Arts

Gershwin in Pittsburgh

George Gershwin will be forever associated with New York City. This most American of composers derived his inspiration from Manhattan’s energy, skyscrapers, jazz, nightlife, and evolving Broadway-​musical art form.
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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.

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);…

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…

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…
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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…
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Reanimation

Night drivers in western Pennsylvania will know the quickening experience when a deer is caught by the car’s headlamps. Usually it’s a momentary, harmless event, but always a bit of a shock. Filmmakers (Jean Cocteau, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch) use the same kind of device to sometimes devastating effect. In…

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.

Dramatic Movement

In an empty annex of the Strip District’s typically post-​industrial Gage Building, propped against a supporting beam on the hard factory floor, disparate objects sit like the sad leftovers from a garage sale. Karla Boos, founder and artistic director of Quantum Theatre, surveys the items with Jed Harris, veteran Pittsburgh…

Art in the Trees

Junior high woodworking class is as close as many of us have ever gotten to making something with our own hands. We developed a tactile awareness of the silky smoothness of well-​sanded wood and that need to run our fingers over the soft warmth of a finished piece of walnut.

Collected Treasures

When Ailsa Mellon Bruce died in 1969, she left behind a collection of fine and decorative arts that was as extraordinary as it was extensive. The daughter of U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon and sister of the equally noted collector Paul Mellon, she had spent much of her…
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A dance to remember

A series of events this fall observe the Holocaust by Reid Frazier /​/​Fall 2009 On September 12, 2001, Steven Mills, the artistic director of Ballet Austin, staggered into work with a cup of coffee in hand, and, like most of America, began talking about the national calamity he’d watched on…
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Jazzy notes

On a painted mural behind the small stage of Pittsburgh’s newest jazz club, a singer in a dark red, strapless gown with a black bob hairdo sings to a sketched cityscape resembling Pittsburgh’s skyline at dusk. The real thing — Etta Cox — was there too, crooning standards “Teach Me Tonight” and “Misty” with…

Reconsidering the ‘40s

Especially nowadays, you get a different kind of art in times of war, variously patriotic, indignant and escapist. When these elements exist together, they are best nurtured by the democratic postulate, which, in times of war, itself hangs only by the skin of its teeth.
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