Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 19 ARTLab: Wild Weavings!

April started with the third fantastic installment of ARTLab’s partnership with Conservation Consultants, Inc. Part three of the Photovoltaic Solar Energy and Art Series introduced Mark Barlow, a PV engineer who taught museum guests how to make their own solar power cells and demonstrated the electrifying capabilities of the Tesla Coil. CCI educator Indigo Raffel, and Mattress Factory educator Derek Reese teamed up to teach guests how to create their own photographic solar prints using objects from nature and the power of the sun.

Join us next ARTLab for “Wild Weavings,” where guests will partake in weaving based arts, creating their own looms to make wild woven mixed media collages or create colorful hanging art pieces using forked branches and yarn. This ARTLab is inspired by Chiharu Shiota’s yarn based installation at our 516 Gallery titled Traces of Memory. Shiota uses yarn as a drawing material to create densely woven three-dimensional environments that obscures and alters perception. The “Wild Weavings” ARTLab takes place on Saturday, April 19 from 1:00PM to 4:00PM.

ARTLab is FREE with museum admission and is open to all ages.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recap: Factory 500's night in Lawrenceville

On March 28th, 2014, the Factory 500 members visited Lawrenceville to check out some of the the people and places that are contributing to the neighborhood's growing arts and foodie culture.

The first stop was Revision Space, with Director Cindy Lisica, which opened in February 2014. Cindy discussed her move back to Pittsburgh and the history of this unique space on Butler Street. The gallery's inaugural show opened on February 21, 2014 and featured new, never before seen work by artist Cy Gavin

Revision Space in Lawrenceville

Cy explained some of the inspiration and thought behind this collection of of works, which reflects on the untimely passing of a close friend. Many of the paintings had been folded and sat untouched in his New York apartment. When the canvas was stretched for Fugue States at Revision Space, it was the first time Cy had seen the pieces since painting them.

Cy Gavin talks to the group at Revision Space with Director Cindy Lisica

Revision Space's upcoming show, Art is Violent, opens to the public on April 4th, 2014.

The second stop was Radiant Hall Studios, an artist-run studio building in the heart of Lawrenceville that provides space and connections for emerging artists in the Pittsburgh region. Director Ryan Lammie oversees nearly 20 artists on three floors.

Ryan Lammie talks to the group about Radiant Hall's mission

Tom Patterson from Wild Purveyors, Steve Sloan from Roundabout Brewery, and Paul Roden from Tugboat Print Shop also joined in the evening.

Tom Patterson is co-owner of Wild Purveyors, a store on Butler Street that  provides locally grown food to the public. Tom brought along some samples for the group to try.

Roundabout Brewery owner Steve Sloan opened the craft brewery in July 2013. Located at 48th and Butler, Roundabout features fresh-brewed beers with a New Zealand flair. Members sampled his fantastic beer and a lucky few got to keep Roundabout beer growlers.

The group samples food and beer.

Paul of Tugboat Printshop was also on hand at Radiant Hall. Tugboat hand crafts woodcut prints in their studio in Lawrenceville. Paul spoke to the group about their work and showed some of their intricate pieces.

Paul Roden from Tugboat Printshop at Radiant Hall

Thanks to everyone who attended! Factory 500 is the museum's premier membership group, chaired by Susan Lammie. Members get exclusive access to tours of artist studios, businesses, private collections and more.

See you at the MF soon.

Patron Programs at the MF

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 5th ARTLab: Solar Panel Jamboree!

We all know that solar panels use the sun to create energy, but have you ever considered how? Have you ever considered how solar energy can create art? Join ARTLab on April 5th as we become solar panel scientists for the day! Participants will work with a solar panel provided by DC to Power to experiment with angles and location as they link the solar energy to small electronics. 

Visitors will also make their own prints created from the sun using stenciling and UV light to produce photographic images with the assistance of educators Indigo Raffel and Derek Reese. This installment of ARTLab is a perfect example of how art and science can come together to create something new! We hope to see you on the first Saturday of April, ready to learn and make from green energy!

ARTLab is free with museum admission and is open to all ages.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Volunteering You Can Get Into: Meet Our Volunteers!

Meet Karen Forney! She's one of our longtime volunteers who is involved with the MF community in many ways - as an educator, former intern, and part-time event staff. And, she still makes time to volunteer. Read on to learn more about her long relationship with the museum.

How long have you been a volunteer? 
Since 2007, when I graduated from college.

What do you do when you're not volunteering? 
Gosh! I work part time at an online educational institution, and also as a Museum Educator here at the Mattress Factory. I perform regularly as a comedy improviser.

Favorite Artists? 
Rodin and Michelangelo. At the MF, I love James Turrell, Mark Garry, David Ellis. I love Rolf Julius' sound pieces.

What do you wish people knew about the MF, but maybe don't? 
I think when people think of museums, they think of rules and etiquette and behavior that goes along with being in a fancy place. But at the Mattress Factory, it's open-ended, self-directed in some ways, and relaxing, at least for me. I don't have to worry about a docent telling me I'm too close to the artwork - because I'm part of it. That's what makes the MF so different from other art museums.

So, you also work part-time for us and have other commitments, yet, you volunteer. Why do it still? What does it mean to you, and how has that changed over the years?
When I first started volunteering, it was right after college. I was burnt out from art and didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew deep down that I needed to stay connected to art. Volunteering was my only social outlet for the first few years after college that I did on my own - it was Karen Time. The staff were so nice and laid back that I always felt happy being here; I have always been grateful for that. I also feel like I learned how to be OK meeting new people. Because of my enthusiasm, the MF gave me the opportunity to take on more roles and make me a part of their community. It's my museum family, so even though I work more, I can't give up on volunteering!!

Volunteers at the Mattress Factory provide support to the museum at every level. Our programs, exhibitions and events would not have the reach and impact they do without the help of our faithful volunteers. For more information about the MF Volunteer Program or to apply for a position, please visit our Volunteers page.

Friday, March 7, 2014

ARTLab: Board the Solar Express!

ARTLab: A Sun-Filled Afternoon

To start the month off right, ARTLab introduced MF visitors to part 1 of 4 of the Photovoltaic Solar Energy and Art Series (PV-SEAS). ARTLab head educator, Derek Reese, and Indigo Raffel (visiting from Conservation Consultant Inc.), teamed up to combine art and sustainability by providing us with an afternoon of solar energy education, interactive games, and a giant mural inspired by the sun. Participants learned about the importance of renewable energy and just how practical and easy it can be to take small, yet impactful steps in lowering our carbon imprint.

Join ARTLab on March 15th for the second installment of PV-SEAS as we venture outside of the museum on our first field trip! A bus will be provided to transport participants from the museum to the CCI Center where we will meet Indigo Raffel again to learn more about green buildings, resource conversation, and the environmental health damage caused by traditional power plants.

Participants will be able to help invest in the future through energy efficiency and renewable resources as well as have the chance to visit all Mattress Factory exhibits before and after ARTLab, including Design 99's installation, Following the Sun 2, which uses photovoltaic panels and wind turbines to create an open environment for reflection and contemplation of visitors' surroundings through contemporary art and architectural practice.

Design 99's wind turbines on the roof of the Mattress Factory

Be sure to pre-order a ticket for this exciting journey by e-mailing Felice, the Director of Education, at felice[at]mattress.org or call 412.231.3169. Busses will leave the Mattress Factory at 1:00pm and return by 4:00pm (children need to be accompanied by adults). Please arrive on time and be prepared to learn more about sustainability! Tickets will be $15 for adults, $10 for members, students and seniors. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Two Nights with Artist Jessica Frelinghuysen

Mark your calendars for this month, Detroit artist, Jessica Frelinghuysen, will be joining the Mattress Factory for two events that explore the use of language and community through story collecting, literary readings, and music!

Two of Frelinghuysen's pieces are currently featured in the Detroit: Artists in Residence exhibition. "My City is Your City" and "Sound-Collecting Suit and Backpack" are on-going investigations that document audio from four years of living in Hamtramck, MI, located two miles north of Detroit. Frelinghuysen's sound-collecting suit allows her to acclimate to the sounds and voices of a foreign city and collect shared experiences of those who live there.

Join us on March 14th for the "Let Me Tell You" Pub Crawl ($5, but you must RSVP[at]matterss.org because space is limited) starting at 8pm at the Mattress Factory. You are invited to join Frelinghuysen and writer, Steve Hughes, and then explore the North Side, collecting new stories and conversations by drawing and writing on your bar napkins as you go. These napkins will then come part of a one-night-only collaborative installation that will be installed in the Mattress Factory lobby during the Good Tyme Writer's Buffet the following evening.

Jessica Frelinghuysen, My City is Your City, 2013
If you aren't able to go out for drinks on Friday, then come in for delicious food on Saturday! On March 15th, the Mattress Factory will be hosting Good Tyme Writer's Buffet a neighborhood potluck where six writers (Sherrie Flick, Steve Hughes, Joy Katz, Lori Jakiela, Daniel McCloskey, and Dave Newman) will read their works on neighborhoods and community while visitors celebrate with music, food, and good company. If you haven't seen Frelinghuysen's work, come at 6:30pm to check it out. The potluck will be at 7pm and the readings at 7:30pm. Admission is $10 ($5 for MF members) or FREE for those who wish to bring a dish to share.

To reserve a spot for either, or both, of these wonderful events, please respond to RSVP[at]matterss.org or call 412.231.3169.

Jessica Frelinghuysen, Sound-Collecting Suit, 2013

For more information about Jessica's work, check out her awesome review in February's ArtForum!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Screenings: An Installation of Spontaneous Film Sketches

Today (Friday, February 28, 2014) is the opening of the Mattress Factory's second edition of Screenings, an installation of spontaneous film sketches inspired by the Mattress Factory's Gestures series. This exhibition will run for 12 weeks, allotting three weeks per artist. Each artist is presented with the opportunity to create a new video work specifically for exhibition on the Mattress Factory's large projector screen in the first floor lobby of the museum. I had the chance to speak with Owen Smith, the Exhibitions Manager and organizer behind the Screenings series, to get some insight into the makings of the series.

Caitlin Harpster: What is the Screenings Series exactly? Could you provide some background information for how the series first came to be?

Owen Smith: Our first go at this series was last year around this same time (March 1 - May 23, 2013). It began as this idea to be able to better utilize the large projector screen we have in the lobby of the museum. I took inspiration from our Gestures series (which dates back to 2001) and thought it would be interesting to ask artists who may not typically work in this type of medium, to experiment and create a "film sketch" to screen in our lobby.

CH: This is your second Screenings Series. What made you want to do this again?

OS: We received very good feedback from the first series and I started thinking about the next. We have this great big projector screen and it's a great platform for artists to be able to experiment and take risks and create something that they normally would not create. It is also a fairly quick exhibition. It is only 12 weeks long, so it's sort of nice to have programming that rotates more quickly. The viewer can come back the very next week and be surprised to see something completely different than the week before.

CH: There were more artists in the last series. Was there a reason why you limited the number of artists from six to four?

OS: Last time there were six artists and the screenings ran for 12 weeks. That left only two weeks for each artist's work to be on view. Two weeks seemed too short. I wanted to expand the screening time of each film without expanding the exhibition time. Three weeks seems like a better balance.

CH: What about the artists?

OS: The artists I choose last year were from all different backgrounds in the arts such as documentary film, live interactive media, photography, etc. Three out of the four artists I choose this year specialize in some sort of film, whether it be experimental documentary like George Cessna, performative video like Di-ay Battad, or computer animation like Nate Lorenzo. I choose Delanie Jenkins specifically because her practice does not involve film or video. She is a sculptor. I am very interested to see what a physical sculptor will do in this situation.

CH: George Cessna is opening the series tomorrow. Can you tell us anything about what to expect?

OS: George's video is called I'm Not A Very Good Cowboy. It is a short quasi-documentary in the sense that it is about himself as a real subject, but it is also a performance by him. It is a silent video with subtitles, about four minutes long. He is struggling with this country-western persona that he has created for himself. I think a lot of people will relate to his search for a genuine connection to a thing he loves.

George Cessna, I'm Not A Very Good Cowboy, 2014, 4 minutes, silent video with subtitles

For more information on last year's Screenings, you can check out our posts HERE.