Monday, November 23, 2015

PREVIEW // Family Day 2015

Looking for something to do after you've had your share of turkey and stuffing? Want something the whole family can enjoy after some early morning shopping? Join us for Family Day, on November 27th from 11am - 4pm! Activities will be located in the museum lobby @ 500 Sampsonia Way and are FREE with museum admission.

Make a patterned sphere medallion inspired by Bill Smith's spherodendron.

Imagine and create a movable museum creature that could live comfortably in any one of our installations.

Rob Voerman had the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning in mind when he created his piece, Faculty. Share your very own favorite Pittsburgh architecture by drawing it, sharing a story, or using your imagination to edit, alter and have with the steel city's skyline!

Weave a collaborative string installation with your family. Will you choose to be wild and chaotic like Chiharu Shiota's Trace of Memory? Or are you more orderly and straightforward like Anne Lindberg's Shift Lens?

Play with light in our mini-factory. Even the youngest guests can participate in exploring shadows, shapes and colors with projectors and flashlights!

Go on an adventure when you explore all three museum buildings with an interactive scavenger hunt. Keep your eyes and ears open and sketch, draw and record your findings.

Enjoy face painting by Rikki and warm up with a free hot cocoa at our hot chocolate bar!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

RECAP // Teen Art Cooperative

If you come to the Mattress Factory on a Thursday afternoon, you might just see the Teen Art Cooperative in action - making, discussing, dreaming and scheming. Building from the success of the Summer Art Cooperative, this FREE program for high school students is in its first year and currently boasts twelve young artists. during the course of the school year, the teens will have the opportunity to meet with ten different teaching artists for workshops, plan three of their own events, talk with museum staff, and outline and expand upon personal goals.

The Teen Art Cooperative poses for a photo with artist Thad Mosley outside of his studio in Manchester.

The Cooperative aims to make the Mattress Factory an open space and a resource for teens in the same way that it is for professional artists. We believe that there are many different and exciting ways to exist as a creative individual in the world, and we want to showcase that. By examining tons of ideas and practices that fall under the umbrella term of art, we hope to provide the teens with more skills and confidence as they begin choosing their own paths and transitioning into life after high school. We think that art jobs are tough jobs, and we want to take them seriously, and make some friends along the way!

Artist Ceci Ebitz demonstrates a method of dyeing fabric with natural materials.

The teens come from high schools all over the city, including Avonworth, CAPA, Chartiers Valley, The Ellis School, Mars Area, Oakland Catholic, Obama Academy, Seneca Valley, and Total Learning Academy. In their first two months, the teens have done all sorts of things. We visited artist Thad Mosley in his studio and learned about his woodcarving and life practices, perfected over the span of seven decades. We planned our first Cooperative event and screen-printed event flyers, under the guidance of Jen Rockage and Lauren Bailey at Artist Image Resource. We learned various ways to dye fabric with natural materials with the help of local artist Cecilia Ebitz. We have made connections and gotten to know each other better. It's just the beginning and we are so excited for what's to come!

Adia Taimuty-Loomis, a junior from Mars Area High School, says that she looks forward to coming to the Cooperative every week. "Coming down here to my favorite art museum every Thursday and spending time with some amazing people is the absolute highlight of my week... Learning about the ways these fellow artists think and work influences my art and makes me a better artist myself. I love learning about the different occupations artists can have by going to places like AIR."

A Co-op teen screen-prints a flyer for their first event in December

Join us for our first event Gala in the Graveyard on December 10 from 6-8 p.m. in the Mattress Factory Lobby at 500 Sampsonia Way. Dress as your favorite departed icon of art or music. Admission is FREE, refreshments and fun activities are provided, and the galleries at 500 Sampsonia Way will be open for you to explore! We hope to see you there.

Friday, November 20, 2015

RECAP // Mini-Factory: FUTURE!

What does the FUTURE look like? What does it hold? Our intrepid group of young artists at the Mattress Factory explored the FUTURE through Rob Voerman's current installation Faculty,now on view through summer 2016.

Using some great children's literature as our jumping-off point, our Mini-Factory program embarked on a journey to the FUTURE with our imagination. Faculty demonstrates one point of view of what can happen when we allow ourselves to be inspired by the built environment. Rob Voerman extrapolates futuristic architecture from the Cathedral of Learning while balancing the concept of discussion and exchange of ideas. Seats and tables have been built into the fabric of the installation for viewers to linger and soak in their surroundings... inspiration takes hold. Built from recycled materials such as cardboard and stained glass, Faculty shows one artist's use of ready-made materials for construction - perhaps the wave of the FUTURE.

After exploring inside and out, we sat down to create our own rendition of FUTURE buildings. Using various recycled materials, students allowed the FUTURE to capture their imagination ... and onwards, forwards, and upwards we went ... with our eyes on the FUTURE.

Mini-Factory is an interactive learning program for children ages 3 - 5 years old and their parents or caregivers. Using contemporary installation art, parents and children will explore new ideas and concepts from the everyday world. Join us at 10am on December 12th for OPPOSITES!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

RECAP // Member Appreciation Week!

We know that members are a vital and vibrant part of the Mattress Factory, which is why from November 3 - 8, the museum held its first ever Member Appreciation Week! The special week-long celebration of our members featured daily events and special deals.

We kicked off the week with special members-only discounts for membership purchases, in the MF Shop, and the MF Café!

On Tuesday, members of all ages explored their creative side during Household Membership Day. Artistic creations included buttons, magnets, and colorful collages.

Members exploring James Turrell's Danaë

Next up was the Hump Day Members Mixer, where members and friends got to explore the museum after-hours through a Scavenger Hunt and exclusive tour of the latest exhibition Factory Installedled by museum Co-Director Michael Olijnyk.

Not to mention a smorgasbord of goodies, including pretzels from The Pretzel Shop and beer courtesy of Penn Brewery!
Members enjoying snacks and drinks @ 500 Sampsonia

On Thursday was the next installment of MF's popular Art + Conversation series, with Factory Installed artist Bill Smith. Members, in addition to their usual free admission to the series, enjoyed complimentary drinks while participating in a discussion between Bill Smith and Eddy Man Kim, a professor at the CMU School of Architecture.

Free Friend Friday - need we say more? Members were able to bring guests to the museum for FREE - what a perfect start to the weekend!

Finally, we wrapped up the week with our Saturday Coffee Date with Bill Smith. Bagels, pastries, donuts, croissants, fruit, a full espresso bar, Zeke's Coffee, and Arnold's Tea ... just to name some of the things served at this breakfast bonanza!

The chat with Bill was similarly a diverse cornucopia of topics, including the intuitive construction of his installation, "spherodendron," x-ray crystallography, and the relationship between science, the arts, and the humanities.

Thank you again to everyone that participated in Member Appreciation Week! Stay tuned for our next members' event on November 21 - a Coffee Date with "Factory Installed" artist Lisa Sigal. RSVP by emailing For more information or to become a member, please visit

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Seeking Artists for the 2015 Winter Art Market!

Calling all Pittsburgh and regional artists! We're selecting artists for the 2nd Annual Winter Art Market and we'd love to see your work. Curated by the MF Shop, this salon-style pop-up marketplace features a range of artistic styles and media. The Market will be open during our two busiest weekends of the year, and will showcase participating artists' work to our museum visitors from around the world!

What you should know before submitting your work:
  • All media considered, all artworks must be display ready
  • All price points considered, though works under $200 are encouraged
  • All artwork must be delivered (either in person or by mail) to the Mattress Factory by Wednesday, December 9
  • The Market will run from Saturday, December 12 - Sunday December 20
  • The Mattress Factory will handle all sales tax and will take a small commission on sold works

INTERESTED? Please email us with the following information:
  • Information about you and your work.
  • A link to your website (if applicable).
  • Images of work you'd like to include in the Market.
    • Artwork dimensions appreciated.
  • A general price range of your work.

All submissions must be received by Friday, November 13.
Questions? Please email the Shop. No calls please.

More images of our 2014 Winter Art Market can be seen HERE.

Monday, October 26, 2015

RECAP // Coffee Date with John Morris

Saturday, October 24, 2015

MF members joined Pittsburgh-based artist John Morris this past Saturday for another edition of the Mattress Factory’s Coffee Date series, where art talk and breakfast treats go hand-in-hand. John Morris’ work “Life, Afterlife” is currently exhibiting at 1414 Monterey Street as part of 2015's Factory Installed exhibition.

John describes himself as a life-long doodler, and “Life, Afterlife” as an evolution of his doodles and earlier two-dimensional drawings. He studied at the Pratt Institute in New York, where he primarily focused on commercial illustration. As his artistic experimentation progressed, he began to see paper as a barrier. His current creative process is the result of eliminating paper and his unique three-dimensional drawing techniques. 

Members discovered that the installation's translucent menagerie of utensils, drooping bottles, and other objects are not made out of glass, but actually acrylic medium. John draws using clear acrylic medium on glass and then peels it off, creating cast objects evocative of “glass antiquities” as one member put it. These objects also respond to gravity, slowly wilting, transforming and distorting over time.
A talented member shares her sketch from the Coffee Date.

Other fascinating tidbits include:
  • It took three weeks for John to install “Life, Afterlife.”
  • Most objects were actually found/created beforehand, and then transported to the Mattress Factory in a cabinet that MF staff member Caitlin Harpster described as a “very orderly, surprising source of chaos.”
  • John’s sources of inspiration over the course of his artistic career range from Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel to Beatriz Milhazes.
Want to learn the insider’s story behind other Mattress Factory art works? Join us for our next Coffee Date on November 7 with Bill Smith! This is a special edition Coffee Date, where a full breakfast bonanza will be served as part of our Member Appreciation Week, a week-long celebration featuring member-exclusive programming and discount prices on memberships!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

RECAP // Factory 500 @ Alloy Pittsburgh at Carrie Furnaces

Armed with steaming cups of hot apple cider, Factory 500members traversed the grounds of the Carrie Furnaces, an unlikely yet striking setting for contemporary installation art. 

Carrie Furnaces, built in 1907, is home to two non-operative blast furnaces that produced iron for Homestead Works up until 1978. Left unmaintained, the site began to show its years with plant overgrowth, rust, and graffiti. Now, as part of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, Carrie Furnaces is undergoing a post-industrial renaissance as a historical, cultural, and artistic center.

Alloy Pittsburgh has led this renaissance with their biannual program, offering 15 artists from the greater Pittsburgh region the opportunity to develop temporary site-based artworks at Carrie Furnaces. Factory 500 members were treated to a tour led by Alloy Pittsburgh co-founders Chris McGinnis and Sean Derry, with artists present to introduce and discuss their own works.

The artworks spoke to the rich history and unique structural environment of Carrie Furnaces.

The crunch of coke coal underneath member's feet carried an eerie note in Sarika Goulatia's work Strength of Stele.
Rose Clancy showed members her process in action. She creates brilliant colors and textures by wrapping and placing objects found on site with white fabric and dousing them with water repeatedly over time.

The tour wrapped up with everyone gathered around a toasty bonfire. That evening, Alloy Pittsburgh held a film screening of Modern Times accompanied by a dinner, which members were invited to attend.

Thank you to everyone who attended the event! Stay tuned for news of our next Factory 500 event.

Factory 500 is the Mattress Factory's premier membership program, chaired by Susan Lammie. The group tours private collections, artist studios, local businesses, and other interesting arts destinations in Pittsburgh several times throughout the year. Don't miss out - Join today!