Maira Kalman’s contribution to the Travelogue series shows an essay can take many forms. Eight paintings and a short text illuminate two weeks of travel and research for the Carnegie International. Kalman was not on the trip, which I took with Ruba Katrib, the talented curator at the SculptureCenter in New York. I invited Ruba to accompany me as a companion and thinking partner to some place new to both of us; Ruba’s interest in the proximity of post-Soviet and Middle Eastern cultures led us to the Caucasus region.
If you drive out of Downtown Pittsburgh on Bigelow Boulevard, you speed around between the Strip and the Hill before descending along Craig Street, as if City Beautiful Oakland were a pool you slowly dip back into after flying around on the automobile-era roadway. The Front Studio office at 357 North Craig Street is one of the first things you see as you cruise through the Queene Anne rowhouses, toward the apartment buildings and eventually the churches and cultural institutions.
In December of 1968, during one of Walt Harper’s famed jazz workshops, Charles “Teenie” Harris captured one of the more arresting photographs of his career. The black-and-white image shows Nina Simone sitting at her piano, one time out of maybe ten thousand in her life, facing a small crowd in the ballroom of the Hilton Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. In the foreground, just beyond the platform’s precipice, there is stark blackness. Up on stage, Simone is shrouded in darkness, save for the stage light reflecting off of her piano. A circle of spotlight shines on a curtain in the background and provides contrast for her silhouette.
Last December, while Michael Williams was producing a suite of new paintings and a series of drawings for his first US solo museum exhibition at Carnegie Museum of Art, Suzanne Hudson had the opportunity to visit with him in his Los Angeles studio. They spoke about painting, the use of allegory in his work, Instagram culture, our endless digital feeds, and much more.
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Artist collective Transformazium wants you to know there is already a long history of arts and culture in Braddock that doesn’t need to be revitalized.
For over 20 years, Pittsburgh residents Karl and Jennifer Salatka have been active members and voices at Carnegie Museum of Art. While today they possess a collection vibrant with key modern era artists and their own unique personal aesthetic, neither of them began the journey with a background in art history or even a familiarity with the Museum of Art. Avid curiosity and a self-motivation to learn have guided the Salatkas towards embracing a newfound passion for art.
There, in Umuahia, on a rainy afternoon, a dead man was moved on a stretcher from the hospital ward to the morgue. The man was the age of my father, whom I was sitting beside. I remember noting, as I glanced at each man, that they radiated a similar serenity.