Tuesday, June 30, 2015

PREVIEW // Factory 500: Lenka Clayton Studio + Clemente Museum Visit

Coming up next for our Factory 500 member program, we will be taking members on a one-of-a-kind tour of artist Lenka Clayton's studio in Polish Hill and to the Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville!

Lenka Clayton is a British conceptual artist whose work considers, exaggerates and alters the accepted rules of everyday life, extending the familiar into the realms of the poetic and absurd. Some of her previous works have included filming one person each age from 1 to 100, hand-numbering 7,000 stones, and founding An Artist Residency In Motherhood - a fully funded and structured artist residency that takes place inside her own home and life as a mother of two young children. Currently, Lenka and writer Michael Crowe are in the process of writing a personal letter to every household in America.

The Clemente Museum showcases the world's largest exhibited collection of baseball artifacts, works of art, literature, photographs and memorabilia which focus on Pittsburgh Pirate legend Roberto Clemente, his teammates, his personal life and his humanitarian causes. Here you can find everything from his 1960 and 1971 World Series rings, to his Gold Glove Awards, to a vase Roberto made for his wife Vera with her name scratched into it.

This event will take place on July 11, 2015 with the following schedule:

Lenka Clayton Studio // 3100 Brereton St., Pittsburgh, PA 15219 | 2:30 - 4:15 pm
Clemente Museum // 3339 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15201 | 4:30 - 6pm

For more information on our Factory 500 program, click here or contact Caitlin Harpster.

Factory 500 is a great way to meet and connect with other contemporary art enthusiasts! Members enjoy exclusive entrée to artist studios, private collections and behind-the-scenes access to some of the most unique art happenings around Pittsburgh. Visit the "For Members" page to see upcoming Factory 500 events.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Urban Garden Party 2015: A Major Success!

Last Friday night nearly 1,200 people turned out to support the most magical event of the summer! The tent was rocking and the garden was packed. This year's Urban Garden Party offered food + drink from the city's best restaurants and bars, a magic show, a silent art auction, the ultimate Michael Jackson tribute and much more. After tallying up all of our ticket sales and sponsor pledges, we brought in nearly $220,000 for the museum.

Our photographers were roving the party all night and we're uploading pictures to Flickr as we get them. Share your photos with us using #UrbanGardenParty or #MattressFactory... we'd love to see them! If you had your photo taken in the photo booth at the party, your pictures may be here.

Finally, a big Mattress Factory thank you to our co-chairs Lisa Cibik + Bernie Kobosky and all of our wonderful sponsors. We could not have thrown the hottest party in Pittsburgh without the help of every single one of them. Make sure to help us thank our sponsors by seeking them for any of the professional services they provide.  

MF Co-Directors Michael Olijynk and Barbara Luderowski with Urban Garden Party Chairs Lisa Cibik and Bernie Kobosky.

Mark your calendar! The 2016 Urban Garden Party will take place Friday, June 17.  

Friday, June 12, 2015

PREVIEW // Community Garden Party 2015

Calling all families and fun-lovers! Our annual Community Garden Party is right around the corner with more music, craft-making, munchies, and activities than ever! The big event will be held Sunday, June 21 from 1-5pm and is FREE for all ages. Here's a look at what we have in store for this year's shindig:

Move your feet to the beat with an all day music line-up including the May Day Marching Band, Amongst the Monks, Molly Alphabet and Machete Kisumontao.

Amongst the Monks

May Day Marching Band

Make magical medallions, masking tape mazes, and mythical monster masks with the Mattress Factory!

 Community Garden Party 2013

Make miniature gardens with Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, capture memories and mugshots in a Photo Booth by Fishstep Studios, and mess around with Makey Makey.

Marvel at mime and magician Howard Mincone.

Mobile food munchies from PGH Taco Truck, Franktuary, and The Pop Stop.

Other activities include making with Techshop, megawatt manifestations with The Land Art Generator Initiative, and making marvelous screen printed masterpieces with Artists Image Resource.

We can't wait to see you there!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

PREVIEW // ARTLab: Feel the Music!

Ever wonder why music makes you feel the way you do? The secret's in the low frequency sound. For this upcoming ARTLab program, you'll have the opportunity to make your own low-frequency music and sounds that you can hear and feel for yourself!
By experimenting with speaker settings and levels, you can see how music affects anything from a person's mood to a whole room's atmosphere. Inspired by Danny Bracken's 2014 piece, What Does It Mean?, explore sound and its effects on the subconscious by creating it yourself. From toddlers to adults, the Mattress Factory invites all to participate in "Feel the Music!" on Saturday, June 6 at 1pm. Be sure to come early to enjoy a guided tour of the museum - both are complementary with museum admission.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

RECAP // A First-Time Account of "Diaspora"

In a new series titled "A First-Time Account," we invite new visitors to the Mattress Factory to share their experiences at the museum. The account below is from a student at the Winchester Thurston School.

Yesterday I visited the Mattress Factory for the first time ever. This is somewhat surprising considering I've lived in Pittsburgh my entire life. Upon immediate arrival at the Mattress Factory, it seemed like any normal museum, however I soon began to understand that visiting an interactive museum was a completely unique experience. As a young child I grew up with constant visits to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, however in recent years the only art museum I have visited is the Carnegie Museum of Art. I always enjoy my visits to the Carnegie, and I even wrote my Freshman Research Project on the Teenie Harris exhibit. However, there is clearly a difference between an observational style art museum and an interactive, hands-on art museum. Neither style of museum is necessarily better, however an interactive museum allows viewers to become more engaged in the art. This is especially valuable if you are a casual museum-goer like myself; I am interested in art, but I do not have an extensive knowledge of it, and I tend to have a short attention span.

One piece that particularly captured my attention was Diaspora by Ryder Henry. This exhibit's architectural style was unlike anything I've seen before. It was a combination of Sci-Fi and modern architecture. The buildings, roads, and cars were intensely detailed despite being made from recycled materials such as Trader Joe's coffee cans. This made me feel a personal connection to the artists, as Trader Joe's is one of my favorite stores. It surprised me that such an intricate work of art could be created from objects that usually end up in a landfill. Of course I've made my fair share of school art projects with various repurposed materials, however I can certainly say that they were not nearly as successful as Diaspora. Diaspora also had other intimate details like small flashing lights on certain buildings; I loved the subtle detail that these lights added to the town, especially because they weren't overly bright and obnoxious and I only noticed them upon close examination. 

Another detail I found notable in the town was a sign labeled "Automat" in English with Arabic writing below. I don't know Arabic, so I have no idea what the Arabic writing said, however it made me wonder wether Ryder Henry included this as an arbitrary detail or if he was making a subtle statement. Perhaps the artists forsees a future where Arabic is just as widely spoken as English. (Of course, this is by no means in implausible statement; Standard Arabic is the 5th most spoken language worldwide, while English is 2nd most spoken.) However, this is all my own personal speculation; I don't know the artist's true intention.

My favorite part of Diaspora may seem strange, but I really appreciated the physical placement of the installation within the museum. Diaspora is located on the fourth floor next to two windows. As I was looking at the installation, I eventually became distracted by two people smoking outside on top of the neighboring home. Afterwards, I approached the windows and looked around at the surrounding Northside neighborhood. I thought it was really interesting to compare the present-day Northside to Henry's futuristic vision. Although this was my first visit to the Mattress Factory, I am certain that it won't be my last. I know I'll be back soon to check out all the new installations coming in May.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

ANNOUNCING // Blue Star Museum Program 2015

In honor of Memorial Day this past weekend, the Mattress Factory is proud to announce our participation in the Blue Star Museums program, a national appreciation program for military families. Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer FREE admission to the nation's active-duty military personnel and their families, from Memorial Day (May 25, 2015) through Labor Day (September 7, 2015).

Other museums in the Pittsburgh area participating include: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Children's Museum of Natural History, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, Frick Art & Historical Center, Senator John Heinz History Center, Society for Contemporary Craft, and the Andy Warhol Museum.

If you know any active-duty military personnel, spread the word so they don't miss out on this great opportunity to enjoy the Mattress Factory and over 2,000 other museums nation-wide FREE of charge!

Visit arts.gov/bluestarmuseums for more information.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

RECAP // A First-Time Account of "Danaë"

In a new series titled "A First-Time Account," we invite new visitors to the Mattress Factory to share their experiences at the museum.

Hello, my name is Max Pollack. I'm currently a senior at Winchester Thurston High School and will be attending George Washington University in the fall. I recently made a visit to the Mattress Factory and I left in awe. The exhibit that caught my eye the most was James Turrelll's Danaë, on the second floor. When I first stepped into the room to view this exhibit, I thought that I was just staring at a blank blue screen. As I approached the screen, I started to think that I may not be looking at a screen. As I found myself befuddled I decided to put my hand up and touch the screen, only to find that it wasn’t that at all. There was just another room with the lighting set up perfectly to create the illusion that there was a blue screen. 

It was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen, and as someone who's mainly interested in sports and isn’t really that into art, I was amazed by this creation. When I normally see a painting or a sculpture or something I just think to myself “oh that’s interesting" or "I’ve seen that before,” but with this I was just truly amazed. I had never thought of art as being expressed in this way. When I think of art, I think of the traditional painting on a canvas, or maybe a sculpture.  The idea of presenting art in this more abstract form was very new to me, and this is why it was so intriguing. When I initially entered the room it was dead silent and I was expecting the screen to turn into a video clip or something, and as I slowly walked forward I could not believe what I was seeing. The reason I am so obsessed with this creation was I think a result of the surprise factor. It is really just something that I think everyone needs to see. I definitely will look forward to seeing more of James Turrell’s work in the future because of how unique and original he is, and I value originality over everything else.