CULTURE

Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Black Humor

“See you in the funny papers” is a phrase one seldom hears these days. Indeed, with the possible exception of “Daddy-​O” or “23 Skidoo,” few expressions seem more obscure.But once upon a time, when newspapers were the Internet of their day, conversational reference to the funnies was the equivalent of…
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

Changing the venerable

Almost no building remains fit for its purpose forever, except perhaps a mausoleum. However great a museum or a gallery may be, there is always the lure of a new wing or a re-​fit. Nothing remains the same, even in western Pennsylvania. Let’s look at how some of our institutions…

The Gospel of Brass

Pointing a handheld video camera at himself, James Gourlay made an eccentric sight on the streets of Pittsburgh, as the native of Scotland made tiny films literally “picturing” what it would be like to live in this city.

Bridges of Allegheny County

by John Beale
Whether they’re crossing chasms, spanning rivers or connecting communities, bridges have always been the metaphoric heart of Pittsburgh.

A New Pittsburgh Biennial

The pittsburgh biennial, which you will have encountered before in smaller incarnations going back to 1994, is back with a vengeance. It now lasts six months, putting it on a par with The Carnegie International; it engages more artists (some of whom might be more valuably presented in that International);…

Big Business Now and Then

Be careful what you wish for” is the adage that best applies to the McGraw family and their neighbors on the failed and failing dairy farms northwest of Scranton, Pa. After generations of scraping by, their dreams are finally poised to come true, now that corporate prospectors have come calling,…

The Tao of Emily

Readers, rejoice! Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, not everything in the world is getting worse. Novelist Stewart O’Nan, for instance, just keeps getting better and better.

Keepers of the Flame

Standing in his new South Side studio, a patchwork of windows letting in the mid-​day light, glass artist Drew Hine reaches for a map to illustrate his connection to the early days of Pittsburgh glassmaking, an industry that emerged 210 years ago from a red-​hot amalgam of sand, ash, lime…

Literary Pittsburgh

Kathleen “kit” McCafferty, a victim of childhood sexual abuse, has never discussed her trauma with anyone, and its residual rage and pain have left her estranged from her shell-​shocked husband and grown children. Now approaching death, Kit is determined to complete and bequeath to her family a series of confessional…

Quality Close to Home

I enjoy being a wine contrarian — advocating for delicious white wines when people are conditioned to order red, and pouring domestic for customers who wouldn’t dream of drinking anything but an import.

Point and Shoot

You would never have thought it. That an ordinary medium, which simply traps the light that falls onto a surface and somehow saves it could be so powerful. You could rank it with the invention of the printing press. Nearly 200 years later, my little point-​and-​shoot may surprise you, as…

The Power of the Pelt

Behold the beaver! Beady-​eyed, snubnosed and bucktoothed, it is hardly a thing of beauty, yet the pursuit of this oversized rodent across North America launched more ships (and keelboats, rafts and canoes) than the lovely Helen of Troy, for all her charms.
Pittsburgh Quarterly Exclusive

An artrageous centennial

Centennials don’t happen every day. For the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh it is lasting a good year and then some. In 2008 Vicky Clark curated an exhibition at The Carnegie Museum of Art, “The Popular Salon of the People,” which surveyed the history of the AAP’s Annual Exhibition and showed…

The Golden Triangle Shines

Ten years ago, the death knell tolled for a much-​vaunted plan to re-​energize Downtown Pittsburgh through an explosion of eminent domain and new retail. The ambitious plan, led by Mayor Tom Murphy, succeeded in creating a gleaming new building that housed a Lazarus department store, as well as an unfortunate…

A Checkered Past

Renaissance, schmenaissance. To read Joe W. Trotter and Jared N. Day’s new book, “Race and Renaissance: African Americans in Pittsburgh Since World War II,” is to realize an inconvenient truth. The skies above our city may have cleared, but racial inequities of generations past still cast a pall on the…
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