Friday, April 11, 2014

Garfield Gallery Opens Second Location at The Waterfront

Posted by on Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 3:56 PM

The newest addition to Homestead’s Waterfront shopping complex isn’t what you’d expect — a spin-off of Most Wanted Fine Art, Jason and Nina Sauer’s somewhat edgy storefront gallery on Penn Avenue.

The Waterfront Most Wanted holds its grand opening tomorrow, in a vast, 5,500-square-foot space right next to The Gap.

Most Wanted Fine Arts new space at The Waterfront
  • Photo courtesy of Jamie Sauer
  • Most Wanted Fine Art's new space at The Waterfront

“This is definitely a dream of mine come true,” says Jason Sauer.

The grand-opening exhibit, from 10 a.m.-9 p.m., will feature artwork by Sauer and several other local artists, including Darrell Kinsel, William Wright, Sam Thorp, Jason Woolslare and Nina Sauer (Jason’s spouse). Attractions will include free beer samples from nearby Rock Bottom Brewery for those 21 and over.

Sauer, reached today by phone, says he’s excited about the chance to find new audiences.

Indeed, the new location — a former Hollister store in close proximity to Waterfront tenants like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dave & Buster’s, Old Navy and Bed Bath & Beyond — is likely to draw a rather different crowd from the one that frequents Penn Avenue’s Unblurred gallery crawls, which include Sauer’s seven-year-old gallery.

So Sauer is stocking the frontmost of its three rooms with his own more traditional work — landscapes and such that he calls “my travel paintings.”

The middle room will house Bizarre! Bazaar!, an installation by Dr. Morose & Miss Macabre’s House of Oddities featuring dark-humored art by Macabre Noir, Nick Noir and others.

The back room will contain edgier work by Sauer and others.

The new space is probably three times the size of his original location, even if you include the funky, rec-roomy basement, with its curious bathroom. But Sauer — an Army veteran and former demolition-derby driver — says he’ll have no trouble filling it: A prolific painter, he says his own back catalog (including works that sometimes incorporate car parts) is nearly enough to fill the space all by itself.

Meanwhile, Sauer says that programming at the original Most Wanted location, including its new artist-residency program, will continue as before.

A larger question might be how a storefront gallery that leans toward underground art ended up in such a big space in a mass-market retail district — and how Sauer can afford such a space.

The answer seems to lie with M&J Wilkow and BIG USA Shopping Centers, the firms that in 2012 jointly acquired most of the Waterfront development from DDR Corp.

“The Waterfront, under new ownership and management, contacted MWFA as a part of their community outreach plan to partner with independent artists, musicians, and organizations,” says Nina Sauer via email.

While Jason Sauer says Most Wanted has a lease at the Waterfront, he declines to discuss its terms. But he sounds like he wants to do his best to bring something new to the Waterfront while still fitting in.

“We’re gonna have regular hours there,” he says proudly, “just like The Gap.”

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Women Poets Perform Downtown Tomorrow Night

Posted by on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 12:57 PM

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust honors Women’s History Month and National Poetry Month with “Being … She Said,” with performances by 10 local poets.

Featured are such high-profile talents as Tameka Cage-Conley, Christiane D. and Vanessa German. Other poets include Heather Arnet (who heads the Women and Girls Foundation), Veronica Corpuz, Barbara Dahlberg and Shaunda Miles, plus Young Writers Institute poets Carlee Benhart, Kate Bour and Amanda Tybl.

The show is at 8 p.m. tomorrow, at the Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Tickets are $10-12 and are available here.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Free "Forest Devil" Artist Talk at the Carnegie Tomorrow

Posted by on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Sculptor Kenneth Snelson gives a talk tomorrow at the Carnegie Museum of Art, where his 1977 cables-and-cylinders work "Forest Devil" now resides, after being moved from its longtime spot in Downtown's Mellon Square Park.

Forest Devil, in the rear of the Carnegie Museum of Art
  • "Forest Devil," in the rear of the Carnegie Museum of Art

Snelson will discuss the artistic concept he developed: tensegrity, defined in a 2004 Slate article on Snelson as a system in which “forces simultaneously push and pull against each other to maintain a strong but flexible shape.”

Snelson’s work spans the globe, from major cities like Tokyo, Berlin and Washington D.C., to Columbus, Ohio, and Cedar Hills, Texas. "Forest Devil" was created in Pittsburgh for an art event known as Sculpturescape, which promoted collaboration between local industrial firms and artists who had exhibited around the world. The 1,500-pound sculpture is made from aircraft cables and steel tubes.

Though his work has been compared to that of an engineer, Snelson is careful to assert that his art is separate from engineering.

“Engineers make structures for specific uses, to support something, to hold something, to do something,” he writes on his website. “My sculptures serve only to stand up by themselves and to reveal a particular form such as a tower or a cantilever or a geometrical order probably never seen before; all of this because of a desire to unveil, in whatever ways I can, the wondrous essence of elementary structure.”

Snelson’s talk takes place at the CMA theater at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cirque du Soleil Wackiness at Strip Primanti’s

Posted by on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Three performers from the touring Cirque Du Soleil show Varekai invaded Primanti’s Brothers in the Strip District this morning to publicize the show’s upcoming performance in Pittsburgh.




There was Kamikaze, who sported a reflective blue outfit with fins on his head and back; the Guide, dressed in all black and sporting a helmet with a lightbulb ; and Skywatcher, a shirtless blonde wearing brown pants and green leaves sprouting from his waist.

Faces covered in elaborate makeup, they stepped behind the lunch counter to help the restaurant’s long-time manager, Toni Haggerty, make a pastrami sandwich. The three spoke only using short grunts (though Skywatcher did let out a “Madonna!” as he held up two Styrofoam cups to his nipples.)

On Thursday, you can see them in their element at the Petersen Events Center, where Varekai debuts at 7:30 p.m.

The show (a big-top version of which played Pittsburgh in 2007) follows a young man who falls from the sky and lands in the forest ofVarekai, a place where whimsical creatures roam. Attendees can expect to see jugglers, aerial acrobats, contortionists, and of course, clowns.

The show continues through Sunday, with a Friday performance at 7:30 p.m., Saturday performances at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday performances at 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Tickets are $32-100. Buy them here.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

GIF Contest Taking Submissions Until Friday

Posted by on Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Since its creation in 1987, the GIF has become a relic of online culture. And now there's a locally based contest to find the best one.


The acronym stands for “Graphics Interchange Format” and refers to a graphics file containing compressed video. It’s a versatile and popular art form: Message-board users stake their identity by using animated GIFs as their avatars; others use them to spread the gospel of Grumpy Cat; and some have even argued over the term’s correct pronunciation — with a “j” sound, like the peanut butter, or with a hard “g” sound, as in “gift”? (The GIF’s creator, Steve Wilhite, has officially said it’s pronounced the first way.)

To celebrate this medium, the artist collective VIA is holding T.GIF, a bracket-style contest for original GIFs.

More than 80 artists have been asked to submit their GIFs to the contest, but until Friday, you can submit your own GIF to the official website, too.

Acceptable files may range in size from 500 pixels by 500 pixels to 1000 pixels by 1000 pixels; submissions should be no larger than 2 MB, and they must have been created between March 2013 and March 2014.

According to the press release, the final 64 participants will be chosen by “a guest panel of [extreme] gif enthusiasts.”

Via will announce the final contenders on its website and social media on Sun., March 16. To decide the winner, the public will then vote on their favorites from March 20 to April 7.

The winner gets a $100 "Gif" certification to GIFPOP, a tool to make custom cards from animated GIFS, using lenticular printing.

Submit your best GIF here.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Carole Lombard Biographer Hosts Film Screening Tomorrow

Posted by on Mon, Mar 3, 2014 at 3:30 PM

A locally based expert on the Hollywood legend, and her untimely death, hosts a screening of one her best-loved films at the North Side’s Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church.


Robert Matzen, author of Fireball: Carole Lombard & The Mystery of Flight 3, will introduce the 1936 comedy My Man Godfrey. The film starred the great comic actress alongside William Powell.

Lombard died in a plane crash in the Mojave Desert in 1942. Matzen, formerly a filmmaker for NASA, has spoken as an expert on the actress’ life in BBC documentaries and elsewhere. He has explored not only her on-screen roles but her life as a women’s-rights advocate, wife of Clark Gable and the highest-paid woman in Hollywood.

Matzen says Fireball contains many previously unknown photos and newly uncovered evidence about Lombard and especially about the crash.

Tomorrow’s screening, part of a festival honoring Powell, a native of Allegheny City, is at 6:30 p.m. The church is located at 416 W. North Ave.

For more information on Fireball, see

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Friday, February 28, 2014

The Carnegie's Evening of Drawing With Nicole Eisenman

Posted by on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 1:30 PM

In a gallery on the first floor of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Sarah Moreno, a retired elementary school teacher from Bethel Park, sketched a man with tattoos spiraling out of the bottom edges of his black boxer briefs. Her pencil box lying between her knees, Moreno drew with her left hand, her light strokes contrasting with those of a woman sitting a few feet to her left, where thick dark lines punched out from the page.

Sarah Moreno draws at the museum

Moreno, who taught first- and second-graders for more than 40 years, said that drawing was something she’s always wanted to do but didn’t have time for. “I want to get out all these ideas before I die,” she laughed.

She was just one in a crowd of about 300 who attended last night's Drawing Experience with Nicole Eisenman, the internationally known artist who won the 2013 Carnegie International's Carnegie Prize.

The workshop was part of Carnegie Mellon's three-day DRAW2014symposium. Artists were clustered throughout the museum, drawing the live models stationed in different galleries. Eisenman had just shared her thoughts on the medium during her opening remarks: Drawing, she said, is “one of the first moments of recognizing agency in the world.” It “means more than to be represented by a line drawn across the page … It means to be allured.”

Moreno was excited to attend; the museum stopped offering art classes right around the time she got into art. “I always wanted to be an artist,” she whispered in the museum’s hall of sculpture as she sketched a female model with pierced nipples. “But I had to bide my time [with a more practical career].”

That’s part of what brought Moreno here tonight. The other part is the allure that Eisenman spoke about. A member of the Carnegie Museum, Moreno estimated she’d seen the 2013 Carnegie International show five or six times. And it showed: She pointed out an Eisenman painting she loves — “I’m With Stupid,” in which a clown-nosed boy wears a shirt printed with the same statement and an arrow pointing downward, his genitalia completely bare — as we wandered along the hall of sculpture balcony. This is where the Carnegie Prize winner also has a sculpture of a seated figure slouched over and texting — right next to a Roman copy of a Greek statue.

(“She’s so creative,” Moreno said later in the lobby, speaking about Eisenman. “There’s a sense of humor with her work that I enjoy, and yet there’s a serious side too.”)

Now that she’s retired, Moreno is turning her garage into a studio. Though she first claimed to not be an artist when asked for an interview, at the end of the night she made a different statement. “I think everyone’s an artist. But a lot of people get inhibited because they look at other people’s work and they think, ‘Oh I can’t do that.’ People say they can’t draw but I think everybody can draw. It’s just [a matter of] making effort and being free.”

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Musicians and stage performers sought for meeting tonight

Posted by on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 2:36 PM

City of Asylum/Pittsburgh hosts an informational meeting tonight with representatives of artists from the Czech Republic for a community-based artists residency and free performances this summer.

The Archa Theater and its All-Star Refjudzi band will be in residence at City of Asylum. It’s seeking local musicians, actors, dancers, other performers and volunteers to participate in creating and performing in “a musical/theatrical event based on stories from within Pittsburgh’s refugee communities.”

Archa is a leading Czech Republic theater company. The band, led by American musician Michael Romanyshyn, combines music of different styles and various cultural sources. See more on the group’s Vimeo channel.

Archa and the band will be in residency in June, with free performances planned on June 28 and 29. Here’s more about the project.

Tonight’s meeting is at 330 Sampsonia Way, on the North Side, at 6 p.m. Email Julie Tvaruzek at if you can attend.

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Toonseum To Hold “Cause-Play Party”

Posted by on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 8:46 AM

The museum of cartoon art hosts a unique fundraiser this Saturday — and perhaps one only this venue could get away with.

Guests are encouraged to show up as their favorite character, whether superhero, movie or TV personage, anime entity, stormtrooper or furry. It’s ideal for anyone looking for somewhere to play dress up between the last comic-con and next Halloween.

The party’s at Downtown’s Tilden Lounge. Prizes and trophies will be awarded to costumed attendees in multiple categories.

There’ll also be a live DJ, silent auction (for items including character costumes, original art, tickets to activities around town and more), light hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and “specially crafted Super Shots.”

Attendees must be 21 and over (and sorry — you’ll have to unmask at the door for the ID check).

The costume party starts 8:30 p.m. at the Tilden Lounge. Tickets are $20 and available here or at the door. A $50 VIP ticket gets you in for mingling at 7:30 p.m.

Tilden Lounge, a private club, is located at 941 Liberty Ave., two doors down from Toonseum.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Registration Deadline for Big Drawing Symposium

Posted by on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Tomorrow is the deadline to register for workshops and special events in DRAW2014, the four-day drawing symposium hosted by Carnegie Mellon in partnership with the University of the Arts London.

  • Art by Nicole Eisenman

The Feb. 27-March 1 symposium takes place at locations on CMU’s campus, the Carnegie Museum of Art and Artists Image Resource. It includes artist projects, lectures, presentations, demonstrations, panel discussions, performances and hands-on workshops about the processes, materials and ideas that influence drawing today.

Many of the events, including keynote lectures by artists including Amy Sillman, Stephen Farthing and Shahzia Sikander, are free and don’t require registration. But the workshops and some special events have limited capacity.

Events requiring registration include Feb. 27’s “Drawing Experience with Nicole Eisenman,” a one-night group workshop with live models and led by this Carnegie International artist.

To register, and for more informtion, see here.

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