Monday, July 23, 2012

Quick Art Trip to Pittsburgh

So what a whirlwind that was. I think I'm still recovering from all the driving.  It was worth it though.  Not only was it nice to be away from the DC area once more, it was nice to see some much needed green space a long the way.  Pennsylvania basically has 2 cities:  Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.  Everything else in between in farm land.  That's why my family and I generally refer to PA as Pennsyltucky.  I mean, it is, really.

That being said, Pittsburgh definitely has a different culture than Philadelphia, and is influenced a lot by it's history.  Obviously Pittsburgh is one of those cities that has seen money come and go.  And you never forget that.  On this trip I really noticed the stages of the city.  It was very vibrant in some places, while others were clearly still working class and struggling.  I saw many boarded up homes and places of businesses, but then I also saw the commercialism for Shady side (once you got a gap, you know it's over).  But I also saw great many homes being rejuvenated.  Things have changed, and some things stay the same.

One thing that I had forgotten about was the elite society.  I guess you could call them the "founding" families:  Heinz, Mellon, Carnegie, Westinghouse... to name a few.  Well you can tell that it exists. For instance, Friday night we made it over to Shadyside for some dinner.  There were a couple of places we wanted to check out for dinner.  So we made it to the restaurant, and it was nice.  I mean, I don't think we were really under dressed.  I was wearing a sundress, and my friends looked fine.  We were also a little earlier than usual for dinner out.  The first question they asked was if we had a reservation.. umm no.  And besides, it was Thursday.  So they offer us a seat outside.  Meanwhile, we're looking around and the place is completely empty.  Maybe you do need a reservation?  So we go up, and we actually have a perfectly nice experience.  The waitstaff was friendly, although they got my order wrong.  The food was good, and the cocktail superb.  So we finish up and on the way down I notice that this crowed IS dressed up.  I am actually in shock.  Not just a nicely, but like button down shirts, dress pants, strapless shiny dresses.  And then it hits me, there are people with money in this town, and they do like to let you know it.

I'm also reminded of the first week in college, when girls were showing me pictures of their debutante balls!  WHAT?  Debutante?  Oh wow...  There is a certain elitism in Pittsburgh, but if you look past all that, there is a genuine city.  These families do all sorts of things to give back to Pittsburgh, whether it's through the arts or schools.  One thing that Pittsburgh is not short on, is art.  And it takes money to make that happen.

This was an art trip after all, so let me show you some of the pictures.  We went to the Mattress Factory and the Andy Warhol Museum.  We also spotted some other art along the way.

We stayed at a strange bed and breakfast.  On the outside, it appeared to be a grand old house, but on the inside it was littered with dingy antiques, that might not have even belonged to the house.  It was clean - sort of, and the bed was ok.  The funniest thing about it was that this bed and breakfast had you make your own breakfast.  It was not good.  Pre-measured pancake mix (not homemade), grocery store pastries, old hard boiled eggs, and some slimy fruit.  Not even fresh brewed coffee, but instant.  Yep, not what I think of when I think bed and breakfast.  The guy was nice, but charged an awful lot for not a great experience.  Still the neighborhood was convenient, and I guess that is what we were paying for.

If you didn't stop at Breezewood, this would be your next best bet off the PA turnpike.  As you can see by the sign!

It's your Western PA diner chain.  With smiles!


Who can resist all these smiles?

Oakland, The Cathedral of Learning, Pitt Campus. 

Cathedral of learning, Pitt Campus

Scary mask next to our bed at the B and B.  At least there were no dead animals, that was the room our other friend stayed in.

Very rainy day before we head out to Mattress Factory.

Mattress Factory installation.  Everything covered in terry cloth, animals, paddles,  bath mats, and other things.

Mattress Factory installation.  Umm, lots of creepy busts.  Drugs, religion, illness, addiction, skeletons, wasting away, rock and roll.  This installation was set up as if you were looking into someone's front living room off the sidewalk.

The neon dot room.  pretty cool

Vicki striking a picture taking pose.  Sorry for the blur.

Here I am!

The Orange dot room with some orange dotted ladies!

Vicki getting a little fresh with the ladies.

One more.

Books stuck in plexiglass

Pittsburgh from the MF

Red.  Permanent collection at MF

Hanging newspaper from one side at the MF

Little piece that scratches on the wall, connected below, uses morse code??? 

Nature on the inside.

Balloon room, add a wish to the ribbon.  Some deflated.

Mirrored wall? nope.

Rope room.  3 circles of room with a speaker in each center, breaks up the orchestral music to here each section distinctively. I liked this one a lot.  

Cut out circles around the room.  Drywall layers.

The flood room.

I love the facade of this building.  All the different brick patterns.  It's almost like seeing inside a doll house.  

Suspended wood  sculpture.

Side of the Mattress Factory, love the green ivy.

Down the street from the Mattress Factory some people paint the exteriors of the houses with messages and murals.  Some are poems. 

Shadyside homes.  Beautiful.

Pittsburgh is a city of bridges.  They're surrounded by 3 rivers, and this is just one of their bridges.  Right next too the Andy Warhol Museum. 

We weren't allowed to take pictures on any of the floors except the first one.  So here are a few from the first floor exhibit.  This is Andy!

Making his mark with POP art.  Celebrating American treasures of consumerism and fame.

It's true, after I left his museum, I started seeing everything how he might of seen things.  What would he be doing today if he were still alive?  

Painting from his school days.

On the first floor, just loved this origami inspired pattern piece.  Not, Andy Warhol...I forget who.

Being silly.

Pittsburgh, and a full bottle of heinz.  The bottle empties and then refills.  Love that sign.

Nice mural on our way to the Strip District. To see a special exhibit Factory Direct, sponsored by the Warhol Museum and local industry.

Walking to the Warhol museum.

Art under the over pass.

Sneak shot at the Warhol balloon room.  Shhhh... don't tell.

Just like being home!  This wall paper cracks me up on so many levels.

Stop in Somerset, PA, off the turnpike.  On our way home.  Had totally forgotten that this little town was made famous by the incidents of 9/11.  

Coke! It's everywhere.  The funny thing, they didn't serve coke products.  They had pepsi products. 

A really nice diner, highly recommend stopping here if you need a break somewhere along your journey across PA.  Friendly service, hot food, and play free songs off their juke box!

Home is that way.

Ok, so I'm a little out of order.  The next few photos are from the Factory Direct Show. I really wanted these parts to move!

Ok, so this artist, ORLAN, came to the Warhol museum to measure the length of the museum with her body.  You can see the video of it at the Warhol, and then come here to see this and her white dress.

The dress.

Really beautiful space for the show, who would have thought it was above a self-storage warehouse.  

You can buy one of these rubber objects for $100.  They kind of look like a top of a plunger.

Ketchup multiples from around the world!

Beautiful reflective multiples of female nudes in various positions.  

Newspaper multiples.

You can make your own!

Ok, back to Somerset.  Why an elephant?? Well, apparently they rescue elephants not far from here.  Although, I read that they try to mate them. Not sure how I feel about having elephants mate in captivity, how would they ever be released into the African wild.  I totally think it's great to take care of an animal until their death, but I don't think it's a great idea to increase the elephant population in this way.  Still love elephants.

The diner.

Yep, I do believe Andy would have approved of this picture.

I would love to see more wind power in more places... Just my little two cents.
Well, I'm sure your eyes are full.  I know I needed a day or two to recoup from my day trip.  One more week of summer break, so I'm going to go off and try to enjoy my last week of freedom.

1 comment:

Jona said...

Holy CRAP that's a lot of photos! Your trip to PA obviously had some interesting effects on you. I love the photo of you looking up in the orange dot room. Art interpretation is so individual - I get some, I don't get some, but I guess it doesn't matter, right? Glad you enjoyed yourself. I could see how you needed to unwind after that!