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.
Michael Williams at Carnegie Museum of Art, April 2017. (Photo: Bryan Conley)
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.
Since 2012, Pittsburgh-based artist Lenka Clayton has been producing poetic drawings using only the keys of her 1957 Smith Corona Skyriter typewriter. Last year, Eric Crosby, curator of modern and contemporary art at CMOA, invited her to visit the museum and produce a body of work based on snapshots taken in galleries and behind-the-scenes spaces. The museum acquired 16 of these drawings, titled Dispatches from the Museum. Each work in the series shows her technical virtuosity with the machine, as well as an imaginative wit.
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.
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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.
It’s a cold morning in early December and cartoonist Frank Santoro is sitting in the kitchen of his Swissvale row house, WKCR-FM tuned in on a nearby radio as he sips coffee from a white ceramic mug.
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.