Thursday, March 26, 2015

RECAP // Coffee Dates with Kathleen Montgomery

This past Saturday, March 21st, marked the second installment of the Mattress Factory's new member program Coffee Dates with special guest Kathleen Montgomery. MF Members of all ages gathered around the tables in the MF Café to sit and chat with her.
Kathleen Montgomery is one of the artists in the Mattress Factory's current exhibition Artists in Residence. Her exhibition, "Body Memory Architecture" is located at the museum's satellite gallery 1414 Monterey Street. Kathy's exhibition closes March 29th. She is a long-time friend of the Mattress Factory that first exhibited at the MF in 1989 with a solo show "Toward the Dark," and again in a Gestures show in 2003. More information about these exhibitions can be found in the Active Archive on our website.

After everyone got settled with their coffee and tea, the conversation was quick to begin with an opening comment by Kathleen regarding how she begins her artistic process. "It's all made by hand. My hands are where I start," she said. Members were eager to jump in, drawing their own connections to the human form and body. One member made the comment that the exhibition felt "meditative and spiritual." Another referred to it as "beautifully wild." Another member said she was speechless.
The next Coffee Date will be with artist John Peña on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 10:30am in the MF Café. RSVP to

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

ALL-NEW // "Screenings 2015"

This is the third installment of Screenings, an installation of spontaneous film sketches inspired by the Mattress Factory's Gestures series. In this ongoing exhibition series, artists have been invited to create a new work specifically for the Mattress Factory's lobby projection screen. Each artist was asked to provide a quick and gestural "sketch" and encouraged to experiment outside their normal way of working. The second screening of 2015 will be Alexi Morrissey's Pirate Copy, which will run from March 13- April 2 in the Mattress Factory Lobby. 

Pirate Copy
Running Time: 38 minutes 

Alexi Morrissey (b. 1971) is an American artist working in sculpture, performance and installation art. He has exhibited nationally and internationally working both as an auteur and a collaborator executing projects with individuals, collectives, institutions and governments. These concerns have led him to interrogate the commonplace notions of function, public space, history, language and the pervasive construct of narrative. He has done tele-present performance art with youth prisoners, lectured on the history of planetary robotics and made sculptures that talk to the dead. He lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA.

PREVIEW // "Factory Installed" Exhibition

Preparations for the upcoming exhibition Factory Installed are already underway! Factory Installed is a two-part exhibition opening in May and September that will feature installations from eight artists chosen from a pool of over 500 applicants. One of these artists, Biogenous, explores the architectural use of mutually beneficial microbes to change buildings from units of consumption to units of production. Earlier this week, Jake Douenias of Biogenous explained some of his early designs to Heather McElwee and Jason Forck of the Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC).

During day one of working in the PGC hot shop, Jake continues to tweak his CAD designs while Jason begins work at the glassblower’s bench. New school and old school unite in a beautiful way.

The final shapes will be filled with several gallons of water and suspended from the ceiling, so Jake must test the design of his hanging system using an unfinished early prototype. The results are great!

We would like to give a huge thank you to the PGC for their support in the design and fabrication of the glass structures that will be used in this installation at the Mattress Factory running from May 15, 2015 through Winter 2016. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

PREVIEW // ARTLab: Penny Arcade in the Galleries!

This Saturday, Penny Arcade is joining us again at the Mattress Factory for some afternoon fun! Using inspiration from the artwork and input from visitors, the Penny Players will create spontaneous theater right in the galleries.

Penny Arcade's Penny Players at their Winter Cheer show!

Penny Arcade is an improv comedy group specializing in family shows at Arcade Comedy Theater every second Saturday at 1pm. The show is a fun and creative learning opportunity for children to see how their contributions can change a story into something zany and unique.

Improvised comedy is a type of theater that is made up in the moment. None of the content of an improvised show is ever rehearsed beforehand. There are no scripts or lines to memorize - it’s all created by the performers using suggestions from the audience. It is an agreement between the performers to play together and to accept and build upon the ideas each performer brings to the stage. Just as our Mattress Factory artists-in-residence are inspired and influenced by the gallery space, an improviser also takes inspiration from their fellow performers, the theater space, and the audience who comes to watch. We’re really excited to have installation art and improv in the same place this weekend.

Come to the Mattress Factory this Saturday and see some live performances by the Penny Arcade. They need your suggestions to make their show come alive.

As always, ARTLab is FREE with admission and takes place from 1-4pm in the MF Lobby. All ages welcome (even adults).  Don't forget there’s also a FREE drop-in tour that begins at noon - just meet at the Admissions Desk at that time to join in.

Penny Arcade’s next show will be on March 14 at 1pm downtown at Arcade Comedy Theater, just in time to celebrate the St. Patrick's Day parade festivities!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

MF IN THE NEWS // Pop City Media

The Mattress Factory was recently featured by Pop City! They featured MF Director of Education Felice Cleveland, who will be attending the annual SXSWedu Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas to participate in a panel discussion about the benefits of project-based learning in schools.

Monday, March 2, 2015

RECAP // Mini-Factory: SENSES!

Our SENSES are the portal to discovering the world.  They evoke emotions which shape our experience on a sunny day, in a noisy room, or at the Mattress Factory.  Our group of young artists started their SENSES journey with a discussion and a book, Five for the Little One, during the Mini-Factory program.  After building a solid understanding of how people use their senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch, we explored Danny Bracken’s current installation.

Bracken’s piece entices us to touch the soft grass, peek at the blue light, listen to the music and look at the rainbow.  What does it smell like after a storm?  What can you see after the rain?  What do the rocks feel like when you climb a mountain?  Everything in this gallery pulls the viewer in, and demands closer observation. It is a sensory explosion.

After visiting Bracken’s exhibit, we put our SENSES to the test with some fun activities. We received discovery bags that held secret objects which could be touched, smelled, tasted and listened to, but just like our book Seven Blind Mice tells us, no looking!  We used our other SENSES to guess what the objects in the bags were. What happens when we take one of our senses away?  Does it become easier or more difficult to "see" objects?  How do our SENSES play tricks on us?  How important are our SENSES?  When we explore art, just how much do we use all of our SENSES? Visit the Mattress Factory to find out!

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 on March 14 at 10am to learn about PLACE. Email to RSVP today!

Friday, February 20, 2015

PREVIEW // ARTLab: Feel the Music

  In our last ARTLab we created TAZs (Temporary Autonomous Zones) and people got SUPER SILLY. Check out how much fun people had when they rewrote the rules and had some fun.

If you have ever watched a dramatic movie scene or comedy, you certainly understand the importance of sound and music in art to evoke emotion. The right music can completely affect the way you view almost anything, including visual art, as exhibited by Danny Bracken’s What Does It Mean? When I visited the installation this weekend with sound on my mind, I began thinking about what it would be like without the soundtrack playing in the room. Would I see the piece the same or would my feelings about it completely change? I’m sure I wouldn’t have considered the feeling of false naturalness as greatly if the digital recording wasn’t playing.

Exploration of the idea of feeling and interacting with sound and music is the focus of the next ARTLab this Saturday, February 21, 2015 in the Mattress Factory Lobby. We will be experimenting with low frequency sounds from a variety of sources to investigate the different ways sound and music can be experienced. There will also be a cool gadget that can generate low frequencies and allow you to feel the vibrations in your body, taking the idea to a whole new level! Whether you toot on some jugs or literally feel the music with a signal generator through a big speaker, you’re bound to have a great time playing with and contemplating the sensations of sound.

ARTLab and Drop-in Tours are open to all ages and FREE with museum admission, so come down and explore the world of sound and music with us!