mounting a group exhibit at the Waterfront location, opening this coming Saturday.

Martha Hopkins Skarlinski Prelude
Martha Hopkins Skarlinski Prelude
Stuff N Such Society
DS Kinsel Know News is Good News
From the show description:
A shrine dedicated to the dying newspaper industry built by D.S Kinsel. The audience is invited to enter the sanctum of information and immerse themselves in a fading mode of information exchange through consumption of print.
So, with that in mind; I don't really know what to say. I have been blogging about the local art scene for several years now. I've continued to blog, even if somewhat sporadically, because there is so little support from local publications for emerging visual arts venues. There is at least one paper in town that only reviews exhibits in the non profit galleries. This policy really undermines the vibrant local scene, imho.

As a blogger, I am a little on the fence on this issue. Professional writers do have a certain cache because they have a value that is accepted associated with their work. They have the time to dedicate to running down facts and editing their work. On the other hand, I don't have anybody looking over my shoulder. I think that there is value in both, but I think that the physical press is entirely to dependent on commerce to be as objective as they could be.

July's Unblurred is scheduled to take place over two days, and those lovely people at the Penn Ave Arts Initiative have released a schedule. I am planning to make it up to Penn Ave, how about you?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Incredible Old Master Print Show @ Carnegie Museum Mines Into Collection

Wow! I seriously doubt one can see this number of amazing old master prints in one place.

The show stands out for 3 special reasons.

1) Rare prints of this type are very rarely shown in such brightly lit rooms (The Carnegie can't do this very often)

2) The Carnegie has one of the world's best collections of master prints- with many works in the best possible condition.

3) The show is a masterpiece of display - offering loads of supportive information without undercutting the art.

Highlights of this show include - a half room of Martin Schongauer engravings & woodcuts

A full room of Albrecht Durer prints including Adam & Eve, Melancholia, Knight, Death & the Devil; St. Jerome in his study

A great selection of Lucas Cranach the Elder's prints

A large display of prints published by Heironymous Cock - many based on Pieter Bruegel's drawings.

A large room of Rembrandt etchings & drypoints including The three Crosses

A large selection of Piranesi etchings 

Small Prints, Big Artists: Masterpieces from the Renaissance to Baroque

MAY 31, 2014 – SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

Carnegie Museum of Art.

(In spite of the title- many of these prints are quite large- by standards of the time)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Part Time Pittsburgh Artist, Swoon @ The Brooklyn Museum

Swoon's Brooklyn show returns to the familiar ground (and water)- idealized life size prints, & intricate cutouts creating an ethereal magical environment while attempting to build human links and political awareness.

Centered around a huge cosmic "tree of life" reaching into the infinity of the museum's domed roof she docks segments of her swimming cities raft projects.

The show does lack some of the gritty, earthy, street qualities that kept it from feeling trite. I also wish she included more videos explaining her projects.

Swoon: Submerged Motherlands

Brooklyn Museum of Art
April 11–August 24, 2014
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery, 5th Floor

Some previous posts about Swoon.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Black Fives Exhibit @ NY Historical Society shines light on Pittsburgh Basketball History

Who knew there was a Homestead Grays- basketball team?

A small but tightly packed show I saw at the NY Historical Society shows off an era few people know about.

From The New Pittsburgh Courier

"Due to segregation in the early 1900s, Black athletes formed their own professional leagues. Because teams have five starting players, they were called “fives.” Some of the most famous Black Five teams were the New York Renaissance, or the Rens, the Washington Bears, and the most famous remnant of that era, the Harlem Globetrotters.
But Pittsburgh, and Duquesne University feature prominently in the exhibit because Cumberland Posey also starred for Duquesne during the Black Fives Era."
Also prominent was the Monticello Athletic Association which played in the Hill District- defeating Howard University for the 2011-2012 World Colored basketball championship.

From The Black Fives history website

"The Monticello lineup featured Walter Clark, Sell Hall, Israel Lee, Jim Dorsey, Cum’s brother Seward, and Cum Posey himself.

Cum Posey and Sell Hall also played baseball for the professional Homestead Grays, a Negro Leagues team that Posey eventually owned. (Posey was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 2006.)"

Cumberland Posey, son of the Pittsburgh Courier owner- starred on Duquesne University's team under an assumed name- not because he was black but because he also played "pro ball" on the side. (Some players made $100 dollars a week!!)

The show is crammed with enough photos, clippings, ticket stubs and memorabilia to support several books.

The Black Fives Exhibit ends July 20th

New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West, 
New York City, NY

Tuesday – Thursday10 am – 6 pm
Friday10 am – 8 pm
Saturday10 am – 6 pm
Sunday11 am – 5 pm

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Stephen Tuomala, Death Masked: ModernFormations Gallery

Stephen Tuomala, Death Masked
Stephen Tuomala, Death Masked

Stephen Tuomala's exhibit of a new body of work, Death Masked, opened during May's Unblurred. I've seen Mr Tuomala's work in several exhibits, and this is a real departure, from his use of color to his substrate.

It is a discordant exhibit, with it's light and pretty colors and violent subtext. Continuity remains in Tuomala's interest in the body, but with a twist. All of the images pay homage to Lucha libre, the masked wrestlers so popular in Mexican culture. The pastel watercolors tones remind me a bit of Dia de Los Muertas, with the spooky confections of flower-embellished skulls.

Mr Tuomala has assembled a gallery of just masks across one wall of the back room, fascinating the visitors during the opening reception. The individual works had enough narrative cues to present an interpretative path. But the majority of the exhibit is centered around targets, with human silhouettes wearing masks and colorful bullseyes covering their torsos. The bullseyes themselves are filled with small figures in a myriad of poses and gestures.

Yes, the Death Masked exhibit is still ongoing. You can see Mr. Tuomala's exhibit through June 20 at ModernFormations. Stop by for this coming Unblurred.