Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 6, 2014 ArtLab: Fill this Space!

Last month on August 2, we had visitors fill the elevator with balloons! And on August 16, Penny Arcade Comedy filled the galleries with improv!

We have an amazing upcoming ARTLab program that asks: If it was completely up to you, and you could fill one of our gallery spaces with anything, what would you use?

During a three hour Install Tours, visitors participate in a project called "Install Boxes." After a tour and a break for lunch, visitors receive a small box, art materials and a word such as “old,” “itchy,” or “cold,” and they create their own miniature installation within the box that reflects what they think an “old,” “itchy” or “cold” room would be like.

The ArtLab program on September 6th will be an opportunity to do an install project right in the galleries. When you visit the front desk, you will become a Prospective Installation Artist, and you’ll receive a word for inspiration. During your visit you’ll discover three underutilized spaces that we’ve identified in the museum. These spaces will be an opportunity to experiment with a few materials and change the space, using the word you received as inspiration, or using your own creative ideas. Got even more ideas for the space? You can write down what other ideas you have for the space on a big piece of paper and brainstorm with other visitors. There are no right or wrong ideas - at the Mattress Factory, we want you to dream big, just like our artists!

This project is meant to be a glimpse into what the installation art process is like, and what the artist residency program is like at the Mattress Factory. All artwork you see at the museum is made especially for the museum right on the spot, using whatever materials the artist wants, be it wax or hard candy or thousands of matchsticks or hundreds of skeins of yarn.

But why should your installation ideas be limited to the Mattress Factory? Do you have a space in your house, apartment, school, office or community that could have potential for an installation? Show us what your ideas are through Twitter or Facebook!

ARTLab programs are open to all ages and are FREE with museum admission!

-Karen Forney, Museum Educator

Friday, August 29, 2014

MF In the News: Artforum September 2014

Carrie Mae Weems's work "Lincoln, Lonnie, and Me" was featured in the September 2014 issue of Artforum magazine. The piece was featured in the "Feminist And..." exhibition held at the Mattress Factory from September 2012-May 2013. Click on the images below to read the full article.

For more information about Weems, visit carriemaeweems.net

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 19, 2014 ARTLab: Penny Arcade!

I’m so excited because this week for ArtLab we have Penny Arcade Comedy getting silly in the museum! Penny Performers Tessa Karel and Renee Rabenold will take inspiration from our permanent collection and create improvised scenes right in the galleries. You’ll have a chance to discuss the artwork and witness a one-of-a-kind theater and comedy experience that is shaped by your very own ideas! As usual, ArtLab is free with museum admission and is super fun for all ages!

Improv comedy is a type of theater experience where an entire show is made up right on the spot. Penny Arcade is a comedy show especially for children and families based out of Arcade Comedy Theater in downtown Pittsburgh. During a typical Penny Arcade show, the audience participates in “collaboration stations” which use crafts to make silly props and costumes and literary prompts like lines of dialogue or character names to help generate ideas that are used in the show. Because the show relies on audience participation, each show is unique!

As a museum educator and improv performer myself, I see a lot of connections between installation art and improv. An installation is not complete without visitors walking through and interacting with the artwork, just as an improv show relies on audience suggestions and engagement to give life and energy to the show. Both are site-specific: an installation is created for a specific location and is influenced by the space, community, and context in which it exists, just as improv show is shaped by the ideas that were generated at that moment by that particular audience and group of performers. Once an installation is taken down, it cannot exist anywhere else because it’s meaning and context would change, just as each improv show is only seen once and never seen again, because the chain reaction of ideas could never happen in the exact same way ever again. The ephemeral quality of both improv and installation art is what makes it very special. It also means your physical presence is required to fully experience both installation art and improv. Luckily our permanent collection isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but the Penny Players will only be at the Mattress Factory for a short time so you better be at our ArtLab this Saturday at 1pm!If you can’t make it this Saturday, Penny Arcade will be performing in The Kids Comedy Cabaret, part of the first-ever Pittsburgh Comedy Festival! The show is on Saturday, August 23 at 1 p.m. at the Stephen Foster Memorial in the Henry Heymann Theatre. The Mattress Factory education department will also be there with an installation activity for audience members to build! The final product will give inspiration to the show! Both the installation and the show will be one-of-a-kind, and once the show is over, it will never be seen again.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Mattress Factory this Saturday, August 16th and again at The Kid Comedy Cabaret on August 23rd for some art and some laughs!

   -Karen Forney, Museum Educator

Friday, August 8, 2014

Factory 500 Collection Tour at BNY Mellon

Factory 500 members were out on the town on Friday, August 1 for a private after-hours collection visit at BNY Mellon's downtown offices. Curator Brian Lang toured the group through "Works on Paper by Sculptors," an exhibition organized from the BNY Mellon corporate collection, which features work by MF alumni Kiki Smith and Jessica Stockholder.

Brian Lang describing a work by Spencer Finch.
Members enjoyed wine tastings with Syma Hajian of Pittsburgh Winery. Syma described several varieties of wine that they produce at the winery's Strip District location. 

Mattress Factory Archivist Molly Tighe was also on hand during the evening to show off some of the museum's archive records from Kiki Smith's 1997 installation, Flight Mound. Brian and Molly discussed the Mattress Factory museum's Limited Editions program, which features pieces by artist Jessica Stockholder and about a dozen other Mattress Factory artists.

Molly Tighe, Museum Archivist, at the Factory 500.

In addition, Brian was able to give us some insight into the corporate art world. The group discussed specific works by artists including Spencer Finch and Franz West, methods of collecting, and the rules of buying art for a corporate environment.  

Thank you to everyone who came out to BNY Mellon on August 1st! You can see more photos from this and past events on our Flickr page.

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

Abby, Membership Coordinator

Thursday, August 7, 2014

2014 MF ArtMarket: an art market you can get into

Saturday, September 27, 2014, from 10am-5pm


Over the past several years, the Mattress Factory has hosted local artists and crafters during semi-annual CraftFactory events. This fall, the museum is seeking painters, photographers, illustrators, sculptors, printmakers, designers, etc. to vend during a pop-up ArtMarket on September 27, 2014. Artists who “think outside the box” and create artwork that may appeal to Mattress Factory visitors are welcome to apply. Prints, framed artwork, drawings, paintings, sculptures and art books are all welcome. Artists are encouraged to offer cards, posters, or reproductions of their work, as we hope to offer a variety of price points.

Applications must be received by Monday, September 1, 2014.

Accepted artists will be notified by Friday, September 5, 2014.

Accepted artists must pay the $40 vending fee by Friday, September 12, 2014.

Vendors will be provided with an eight-foot table to display and sell their work to museum visitors and attendees of the ArtMarket. Available spaces include the MF lobby with wall space for hanging work and our tented outdoor garden area. The 2014 ArtMarket will coincide with the Artists in Residence exhibition, on view in the museum’s galleries at 500 Sampsonia Way and 1414 Monterey Street.

A panel of MF staff members will select vendors based on strength and style of work. All applications must be received by Monday, September 1, 2014. Artists who are accepted to vend will be notified by Friday, September 5, 2014. Once accepted, vendors are required to pay a non-refundable $40 vending fee to reserve their space - due Friday, September 12, 2014. Detailed information regarding set-up times, Internet access, and other particulars will be emailed to accepted vendors at a later date. Any questions may be directed to shop@mattress.org.

Apply to vend at ArtMarket HERE.

Questions may be directed to shop@mattress.org. 
This ArtMarket is sponsored by the MF Shop

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 5, 2014 ArtLab: Low-Tech Overhead-Projector and Sun Animations!

James Turrell
Catso, Red (1967)

Using cut paper, collage, transparencies, and found objects, make your own low-tech animations on an overhead projector, or, weather permitting, using the sun outside!

I’m really happy to be demonstrating a low-tech animation workshop for the Mattress Factory ArtLab on July 5th. Visitors will use an overhead projector, cut paper, found objects, and transparencies to create an animation that they can capture on their devices and upload for their friends to see. I used this technique to create the video backdrop for a physical theater show called The Gift, a performance by myself and Ben Sota, Artistic Director of Zany Umbrella Circus. With basic materials and some experimentation, I was able to make something fun as an additional artistic layer that also served a practical purpose--something to allow for our transitions while Ben and I change our costumes in our 2-person show.

Humans like to play with light and shadows. Overhead projectors remind me of school and the irresistible desire to play with the light, the focus knobs, and make shadows. Using a projector to make animations is very similar to shadow puppetry (the paper and hand varieties), something I’ve seen nearly every kid do when there’s a light in a dark room. If you’ve never been to the Mattress Factory before, I bet you’ll have the same urge when you go visit the 2nd floor and discover Turrell’s Catso Red.

This ArtLab is meant to take advantage of that playful desire to have fun with light and shadows and come up with something creative with just a few materials. Come have fun with us!

The Gift, an experimental physical theater show by Zany Umbrella Circus at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, will have performances and workshops on July 19th, 20th, 26th, and 27th between 1-4:30pm.

The “Low-Tech Overhead-Project and Sun Animations” ArtLab takes place on Saturday, July 5 from 1:00PM to 4:00PM

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

ENTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN! "Circus + Activism" Scholarship

Have you read the MF Blog interviews with "Circus + Activism" workshop leader Ben Sota? The class is an amazing opportunity for students ages 14-18 who are interested in learning all about performance art and activism, or might be building their portfolios. We are now celebrating this one-time-only workshop with a Scholarship Giveaway!

This class, offered July 21 to August 8, will look at how site-specific performance and activism intersects with installation art. Students will study circus, physical theater, clowning without borders, circus activism and have a real-life theater experience by performing at sites located within Pittsburgh's Northside community. The class will be inspired by artists exhibiting at the Mattress Factory, and students will be given the opportunity to experience and participate in scenic design, sound design and costume design as they form their own socially minded circus.

From now until Wednesday, July 16 at 5 p.m. Mattress Factory Fans can enter to win a full scholarship to this one-of-a-kind workshop. Classes are held 1-4 p.m. July 21 to August 8. Email promotions@mattress.org with your name, age and email address, and a response to the question:

            Why do you want to spend your summer at the Mattress Factory?

You must provide full address contact information, along with a valid email address, to be eligible to win. To be eligible to win, you must be between 14-18 years of age and be able to provide your own transportation.