Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pittsburgh Art Happenings: 9/12/08

Today is obviously a day that's been mothballed, and thus both sides in the presidential race have decided to suspend political activities. I figure that if a break in the action is acceptable for them, then it's ok for me as well. It just so happens that this particular date falls on a Thursday, so it's easy for me to simply follow my routine of posting about art events. So here is what this weekend has in store for the art fanatic:


After months of preparation which included a grant proposal, a jury process, an inordinate amount of convoluted communication, the layout and printing of a full-color 250-page catalog, and the actual physical setup of the exhibition... In the Making: 250 Years/250 Artists is finally opening at Fe Gallery in Lawrenceville (4102 Butler St.), tomorrow night at 7PM. Well over 400 local artists submitted pieces for consideration in the show. Those who were eventually accepted each got to include one image to be displayed in the catalog, and one piece to be hung on the wall. The latter were selected by curator Jill Larson- former owner and proprietor of the Fe Gallery before it received its non-profit status.

The exhibition started with the awarding of a Sprout Fund Grant coinciding with the Pittsburgh 250 Community Connections Initiative. The idea was to organize a survey of the best local art currently being produced around town. In addition a print production would accompany the exhibition, and serve as a permanent testament to the project. A general cattle call was put out, and word spread quickly throughout the local scene. Because of limited resources and busy judges, there were several delays before official invitations were sent out to the artists who had been chosen. While not everyone was pleased by the process, few had a realistic idea of the logistical nightmares that a show of this scale entailed.

But now the work is on the wall, and a mock-up of the catalog is available for perusal. The show itself will be available for viewing until January 10, 2009. Catalogs can be pre-ordered the night of the opening, and there will be a reception for its official release on some as yet unspecified date in October. While all of your favorites aren't likely represented, I'm certain that at least a few of them are. Keep in mind that just because someone is not in the show does not mean that they were turned down. Many artists I know didn't even submit work. Still, having scanned the list, I have confidence that this will be a high-quality sampling of what the 'Burgh has to offer the rest of the world.

The "250 Show" just so happens to fall on the same night as Pittsburgh Center for the Art's reception for "Artist of the Year" Susanne Slavick. To be honest, I've never heard of her before*... but her work looks good online. As the PCA staff notes Slavick's latest series is concerned with "digitally and manually transforming photographic images of wreckage, she 'recognizes, rues or reconstitutes' what has been decimated." I'm sure it's nowhere near as cute as it sounds. Alongside Slavick, the work of "Emerging Artist Award"-winner Adam Welch will be presented. Welch is an installation artist who had a particularly memorable piece in the 2008 PCA Biennial. Things get underway at 5:30PM and run until 8PM. Admission is $10 ($5 after 6:30).

I also want to give a quick shout-out to the Wizard of Oddities (4314 Butler St.). This idiosyncratic art space is also having a reception this Friday, from 7-11PM. It's for a retrospective of paintings from the "Voyeur" series by Sam Thorp. Stop in before or after you visit the Fe Gallery.

* Likely due to the fact that she is part of the CMU arts faculty- the majority of whom do not seem all that well-integrated into the local Pittsburgh arts scene. I suspect this is largely intentional.

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