Thursday, January 28, 2016

MF IN THE NEWS // Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On Monday, a major Mattress Factory announcement was featured by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette! The article discussed eminent artist James Turrell's gift of an iconic Skyspace to the museum's permanent collection.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

RECAP // Factory 500: Martin Prekop's "Mirrored House"

On a chilly Saturday afternoon, Factory 500 members gathered at the home of artist, Martin Prekop in Fox Chapel. His home is appropriately referred to as the "Mirrored House," and is not a hard one to miss if you are driving by.

Built in the 1960s, and spanning an estimated 5,000 square feet, the "Mirrored House" is the long-time art project of Martin's. Martin moved to Pittsburgh over 20 years ago to serve as Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University for 12 years. He continues to teach at CMU, focusing mostly on photography. The "Mirrored House" has not only been an art project in and of itself, but is also the subject matter in Martin's photography. With a fully equipped dark room in the basement, Martin continues to create black and white photographs of his home.

After the Factory 500 members had some time to explore around the home, both interior and exterior, everyone congregated in a large room with floor to ceiling glass windows - which in the warmer months double as a garage door that opens up into a lush back yard. "How did you get started with the mirrors?" a Factory 500 member asked. Martin explained that after he bought the home he was washing his hands in the bathroom and looking out the window. "I was staring at a brick wall and what I really wanted to see was my backyard," he said. "So I put a mirror there outside on the brick." One mirrored brick led to two mirrored bricks, which led to thousands. "You never know how many bricks your home is made up of until you decide to put mirrors on every one," Martin quipped.

Twenty some years later, Martin's home is full of mirrors, artwork, records and stylish furniture - a real piece of installation art and a treat for Factory 500 members to experience.

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, December 30, 2015

RECAP // Best of Instagram 2015!

What a year it's been! A lot has happened at the Mattress Factory, and what better way to remember it all than to embrace the nostalgia and reminisce with all the awesome pictures taken by visitors this year. The #mattressfactory hashtag has over 7,500 posts now (only a few of those are actually mattress related)! We thank you all for your continued support of the museum, and for documenting your visits so beautifully via Instagram. So here's to you MF visitors - our favorite Mattress Factory photos of the year!

Permanent Installations

photo creds: @petra_palumnbo, @paigebeers,, @ecervantez, @jendingding, @erinhollywould

@412made, @davidsciortino, @ainemarielaff, @mzicka, @ofkrista

@santi1916, @gregoryoleander, @ueckerist, @sluna7, @stripedarchitect

@codymsolberg, @pswansong, @cecilopezgonzalezduran, @marnieweberofficial, @santi1916, @steven_werth

Trace of Memory
by Chiharu Shiota
@kaela_speicher, @saracals, @moeian, @instakneels, @alk5161

Dinner Lab, M is for Mattress Factory: Urban Garden Party, and an MF Wedding
@ginana17, @jeshaka, @mrbattle, @gavinbenjamin

Mattress Factory Views
@wanderburgher, @conormcgrann

Fun @ the Museum
@themightykim, @lordhissyfit, @kainazamaria, @ljhotojourneys, @heidimariemuller, @ayedud

That's all for this year folks! Don't forget to follow us on the Mattress Factory Instagram, and keep using the #mattressfactory tag in all your 2016 MF adventures for your chance to be featured as a guest photo on our account!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

RECAP // ARTLab with Julie Schenkelberg

Last week we had a blast breaking plates and saucers at ARTLab! We were inspired by Julie Schenkelberg's piece on view at our gallery at 1414 Monterey Street, The Color of Temperance, Embodied Energy. Just as the artist did, visitors took a turn at breaking plates and then everyone helped to rearrange the broken pieces of the plates to give them new life in a collaborative installation.

The next ARTLab program is one for the holidays! On December 19, we will be creating scribble-machine wrapping paper for holiday present! The Mattress Factory Winter Art Market will also be in full swing, so you can wrap up your hand-made purchases with one-of-a-kind wrapping paper too.
ARTLab is a drop-in, hands-on interactive program for all ages.

Monday, December 14, 2015

RECAP // Mini-Factory: OPPOSITES

OPPOSITES attract... curious minds willing to explore, compare and talk about their surroundings! Mini-Factory dove head first into the world of OPPOSITES using Allan Wexler's Bed Sitting Rooms for an Artist in Residence this past weekend.
Vanessa Sica + Chris Kasabach have fun with Umbrella, an upside down umbrella serving as a light inside the gallery. How many OPPOSITES can you find in that piece?
Artists use OPPOSITES to invoke laughter, wit and reflection about the function of every day objects. As viewers, we take a second look, a second thought and perhaps the sparks of creativity shake up the routine of life for even just a moment.

Visiting Gene Highstein's piece Untitled also provided our intrepid group of artists an opportunity for learning more about OPPOSITES.

How did such a big piece get inside such a small room? It looks heavy and solid, but is actually light and hollow! Using our hands to explore, our group made some excellent observations and then put it to the test; taking a rough piece of wood, we created the OPPOSITE effect with sandpaper - smooth!

Inkblot art was the perfect way to wrap up our hour together! Paint on one side of your paper and fold in half to create the OPPOSITE design.

Mini-Factory is an interactive learning program for children ages 3-5 and a parent/caregiver. Using contemporary installation art, parents and children will explore new ideas and concepts from the everyday world. Join us on January 9 for Mini-Factory: STORIES!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

RECAP // Coffee Date with Lisa Sigal

"Being commissioned here has been one of the best experiences I've had." - Lisa Sigal

Factory Installed artist Lisa Sigal began her Saturday morning Coffee Date sharing her experience at the Mattress Factory's artist-in-residence program. As an artist who has shown works at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA P.S.1, The International Biennial in New Orleans, and participated in artist residencies across the nation, Lisa was able to reflect on the aspects of the Mattress Factory that set it apart.

"Usually at art institutions, they say 'Here are the parameters, the limitations, the budget," Lisa explained. "But here, when I asked 'What are the limitations?,' the answer was 'we don't usually tell you - we start with the vision and we work from there.'"

With a smile, Lisa continued, "Nothing was out of the question." In such an environment, she felt she could experiment more freely, without having to articulate each step of the process or be too afraid of making mistakes.

The conversation soon shifted towards the inspirations and concepts that Lisa explored in her work "Break it Down." She explained that she wanted to "flip the terms" and make the typically unseen (walls, sheet rock, and other architectural barriers) seen. The artist described her piece as a more "minimal" and "elegant" exploration of formal elements compared to her previous works. However, it still grew out of her interests in the architecture and structures underlying social spaces.

In particular, Lisa highlighted "Burning," a public art installation she created at Propect.3 New Orleans. She was interested in the blighted houses as structures underlying the social inequalities of the New Orleans neighborhood, but also wanted to create a work sensitive to the local community. The final piece involved displaying text fragments from the play "Burning" by Suzan-Lori Parks on the exteriors of vacant homes, allowing passersby to read the unfolding story as they walk by.

This was the last edition of this year's Coffee Date series! Thank you to everyone who attended and made these discussions such warm and friendly meetings. This Member-Exclusive series will continue next year with our next artists-in-residence. We hope to see you all again soon!

For more information or to become a member and attend the Coffee Dates series, please visit

Monday, November 23, 2015

PREVIEW // Family Day 2015

Looking for something to do after you've had your share of turkey and stuffing? Want something the whole family can enjoy after some early morning shopping? Join us for Family Day, on November 27th from 11am - 4pm! Activities will be located in the museum lobby @ 500 Sampsonia Way and are FREE with museum admission.

Make a patterned sphere medallion inspired by Bill Smith's spherodendron.

Imagine and create a movable museum creature that could live comfortably in any one of our installations.

Rob Voerman had the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning in mind when he created his piece, Faculty. Share your very own favorite Pittsburgh architecture by drawing it, sharing a story, or using your imagination to edit, alter and have with the steel city's skyline!

Weave a collaborative string installation with your family. Will you choose to be wild and chaotic like Chiharu Shiota's Trace of Memory? Or are you more orderly and straightforward like Anne Lindberg's Shift Lens?

Play with light in our mini-factory. Even the youngest guests can participate in exploring shadows, shapes and colors with projectors and flashlights!

Go on an adventure when you explore all three museum buildings with an interactive scavenger hunt. Keep your eyes and ears open and sketch, draw and record your findings.

Enjoy face painting by Rikki and warm up with a free hot cocoa at our hot chocolate bar!