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From the Outside In

Pittsburgh has always left vivid impressions on the mind of the outsider. For some reason, however, visiting writers have been less kind to Pittsburgh than visiting artists. Over 20 years ago, flying to this city for the first time, I was reading a 1927 essay by H.L. Mencken, describing his view of Western Pennsylvania from …

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Andy’s Not the Only One

Sometimes when trying to assess the importance of any one artist, I am reduced to playing the auction trick. What’s it worth? People who have pooh-poohed Andy Warhol think twice when they hear one of his paintings sells for $14 million. It may be the wrong road to art appreciation, but in our glib, new …

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Art Collector G. David Thompson

What might be described as the great collections built up by Pittsburghers — those of, say, Henry Clay Frick, Gertrude and Leo Stein, Duncan Phillips, Andrew and Paul Mellon respectively, and Walter Arensberg — are perhaps best understood as being financed by Pittsburgh. The actual collections were built up elsewhere. That is not true of …

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There is Life Underground

On a recent Friday evening, the balcony in the South Side’s Rex Theater was at a near fever pitch. Amid a buzzing crowd, models were sipping cocktails and slipping into their custom-made outfits while a new rock band, Magdalene, jammed on the stage below. The evening was conceived as a debut concert for Magdalene, but …

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