Monday, January 12, 2009

The Pitts

On Friday my friend Jason and I drove down to Pittsburgh to visit the 55th Carnegie International, the Mattress Factory and The Warhol Museum. It's about 3.5 to 4 hours from Buffalo, depending on weather and traffic. It took us a little longer due to heavy snow on the first leg of the journey. I wrote in my last post that I was disappointed by the previous International but that I was more optimistic about this one, unfortunately, that optimism was misplaced. I was totally bored by this show. The only high points were Barry McGee's installation, and Mike Kelley's Kandors series (Kandors explained in my friend John Massier's blog here, scroll down a bit). I also liked Wilhelm Sasnal's paintings. We didn't get to see Doug Aitkens projection piece, you can only see it at night. Too bad, the stills sure look good. I don't know, maybe I have a problem, the percentage of art that I find interesting is so tiny...

Anyway, here are some images and notes from the trip. All of the pictures were taken with my iPhone, that's why the colors are so weird.

The drive down to Pittsburgh was somewhat harrowing, we encountered pretty heavy snow between Buffalo and Erie PA.

J-Con in front of the Barry McGee installation. I like McGee's work, I was really blown away by it the first time I encountered it 10 years ago. Even though I felt like I had seen all this before, it was done well.

The gallery guide described David Shrigley's work as "...Almost without exception, his works are hilarious, cynical, and sharply intelligent..." I don't generally agree with that assessment of Shrigley's stuff, but I have to say this piece got me.

Our ticket into the International got us into the Natural history part of the museum as well. We dashed through the dinosaur exhibit, which was pretty incredible, but I was most interested in seeing the display of Miocene and Pleistocene mammals. I've been thinking and reading a lot about this period lately, I'll explain why in another post.

The installation, Silver Clouds (
Created for a 1966 exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery) was my favorite at the Warhol. Fans blow Mylar balloons endlessly around the room. I would have spent an hour lying on the floor in there if I had the time. Strangely, I ran into Buffalonians (and all around great people) Hal and Elizabeth Leader, in the Warhol Museum. Leader All-Surface Printing has printed and mounted all of the pieces for the Stray Shopping Cart Project gallery shows.

This is me in the permanent Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Dots Mirrored Room installation at the Mattress Factory. They say not to take pictures, but please, who's not going to take a picture in that space! If I were the kind of artist that did work about art (if you know what I mean), I would do a series of flash photographs of James Turrell installations, the gallery text practically writes itself! It's probably already been done.

UFOs over Pittsburgh, viewed from The Mattress Factory.

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