Cultural Trust debuts new public art series with installation of spinning, psychedelic mini-gazebos | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Cultural Trust debuts new public art series with installation of spinning, psychedelic mini-gazebos

click to enlarge Students from the Vet Tech Institute take a break inside Los Trompos - CP PHOTO: LISA CUNNINGHAM
CP photo: Lisa Cunningham
Students from the Vet Tech Institute take a break inside Los Trompos
Trust Oasis, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's new pop-up art space Downtown, opens at tonight's Gallery Crawl with its first installation: a series of large, self-contained, spinning throne-like seats built of colorful polyester ropes and metal. The installation is called Los Trompos ("spinning tops"), created and conceived by Héctor Esrawe & Ignacio Cadena, and made its first appearance in Pittsburgh during this summer's Three Rivers Arts Fest (City Paper featured one on our cover).

click to enlarge Los Trompos at Three Rivers Arts Festival in June 2019 - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
Los Trompos at Three Rivers Arts Festival in June 2019
The five pieces at Trust Oasis (133 Seventh St.) each have distinct characteristics and color schemes. One looks literally like a spinning top (or a chunky martini glass); another resembles a carousel; others look like psychedelic mini-gazebos built by children with engineering degrees.

"The concept behind is based on an approach of traditional toys, their colorful expression, and the way they are constructed," Esrawe wrote in an email to CP. "We wanted to talk about the traditions and skills of the craftsmen in Mexico, as an inheritance of our culture. We like the idea of translating these techniques into new symbols."


While the designs are undeniably thoughtful and sturdy — Esrawe says it takes about three months to build 10 units — it's hard not to be drawn to them in a simpler, less cerebral context aka bright colors and spinning in place will always be fun for everyone. On the days that CP visited, the pieces were generally occupied but not especially crowded, with college students and children alike enjoying the peculiar structures. (Tonight's Gallery Crawl is the official opening, but the installation has been quietly up and open for around two weeks.)

click to enlarge Trust Oasis on Seventh Street - PHOTO: PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST
Photo: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Trust Oasis on Seventh Street
Los Trompos had its inaugural run at the Atlanta High Museum of Art in 2015, with 30 units in the museum's main square and 10 more spread throughout Atlanta's downtown.

"It was the first time that the installation came alive, and we confirmed that people really love interacting with the pieces," says Esrawe. He added that his favorite part of watching people react to Los Trompos is seeing "how they make people from all ages [have] fun. Only through this interaction and collaboration [does] the work come to life."

Los Trompos will remain open to the public until mid-December 2019, at which point the Cultural Trust will announce its next plans for the Trust Oasis.

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