Arts

George Lange: Through a Joyful Lens

Internationally renowned photographer George Lange grew up in Squirrel Hill and recently returned with his family to live in his childhood home. He credits the joy from his Pittsburgh childhood with influencing his playful approach to photography, which often involves allowing his subjects to reveal sides of themselves that are not often shared. “I am …

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Photo as Fact?

Living through the COVID-19 pandemic will become another watershed moment in our lives, and we will be asking “Where were you when…” for years to come. I remember what I was doing when the planes hit the twin towers on 9/11, but the event that rocked my world was the assassination of JFK. I might …

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Restarting Pittsburgh’s Arts Economy

In late summer of 1606, one of the liveliest theatre seasons London, England, had known was abruptly shut down by the sudden onset of bubonic plague. When public entertainments were allowed to resume almost two years later in April 1608, several drama companies that had flourished pre-plague were nowhere to be found. William Shakespeare’s company, …

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Austin’s “South by Southwest”—Should It Happen in Pittsburgh?

Until the sudden cancellation Friday due to coronavirus concerns, the world’s biggest annual Spring Break for tech/media hotshots and musicians was ready to reconvene March 13–22 all over the fair city of Austin, Texas. South By Southwest (SXSW) is a massive gathering of music, film, comedy, interactive media performers and speakers that in 2019 hosted 2,200 musical …

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The Carnegie’s Jasper Johns Exhibition: Out of Step With His Time and Ours

The major fall show at the Carnegie Museum of Art, “An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960–2018,” raises questions about the museum’s programming. Jasper Johns is an American master whose work set the stage for pop art, which, in turn, changed the course of art of the last 75 years. He merged abstract expressionist …

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Pittsburgh Cultural Events Calendar

In every issue, in partnership with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Quarterly presents a calendar of arts and events happening in Downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. Copies of this 16-page guide are also made available in theaters, venues, restaurants and hotels across downtown. Complete with a 3-month season-at-a-glance calendar, you’ll see just how many not-to-miss events …

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PICT’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

There is an effulgence to William Shakespeare’s work that is always better to channel than to distort. And this is especially true of the luminous “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” his first undeniable masterpiece, composed during the winter of 1595-96, and performed this midwinter in sly context by PICT Classic Theatre. For when better to have …

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City Theatre’s “Downstairs” Showcases Pittsburgh’s Dazzling Acting Talent

The stage of City Theatre’s “Downstairs” is an open maw of things forsaken, a dirty basement stuffed with so many neglected and discarded items—tools and tires and crates and old clothes and worn-out furniture—that it casts the audience in the dingy ether of pathos well before the lights go down. Tony Ferrieri’s overpowering set is …

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Liberty Magic: Magic on Liberty

“I know what you’re thinking.” It’s a common expression, an uncommon occurrence—you don’t actually know what somebody is thinking. Were that the case, we’d hardly do any thinking at all. But Liberty Magic knows what you’re thinking. This hidden gem is tucked away on Liberty Avenue, right in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. The 60-seat …

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Nuts About Nutcrackers

When Steubenville comes to mind, you probably don’t think of the Rust Belt town as a travel destination. Mayor Jerry Barilla has been intent on changing that and the narrative of industrial decline that has dominated the town. Its population of 18,000 is less than half what it was in 1940—between 1980 and 2000, Weirton-Steubenville …

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Andy Warhol Returns to Pittsburgh

On an autumn evening in Pittsburgh 40 years ago, a larger than usual, fancier than typical, and more expensive than ever event was staged as an acquisition benefit for the Carnegie Museum of Art. On this special Saturday night, 250 formally dressed ladies and gentlemen entered the Heinz Galleries to find a simply decorated space …

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PICT Conjures a Ghostly Godot with “The Woman in Black”

“The Woman in Black” is one of those rare creations, like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” that has found success in multivarious forms as a novel, play, and film. Based on Susan Hill’s 1983 book, PICT Classic Theatre’s production uses Stephen Mallatratt’s 1987 adaptation (an unusually safe bet for this company that even wrote …

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Still Squonky After All These Years

Leave your preconceived notion of an opera in the car. Whatever Squonk Opera is, it certainly isn’t what you’re thinking. A description that succinctly encapsulates this Pittsburgh native is futile. Not quite a rock band, anything but an opera. So, what then? Squonk’s strength lies in its innate pliability. Each show is built atop a …

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Barebones Brings Sam Shepard’s “True West” to Life in a Stunning Production

We tend to think of the American West as director John Ford portrayed it: a vast, mysterious space as cosmic as the Egyptian desert, with the Rockies as our pyramids. The West is an ideal we all hold, a collective mythic dream, something verging on the spiritual the way our conception of patriotism verges on …

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Breaking New Ground in the Pittsburgh Art World

Fiberart International 2019 is up through August 24, 2019 at Brew House Association and Contemporary Craft. “How did a small group of Pittsburgh housewives practicing the dainty craft of hand embroidery give birth to the rowdy, sophisticated, benchmark triennial we know as ‘Fiberart International?’” The answer to this rather cheeky question points to a group …

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“May We Live in Interesting Times”: The 58th Venice Biennale

I have just returned from my 10th (I think) Venice Biennale. They tend to run together. Probably more than 1000 artists, 300 Aperol Spritzes, 150 Bellinis and 3,271 hors d’oeuvres. Princess Stephanie has blown smoke in my face from the terrace of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. The Russians have come and gone. San Marco has …

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Lear in the Furnace: A Review of Quantum Theatre’s “King Lear”

Attending a Quantum Theatre production can be like traveling to one of those crazy destination weddings where they make you climb up some precipitous volcano to reach the venue, while you ponder the wedding planner’s sanity. You know the view will be fantastic, but is the journey worth it? In the case of William Shakespeare’s …

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New Faces at the Westmoreland

With a renewed interest in what kinds of people are represented in art museums, a new exhibition at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art offers some rarely seen faces. “Mingled Visions: The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis and Will Wilson” (March 30–June 30) presents images of Native Americans taken a century apart and from different …

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Exuberance at the Warhol

Devon Shimoyama’s just-ended exhibition at the Andy Warhol Museum proves the enduring power of Warhol’s work 30 years after his death and shows that the museum has no interest in becoming a shrine to a self-referential and reverential hagiography. “Cry, Baby” brings a young talent to our attention, while simultaneously offering new insights into the …

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Tragedy in a Box: A Review of “The Gun Show (Can We Talk About This?)”

A refreshing pragmatism infuses Quantum Theatre’s production of “The Gun Show (Can We Talk About This?)” (2013) – a kind of low-tech, iconoclastic exuberance that’s reminiscent of the early films of Godard. It’s a classic one-man, story-telling performance – with some audience interaction – that comes off somewhere between Spalding Gray’s “Monster in a Box” …

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Soft-Core Pathos: A Review of Pittsburgh Public Theater’s “The Tempest”

Cleverness is not a Shakespearian trait. In fact, as we have found after more than 400 years, the more we try to shape him, using our own devices, the less he is able to tell us. This is because his chief mode of artistic engagement is the sublime – versus the allegoric, the symbolic, or …

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Enter Stage Left

Prior to her first directorial effort with the Pittsburgh Public Theater (“The Tempest”: Jan. 24­–Feb. 24), Pittsburgh Quarterly posed a few questions for artistic director Marya Sea Kaminski. Q. First, welcome to Pittsburgh. Why “The Tempest” for your first Pittsburgh show? A. I wanted to have something that was a little bit of a celebration …

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