art

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

As a young black man, playwright Nathan James often felt like he had to mask his emotions. The Pittsburgh native returns to the August Wilson Center this week to perform his one man play “Growing Pains.” 90.5 WESA’s Virginia Alvino Young recently spoke with James about his show, which looks at how and where we grow up impacts who we become. 


Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA News

When visitors enter the second-floor gallery space of the Andy Warhol Museum on Pittsburgh's North Side, they’re met with cartoon cowboys in red bandanas, saloon brawls and underwater painters that shimmer right off the wall. But there's more than meets the eye in Go West, the first solo show in the U.S. for popular Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Steve Root moved to Pittsburgh’s South Side in 2006, and right away, he knew he wanted to get involved in the community and make connections.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

It’s a 10-foot tall bronze statue on a four-foot tall granite base, that many Pittsburghers want to see moved.

The statue of Stephen Foster exhibited conspicuously in Oakland's Schenley Park, was first displayed in Highland Park.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

At the Carnegie Museum of Art, a 17-foot LED screen displays what looks like a video game in progress, but there’s no one playing.

When Ian Cheng was first making animations, he found himself obsessing over miniscule details, milliseconds of animation action.

“And so I started to think about, or hallucinate, what it might be like to make art where you as an artist lose control,” said Cheng.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

At this time last year, artist Baron Batch was facing backlash and $30,000 in fines and legal fees for illegal graffiti he left on several public areas.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh International Airport is seeking an artist-in-residence for a year-long program to culminate with a new piece of art for the airport.

The chosen artist will spend between 8 and 16 hours, or more, at the airport each week. He or she will be tasked with getting to know the layout, the facility, the employees and the travelers. The piece is intended to shine a light on the Steel City, said airport spokeswoman Alyson Walls.

Turning Trash Into Art To Save Urban Wildlife

Jul 27, 2017
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Rebecca  Reid knew it was a long shot, but she emailed Portuguese street artist Bordalo II anyway. She’d seen his large murals depicting wildlife on Facebook.

Carnegie Museum of Art

Selections from two sweeping collections are coming together for a new exhibit opening Saturday at the Carnegie Museum of Art.

20/20 melds work from 40 artists usually featured half at CMOA and half at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Their collected work spans nearly 100 years.

PNME

Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble performs works that are hard to describe, like an amalgam of Mozart and Frank Zappa.

And at City Theater, on the South Side, the group is pairing its music with an art gallery showcasing large colorful canvases and sculptures carefully chosen to be displayed on stage during this summer’s performances.

It’s a multi-sensory experience. After one recent concert, Harry Hockheiser, of Squirrel Hill, explained how he enjoyed the combination of mediums.

Desiree Williams / Flickr

An immersive theater production will take visitors to places normally off-limits at the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. 

Modern-Day Revolution Celebrated In Philadelphia Street Art

May 30, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Seeking to appeal to visitors more familiar with the words of "Game of Thrones" heroine Daenarys Targaryen than the writings of James Wilson, Philadelphia museums and historic sites are thinking differently, using creative art exhibitions and adding online components to their offerings.

Virginia Alvino Young / 90.5 WESA

Theresa Finn’s son, Jamar, was murdered nearly five years ago. She said it’s getting harder to deal with every day.

“Somebody shot through the window and killed my baby instantly. What I told people is that everyone is suffering. It [isn’t] just the moms,” Finn said. “When you take somebody’s life, it affects everybody, the whole community.”

Last week, Finn attended a preview of a new exhibit at Center of Life in Hazelwood called "I Lived, We Live, What Did We Miss?"

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

If you have ever wondered how the Carnegie Museum of Art keeps it’s collection looking so good, the answer is Michael Belman.

Belman is the Objects Conservator for the museum. He evaluates proposed new purchases and checks items coming and going from the collection on loan.

But the biggest part of what he does is repair, restore and preserves three-dimensional fine art. Just keeping objects in the gallery dusted is an important first step. He talked to 90.5 WESA's Mark Nootbaar about his process. 

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Michael Olijnyk has a hard time throwing things away. He’s co-director of the Mattress Factory, along with with Barbara Luderowski. They live in the museum, on an upper floor.  

“We are obsessive, obsessive collectors,” he said.

Not hoarders, Olijnyk specified.  

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Seven sweaty people stood panting in the Saturday morning light beneath a fading red and gold mural on the east side of a tattoo parlor on the corner of 11th and Carson streets. 

Trista Yerks described the work, created by street artist Shepard Fairey in 2009. It was one of several he installed throughout the city, made of layered wheat posters that degrade over time.

“You can see that it's very weathered. It's kind of starting to come down because of all the weather that Pittsburgh has,” she said. “So it makes me sad, but it wasn’t meant to last.”

Transformazium

Three artists involved in public art in New York City were looking for a change when a friend of theirs suggested they come to Pittsburgh to rehabilitate property through a program to help communities address blight.

The Allegheny County Vacant Property Recovery Program introduced them to a neighborhood and an opportunity to use local resources and artistic creativity to transform ideas into real social and economic benefits.

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In activist Sueño Del Mar's mind, Pittsburgh is always moving forward.

“We don’t sit by silently,” she said.

But even in a city with a rich history of social movements and organizing, corralling the events scheduled the week Donald Trump takes office has been tough. It certainly was not a unified front.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Teresa Martuccio, 36, has worked with adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities for more than a decade. For the last several years, she taught art at Community Living and Support Services, also known as CLASS, in Regent Square.

The yellow brick road has taken a turn into Downtown Pittsburgh.

Last December, a live television adaptation of The Wiz was viewed by more than 11 million people. One element of the production’s success was the strikingly colorful costumes, which are now on display at the August Wilson Center. 

“I love Eveline, and this was the costume that was worn by Mary J. Blige,” said Demeatria Boccella, co-founder of Pittsburgh’s FashionAFRICANA, which works to expand society’s standards of beauty.

Marvel Comics

 

Crafting a longer narrative voice for comics wasn't a huge stretch for Pittsburgh artist Yona Harvey.

“I feel like by nature I’m already a visual thinker,” said Harvey, “so that was already alive as a poet.”

Lawrenceville Art

As Pittsburgh neighborhoods, like Lawrenceville, undergo revitalization, art can often reflect changes.

Furniture designer Joe Kelly has been there since the beginning. Kelly spent a lot of time investing in the changes that helped make Lawrenceville one of the city’s most popular – and valuable – neighborhoods.

“Well, this was post-steel industry decline,” Kelly said. “This was a distressed area at that time.”

Kelly said he and other industrial artists in the neighborhood joined forces to boost neighborhood appeal.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

It took some wrangling to fit nearly 30 Catholic school eighth-graders into the basement space of Most Wanted Fine Art gallery in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood where St. Bede English teacher Becky Baverso took her comic book club to see artist Marcel Walker’s exhibit.

“So this show here, ‘To Tell The Troof,’ this is my first solo gallery show,” Walker told the class, pointing. “I’ve had work in gallery shows before, but this is the first time it’s all mine.”  

Pittsburgh Festival Turns Junk Into Art

Sep 15, 2016
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

 

This month, Pittsburgh is hosting its first Re:NEW Festival, an art and performance event that’s all about reusing materials and environmental sustainability.

For example, one of the sculptures commissioned for the festival is fashioned from old street lights. Duquesne Light donated about 30 of them along with some other decommissioned fixtures for sculptors to re-imagine. Eddie Opat helped design the piece and says it’s inspired by pre-Columbian architecture.

Shipla / Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

The Drap-Art International Festival of Recycled Art arrives in North America for the first time this month as part of Pittsburgh’s Re:NEW Festival.

The month-long event celebrates creative reuse and sustainability through art with more than 100 exhibitions throughout Downtown. It’s centered around the Drap-Art Festival, which is based out of Barcelona, Spain, but has been structured to include art with local environmentally-relevant themes.

WESA/Matt Nemeth

A wide pot made of red, earthy clay is decorated with geometric details. Maybe it's an ancient artifact, a tool from the past in a glass case. But then you spot the silver cursive letters.

This piece is clearly contemporary.

City of Asylum

Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum started in 2004 with a mission of providing a voice and temporary home for one exiled, politically oppressed writer at a time. But that mission grew as its first resident Huang Xiang went out into the neighborhood, and painted his poetry on the outside of the house.

With the renovation of the former Masonic temple on Pittsburgh’s North Side nearly complete, City of Asylum will soon have a new permanent home with Alphabet City.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

Look around any Rust Belt city and you can see the effects of urban decay. There's aging infrastructure, blighted buildings and abandoned homes. Even as cities begin to see a resurgence, it can be hard to shake the physical legacy of decades of decline.

But if you think post-industrial decay is hard to overcome, try something even more traumatic, like a dictatorship or, say, World War II. Some European cities have found a way to revive public spaces and re-engage the community in civic life, all while remediating the physical toll left by history.

Bob Studebaker (L), Sidewall Project (R)

A Pittsburgh artist, who prefers to be known simply as “Brick,” has been displaying art on an exterior wall of her house in Bloomfield for more than two years.

She refers to it as “The Sidewall Project,” and it began as an opportunity for artists to have their work displayed in a public space.

The current exhibit was created by Richard Pell and is a familiar sight to many Pittsburghers.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

If you tell Christian Morris a story, he’ll give you an ear. Literally.

“It’s kind of weird to hold a 2-inch ear in your hand… I made them as a gift to people that I interview, because it’s like, you give me your story I’ll give you this,” he said.  

The ceramic ears, which come in an array of blues, greens and purples, are tokens Morris gives to people he speaks with as part of a public art project called Practices of Listening.

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