Thursday, January 31, 2008


The new issue of ARTFORUM (February 2008) includes a great article written by Raqs Media Collective naming the Mattress Factory as one of their favorite artist-centered institutions. Raqs' piece Time Book was part of INDIA: NEW INSTALLATIONS, Part II, which closed on January 20, 2008. An excerpt of their article appears below:


Cofounded in 1977, and still run, by Barbara Luderowski and Michael Olijnyk in a depressed Pittsburgh neighborhood, the Mattress Factory is part museum of contemporary art, part atelier for artists-in-residence. Its wonderfully hospitable and energetic production environment has strong connections to the city around it, so that artists' experiments and explorations are actively situated in a public context. A sparklingly intelligent museum that manages to remain human-scale.


Thanks, Raqs!

UPDATE (02.07.2008) - Read the whole article HERE

Monday, January 28, 2008

IOCART: Exhibition Page Now Active

The exhibition page for illustrations of catastrophe and remote times is now active on mattress (dot) org. The images of the art turned out great and guest-curator Heather Pesanti's descriptions are insightful. Check it out by clicking HERE.

Monday, January 21, 2008

IOCART: Post-Gazette Review

Friday evening was amazing. A big THANK YOU to the almost 500 of you who braved the frigid, sub-zero temperatures in the name of great art. It clearly didn't effect the performers in Ben Kinsley and John Rubin's piece, as you can see from the video in the post below. The reviews for illustrations of catastrophe and remote times are starting to roll in. This one comes from Sunday's Post-Gazette:
What do the following Pittsburghers have in common?: A vintage clothing store owner, a robotics professor, members of an experimental band, an artist steeped in fine art tradition and an alternative art space developer.

The answer is that they're all participating in "illustrations of catastrophe and remote times," the 10th installment of the popular, eclectic "Gestures" exhibition series at the Mattress Factory. (READ MORE)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

News You Can Get Into

The latest edition of the Mattress Factory newsletter, News You Can Get Into, is available as a PDF document. CLICK HERE if you didn't already receive it in your mailbox. If you'd like to sign up for our mailing list, you can do so in the top right corner of this page.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

IOCART - Installation Update

Installation at 1414 is coming along quite nicely. Brett's piece on the front of the building is complete and Rebecca's is almost done, as well. Many of the other artists will be installing this weekend and throughout next week. The light at the end of the tunnel is visible and it looks like we'll be ready for the opening reception on Friday. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hard at Work

Deccan Herald: "A Haven for Artists"

The Deccan Herald (site), a newspaper based in Bangalore, published this great article about the Mattress Factory and our good friends at City of Asylum - Pittsburgh.
In a country that prides itself on its larger than life monuments and museums, the quiet understated elegance of the Mattress Factory, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a welcome change. Celebrating its 30th anniversary currently with an exhibition by Indian artists enticingly titled INDIA: NEW INSTALLATIONS, the museum has since its inception exhibited works by more than 300 artists from all over the world. (Continue Reading)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Art in America

The January issue of Art in America includes an op-ed piece from Barbara Luderowski and Michael Olijnyk on the topic of museums initiating contracts with artists in the wake of the Mass MoCA/Christoph Büchel situation. The full letter follows, as AIA doesn't publish online.


The September 21st verdict in the Mass MoCA vs. Christoph Büchel case (See: Mass MoCA Axes Buchel Show, "Front Page," November 2007) has taken the art world by storm and left no museum professional or artist straddling the proverbial fence on the issues of contracts, artist/museum responsibilities and exhibit budgets. It has been an ugly affair that we’re sure all participants would like to place firmly in the past. We are not aware of details or circumstances leading up to the Mass MoCA/Büchel situation and do not promise to offer a solution to how the incident could have been avoided. But as interested observers and practitioners in the field, we may be able to illuminate a method of working with artists that has worked for our organization for thirty years. That method is, simply, placing the emphasis on the creative process rather than the outcome.

For three decades, the Mattress Factory has commissioned new work from over 300 artists. During those thirty years and in those dealings with hundreds of artists, we have never signed a contract stipulating budget for a piece or detailing artist/museum responsibilities.

It is the Mattress Factory’s position that the creative process trumps written delineation of dollars and roles. Free, open and perpetual communication throughout the process is vital to both the artist and museum experience. A contract is a line in the sand that impedes this necessary dialogue. It dictates everything that lies on one side of the line is the responsibility of the museum, while everything on the other side is the responsibility of the artist. We believe that the best outcome is achieved when all participants work together and communicate openly for the greater good of the piece.

Many months before installation of a piece at the Mattress Factory begins, the artist communicates a vision and we begin working on a daily basis to assist in any way we can to help achieve that vision. From regionally sourcing cost-effective materials and labor to providing detailed information to aid in the artist's research, the museum’s resource base is an active participant in the process, not just the pen that signs the checks. We often meet with the artist multiple times to ensure that the vision and objective are clear to everyone involved before the artist begins his or her residency at the museum. Should the vision change mid-installation, the foundation of open and honest communication established at the project’s inception allows for a meaningful conversation about options and adaptations to consider moving forward.

The situation at Mass MoCA created unfortunate circumstances that a written agreement may not have been able to salvage. We do not claim to have the answer for how the Mass MoCA/Büchel incident could have been circumvented, but throughout our experiences, it has been communication, not a contract, that remains the key to a mutually fulfilling artistic process and outcome.

Barbara Luderowski, Executive/Artistic Director
Michael Olijnyk, Curator of Exhibitions
The Mattress Factory

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


The Mattress Factory is pleased to announce that the 30th Anniversary Art Auction will be held on Saturday, October 18, 2008. Complete the following form to receive news, updates, the most current artist list, online bidding information: