Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My Trip to Pittsburgh: A Full Day of Museums

Luke Swank [Steel Worker in Foundry], c. 1934

Among the reasons to visit the hometowns of my friends are the cultural gems each have. In Pittsburgh, we spent black friday in museums: The Mattress Factory, The Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) and The Warhol Museum.

The Mattress Factory is like a small PS1. The current exhibit was hit and miss, but the permanent installations were gravy. In particular, I am a James Turrell fan, and the Factory has three installations, two were imediate wonders, and the third took some patience.... at least 5-10 minutes... for your eyes to adjust. Another highlight was Allen Wexler's bed sitting rooms in the annex.

The CMOA had a great retrospective of Luke Swank's work. Swank, who's work is primarily in Pittsburgh, is considered an early modernist. However, his work was forgotten after the 40s when he passed away. His industrial photos are marvels in contrast, composition and empathy as seen above. The show was great by itself, but even more so as an essay of Pittsburgh's past. The permanent collection was nice, including a nice Bonnard, and couple recent pieces of Ed's.

The Warhol was at the top of my list when I first thought of visiting. Warhol was a gateway for me to contemporary art so it was nice to see this collection. Highlights included seeing his time capsules sitting in the archive shelves. The current exhibit was of General Idea's media works from 1967 to 95, a precursor of sorts to Justine Cooper's upcoming piece on prescription drug advertising.

Some random, current notes of Sam's life:
Last album purchased: Styrofoam: Nothing's Lost
Recommended to me (& loved): Iron & Wine's Trapeze Swinger (C'mon, it's only 99 cents!)
Really good food: Evan's Farmhouse Yogurt (whole milk, cream on top) from Murray's Cheeseshop


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