In Crowdsourced, 12 local artists were asked to draw directly on the walls of SPACE Gallery, and to collaborate with the larger public, including attendees of the July 12 opening reception. At its best, this exhibit curated by Robert Raczka (a CP contributor) is a playful excursion into new ways to do art.
The works — many, appropriately enough, unsigned — range from pencil sketches to more conceptual pieces. In a colorful mural of numbered "Psychic Drawings," the artist wittily attempted to sketch what audience members were thinking. In "Redactions/Highlights," participants were asked to name a city location, then were provided with its Google Maps street view and told to "edit" it to improve the landscape. A parody of commercial yard signs includes "Start Today! Dismantle the Patriarchy from Home," and "Cubist House Painting."
Then there is Barbara Weisburger's display of cell-phone photos of food people sent her (including a cake reading "Best of Luck With Your Thing"). The dishes range from the banal to the artful; some of the food is quite tasty-looking, though that might have been because I saw the show before dinner. Continues through Sept. 1. 812 Liberty Ave., Downtown. www.pgharts.org
Rankin's Carrie Furnaces, part of a long-decommissioned U.S. Steel plant, are among the region's last non-working remnants of the Big Steel era. Silver Eye Center's open call for photos resulted in Carrie Furnaces: Contemporary Views.
These 51 images from 32 artists ably document how time and weeds have slowly drawn this National Historic Landmark back toward nature. In an image by Dan Wetmore, a rusting control panel is raked with sunlight like a forest floor, while in Howard Grill's "Carrie Furnace II," a bell-shaped blast furnace, tattooed with graffiti, looms amid concrete troughs pooling with silt. Adam Piscitelli's "Cold Steel" finds the plant through falling snow, across a river, haunting and haunted. In Brad Fetchin's "Light Blast," a shaft of sunlight reanimates a pool of molten metal.
Curiously, only three of these photos depict people, the most striking being Ivette Spradlin's wide shot of a young woman silhouetted before the complex. That's ironic — for as suggested by the expected still lifes of abandoned hardhats and tattered goggles, what really haunts us about Carrie is the absence of so many vanished lives there. Continues through Sat., Aug. 24. 1015 E. Carson St., South Side. 412-431-1810 or www.silvereyecenter.org