Monday, August 3, 2015

ANNOUNCING // "Factory Installed" Artist Interviews

Artist interviews for Factory Installed currently on display at the 1414 Monterey Street gallery are now available on the MF SoundCloud page!

This round of guides are soundbites taken straight from interviews with the exhibiting artists themselves, and they include a description of each piece as well as bonus commentary that covers a variety of different topics from how the artists created their pieces, to what it was like working at the Mattress Factory, and more. Here is a quick overview of each track and some highlighted quotes from the artists' commentary.

Jacob and Ethan describe their piece as a near future living environment in which a totally functioning bio system made to harvest and cultivate a kind of algae called Spirulina, is integrated into different kinds of furniture in a home environment. 

Jacob Douenias: "...even now the first reaction when you talk to people about algae is they think of scum, the goopy pond stuff... Most people's first impression is not great, so with this piece it is a proof of concept, that this can be beautiful. Leaving aside the functionality, it could be a resource-efficient way of providing a supplementary nutrient, fuel and doing these things in a way so they don't take up extra space."

Jacob and Ethan tell us about their backgrounds in architecture and industrial design, and their unusual transition into installation art and how it's freed up their process. 

Ethan Frier: "I've (always) wanted to make something that is more art, but I'm a designer... How do I make this thing practical? I've kind of realized that art and design - there is a very fluid border between them... There is art in everything and design in everything. I think working as an artist has freed up my design process a lot more because I feel more comfortable to go outside the bounds of what the profession is perceived to be."

Julie Schenkelberg describes the process of collecting materials from the area where she's building, the kinds of objects she collects and why, and the story that she's trying to tell in her work. 

"Sometimes I explain my pieces as if they are tattered manuals and pieces are discarded or missing and then we have these objects in front of us that we're unsure how to operate. So I operate them the way that I would imagine and therefore pieces of molding become structure for the room. Dishes become pieces that support a chair... You walk in and it's completely chaotic and it is totally blended together as the same symphony and it becomes this quiet moment."

Julie talks about how she always thought she had a story to tell, and the lonely path she followed for a while after quitting theatre and trying to find a way to tell her story as a different kind of artist.

"It just sort of happened. I stopped painting and started touching objects, using objects and then a wise person told me I couldn't deny my theatre history. So the paintings came off the wall with objects and then it just started cascading onto the floor and up to the ceiling - that was a moment when it just took over. And it just kept taking over."

Track 5: Anne Lindberg, "Shift Lens"

Anne Lindberg describes the intricate process involved in creating her piece and the performative quality that can only be carried out while working on-site at the Mattress Factory.

"So the piece is comprised of hundreds of lines of cotton thread that are held taught between two walls in the space and then between the floor and the upper edge of the bay window... In terms of a process, the lines that make up the work are stitched or threaded back and forth between the walls as if you are stitching the architecture. There is a person at each wall wielding a staple gun and there is a runner or perhaps one of us stepping down and moving the thread so it is a performance of sorts when it is being made."

Anne talks about how the history of the space in which she creates her work influences the way she designs and creates them, and how the Mattress Factory's willingness to give her the freedom to alter the space as much as she wishes is a truly unique experience as an artist.

"I try to visit the space and... look at it in a very diagrammatic way as well as a more human way. Who are the visitors? What is the history of the building? How will that tell me how to form the work? ...The thing I come away with is that it seems like anything is possible here. In a quite literal way I've been allowed to staple to the floor. That's not possible in 99% of the spaces you're invited to work in... that understanding that a space is a space and it has character and if you want to change it or alter it. That's a real testament to the leadership here... That all those spaces have equal value. And I'll go away with that and remember that."

John Morris tells us about how he integrates everyday objects into his artwork that people may believe are ugly or unappreciated, and through a simple process he allows you to rediscover these objects in a new and beautiful way.

"I think to some extent the goal of the work is... that I would be able to integrate almost anything. Like by peeling, rediscovering the world and maybe appreciating it in a new way... and then learning to integrate these things together in some new way and accepting what they become."

John tells us about how he got started as an artist by doodling and drawing things and how that relates to his current work, and also how his work has to do with pushing boundaries and definitions of certain kinds of artwork.

"My major thing I'm known for is drawing and a lot of things I'm doing in that installation... there is some sense of drawing. Like doodling, I don't know where it's going... I think there is something about this work that is very much about pushing, you know really pushing boundaries and accepting what other things could be and just not defining it in any way. Is this a drawing? Is this a painting? Is this an installation? When does it begin? When does it end?

The audio guides can be found on the Mattress Factory Soundcloud page, or by clicking one of the two links on the Mattress Factory website's home page (the scrolling banner at the top or the "Listen Now" link on the bottom right). Listen to them at the museum or listen from the comfort of your own home!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

RECAP // Factory 500: Lenka Clayton Studio + Clemente Museum Visit

Factory 500 Member taking a closer look at Lenka's Typewriter Drawings

At the most recent outing for the MF's Factory 500 program, members got a special glimpse into some one-of-a-kind places in Pittsburgh. The first stop was at the studio of Lenka Clayton, a British conceptual artist now living and working in Pittsburgh. Named the 2013 emerging artist of the year, Lenka opened her studio and gave members a presentation of her past and present works, including Typewriter Drawings and the Artist Residency in Motherhood she founded in 2012.

Artist Lenka Clayton presenting her work to Factory 500 Members
The next stop was the Clemente Museum. Executive Director and Curator Duane Rieder has meticulously renovated a historic firehouse to showcase the world's largest exhibited collection of artifacts which focus on Pittsburgh Pirate's legend and humanitarian, Roberto Clemente. Whether you know all about the man or nothing at all, the museum is one big reminder of how influential Roberto Clemente was for the game of baseball and both the Pittsburgh and Latin American communities.

Factory 500 Members exploring Duane Rieder's collection of baseball memorabilia at the Clemente Museum.

MF President & Co-Director, Barbara Luderowski taking a swing.
Autographed baseballs, and Roberto Clemente's social security cards

And to top off the night, Factory 500 members enjoyed a sampling of wines at Engine House 25, the winery in the basement of the Clemente Museum.
Factory 500 members enjoying a sampling of wines in Engine House 25.

A huge thanks goes to everyone who came out for this special Factory 500 event. Stay tuned for more information about our next membership event!

Factory 500 is the Mattress Factory's premier membership program, chaired by Susan Lammie. The group tours private collections, artist studios, local businesses, and other interesting arts destinations in Pittsburgh several times throughout the year. Don't miss out - Join today! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

RECAP // Mini-Factory: History!

In order for us to understand the present, we need to study the past. Mini-Factory tackled the topic of HISTORY. In essence, the past is a sequence of events which leads to the present. Our group of five-year-olds and their parents compared this idea to dominos; by standing up dominos in a line, we used our hands to make HISTORY and watch how events occur through time. Despite the challenges of keeping these skinny little rectangles vertical, our group of young artists caught on quick to the idea.

We followed up with a visit to Bill Woodrow's "Ship of Fools," an installation in the Mattress Factory's permanent collection at 1414 Monterey Street. It was so much fun to peer into this room of objects left stranded in the past. Cupboards are open, the paint is peeling, ... who lived here and used this space? What event occurred to make them leave? Even the light was left on as if the residents were in a hurry to leave. The objects give us clues about the HISTORY of this space, and the artists tells the story.
Mini-Factory is an interactive learning program for children ages three to five years old and their parents or caregivers. Using contemporary installation art, parents and children will explore new ideas and concepts from the everyday world. Join us at 10am on July 25 for FANTASY.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

PREVIEW // ARTLAB: Summer in the Mattress Factory Gardens!

Recently in the garden: magic tricks during the Community Garden Party.
Winifred Lutz designed and built the garden installation from the rubble of the old paper factory, native plants, and boulders from the area, linking past and present, urban and natural landscapes. For our next ARTLab on Saturday July 18, we'll be enjoying our time in the garden and tapping into some summertime nostalgia with the following activities:

Make your own MAGIC POTION mixture with water, herbs, and special magic garden items!

MUD PIES! Make yourself or a friend a lovely muddy confection and decorate it with whatever you can find in the garden.

Make a newspaper sit-upon so you can sit wherever you'd like in the garden. At 3pm, we'll have an imaginary TEA PARTY and play some improvised tea party games.

It's summer, let's have some fun! And in the meantime you might uncover some fun hidden secrets that Winifred Lutz left in the garden. 

As always, ARTLab is FREE with museum admission and is fun for all ages!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Take a piece of the Mattress Factory home with you!

We are proud to offer several pieces from Ryder Henry's Diaspora for sale as part of our Artist Limited Edition Series! Henry creates models of cities that replicate real places in his neighborhood, combining sci-fi motfis like space ships and futuristic "Jetson-style" buildings with contemporary architecture. These works are included in the museum's Artists in Residence exhibition, which is on view through July 19, 2015.

For more information about these works or to view additional pieces, please email or call 412.325.1512.

Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to take a piece of the museum home with you!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

PREVIEW // Factory 500: Lenka Clayton Studio + Clemente Museum Visit

Coming up next for our Factory 500 member program, we will be taking members on a one-of-a-kind tour of artist Lenka Clayton's studio in Polish Hill and to the Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville!

Lenka Clayton is a British conceptual artist whose work considers, exaggerates and alters the accepted rules of everyday life, extending the familiar into the realms of the poetic and absurd. Some of her previous works have included filming one person each age from 1 to 100, hand-numbering 7,000 stones, and founding An Artist Residency In Motherhood - a fully funded and structured artist residency that takes place inside her own home and life as a mother of two young children. Currently, Lenka and writer Michael Crowe are in the process of writing a personal letter to every household in America.

The Clemente Museum showcases the world's largest exhibited collection of baseball artifacts, works of art, literature, photographs and memorabilia which focus on Pittsburgh Pirate legend Roberto Clemente, his teammates, his personal life and his humanitarian causes. Here you can find everything from his 1960 and 1971 World Series rings, to his Gold Glove Awards, to a vase Roberto made for his wife Vera with her name scratched into it.

This event will take place on July 11, 2015 with the following schedule:

Lenka Clayton Studio // 3100 Brereton St., Pittsburgh, PA 15219 | 2:30 - 4:15 pm
Clemente Museum // 3339 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15201 | 4:30 - 6pm

For more information on our Factory 500 program, click here or contact Caitlin Harpster.

Factory 500 is a great way to meet and connect with other contemporary art enthusiasts! Members enjoy exclusive entrée to artist studios, private collections and behind-the-scenes access to some of the most unique art happenings around Pittsburgh. Visit the "For Members" page to see upcoming Factory 500 events.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Urban Garden Party 2015: A Major Success!

Last Friday night nearly 1,200 people turned out to support the most magical event of the summer! The tent was rocking and the garden was packed. This year's Urban Garden Party offered food + drink from the city's best restaurants and bars, a magic show, a silent art auction, the ultimate Michael Jackson tribute and much more. After tallying up all of our ticket sales and sponsor pledges, we brought in nearly $220,000 for the museum.

Our photographers were roving the party all night and we're uploading pictures to Flickr as we get them. Share your photos with us using #UrbanGardenParty or #MattressFactory... we'd love to see them! If you had your photo taken in the photo booth at the party, your pictures may be here.

Finally, a big Mattress Factory thank you to our co-chairs Lisa Cibik + Bernie Kobosky and all of our wonderful sponsors. We could not have thrown the hottest party in Pittsburgh without the help of every single one of them. Make sure to help us thank our sponsors by seeking them for any of the professional services they provide.  

MF Co-Directors Michael Olijynk and Barbara Luderowski with Urban Garden Party Chairs Lisa Cibik and Bernie Kobosky.

Mark your calendar! The 2016 Urban Garden Party will take place Friday, June 17.