I'm feeling like death on wheels today (witness me!) after some incredibly delicious and potentially tainted Chinese food. But THAT WON'T STOP ME FROM LIVING (right?)! After an incredible week in Western Pennsylvania and a quick stop at a beautiful lock house on the C&O Canal, I'm back but with (virtual) treasures to share.
Though I ate some really substantially impressive meals (and pastries) and was surrounded by more Yinzer stuff than anyone could ever handle, Ima focus primarily here on art farts. I went to two art spaces, one of which is centered around the most popular artist of all time (arguable) and the other featuring work a little less recognizable.
I was never that big of a Warhol fan. I certainly appreciate him as a persona, and I appreciate his philosophies and the fact that he seemed to be having a lot of fun coming up with new things to make. I also like that it was damn near impossible to tell when he was winking at the audience. But the art itself, while fun and interesting to talk about, I've never really found that interesting to see.
HOWever, The Andy Warhol Museum is absolutely massive--in fact, it's the largest single artist museum in the world--and this is what makes it truly special. On top of having four decades of work that evolves exponentially as his life went on (so much work), there are hours of television and film materials to watch, as well as two floors exploring his personal possessions. Seeing his evolution into a persona-wielding art icon and what he chose to use his fame for, really filled him in as an artist. But to tell the truth, if I could talk about no other part, I'd talk about the silver cloud room.
This room of pillow-shaped mylar balloons turned me into a child. There are fans attached to the walls to circulate the balloons, which look like sleepy, flying creatures. If hunger did not become a problem, I would have never left this room. My friend Rush and I herded them into a fast moving pattern and managed to get 3 or 4 of them out of the room by trajectory before the high school museum attendants noticed. I could not have been more in love with a moment. Never underestimate the power of playfulness in art. In life. Never stop playing. Amen.
I also went to the Society for Contemporary Craft in the Strip. This building is a gallery space workshop and social space celebrating, you guessed it, CRAFTS, but with an established, artistic bent. Their current show was called Mindful, artists examining mental health through their works. It was a nice industrial space with lots of natural light, displaying a nice variety of artists and mediums as they explored depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicide. The pieces were very tactile, and the artists shared some of the tools behind their processes and the influences and experiences which inspired the pieces.
Downstairs they had a woodshop, workshop, kiln, the works (of making stuff) And the center offered classes with some of the artists featured in the gallery. I could not have felt more at home or connected with the material. Starting to come out of my own two year depression, I breathed in these explorations of the mind, off-balanced. I also learned about Allie Brosh and her stories. Which I had certainly seen before, but never understood how much her work delves into the psyche of being a person and deals directly with her own bout with depression and shame. I have never read a more accurate description of depression than hers. And for that alone, the visit was a success
On the way out of Pittsburgh we gathered with friends at a historic lock house on the beautiful C&O Canal and made fires and ate and laughed and explored (trespassed on) some park land that was owned by one of our grandparents and everything felt just a little bit easier than it has felt for so long. I took the balloons with me. I took the candid stories of depression. I took the history of our grandparents. I took the laughter and concern of my friends. I wear them all like bunches of fabric draped over me. An impromptu layering. Bundling out into the grey-white world.
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