Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Note From the Directors to Our Online Community

As 2009 draws to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting the Mattress Factory. Your help during the past year (via Retweets, Facebook posts, attendance at events, or simply kind words) has assisted us greatly in providing residency opportunities for 45 working artists from all over the world. Additionally, your support helped spread the word of four cutting-edge, internationally-recognized exhibitions (1, 2, 3, 4); the permanent reinstallation of Greer Lankton’s It’s all about ME, Not You; well-attended educational lectures, workshops and outreach initiatives; and technological advancements (1, 2) that engage museum visitors in new exciting ways.

2009 also marked the completion of our 4-year parking lot project as well as the procurement of substantial support from The Heinz Endowments in order to considerably reduce our mortgage and stabilize the future of our organization.

Both artistically and programmatically, 2009 was a banner year for the Mattress Factory. And as we shift gears into 2010, we hope to continue with the momentum established by your vital support. A few things to look forward to next year:

  • Nothing is Impossible, the first exhibition from our curators-in-residence Mark Garry & Georgina Jackson, opens on March 19th. Artists include Karl Burke, Rhona Byrne, Brian Griffiths, Bea McMahon and Dennis McNulty.
  • The 14th installment of the Gestures Exhibition Series curated by Katherine Talcott opens on May 7th.
  • Save the date for Summer in the City: The Mattress Factory Urban Garden Party – chaired by Christine Astorino – Friday, June 18th!
  • Mark Garry & Georgina Jackson continue with their projects by curating the Mattress Factory’s first-ever music & performance residency. The residency will culminate with a one-time performance in mid-July.
  • Queloides/Keloids, a comprehensive survey of race issues in Cuba organized by Alejandro de la Fuente, will be the first exhibition spanning both the main gallery facility at 500 Sampsonia Way and the annex gallery at 1414 Monterey Street. Opening on October 8th.

As you can see, we have a full plate next year and we’re excited to push forward and break new artistic ground in 2010. Continued support from our friends makes it all possible.

Please consider extending your support by making a contribution to the 2009 Annual Fund. Thank you.

Happy New Year to you and yours,

Barbara Luderowski
President & Co-Director
  Michael Olijnyk

Barbara Luderowski, President & Co-Director POSTED BY BARBARA
Read All Posts by Barbara

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

You're In The Jungle, Baby.

As 2009 comes to a close, many arts organizations take this time to reflect on the projects and programs of the past year as well as visualize organizational goals for the coming year. We here at the MF are no different, but I'd like to take this time to touch on a key performance and motivation metric pertaining to my department, which is loosely defined as Development, but more affectionately referred to simply as The 3rd Floor.

The 3rd Floor houses the Membership, Development, Grant Writing, Marketing, Public Relations, New Media and Graphic Design departments. Sounds huge, but it's essentially just me, Lindsay, Shannon, Emily, Claudia and our wonderfully overworked/underpaid interns. As you can imagine, there is an amazing amount of work to be done by all of us and therefore time management, the ability to multi-task and an überly fast-paced work environment are key to pushing projects out the door. Enter one of the greatest rock bands of all time, Guns 'N Roses (pictured to the right).

In 2009, The 3rd Floor played Appetite for Destruction by Guns 'N Roses in its entirety every Friday at 4:00 PM. You're probably asking yourself how this relates to producing world-class contemporary art, but bear with me for a moment, there are several reasons for our weekly ritual. First and foremost, the motivational nature of the songs on this particular record are extremely conducive to work output. The pace is perfect; the highs & lows and peaks & valleys are perfectly in their right places. It's also almost exactly 1 hour long and like an olympic long distance runner it consistently brought us rocking into 5:00 PM, a reliable and energetic close to each week in 2009. Some of our best ideas and execution came between the opening guitar lick of Welcome to the Jungle and the final breakdown in Rocket Queen.

So, having said all of this, we all feel we're due for a change in 2010. This is where you can help us. Much like we did with choosing the name for the MF softball team last Spring, we're going to leave it up to our blog readers, MF Twitter Posse and MF Facebook Mob to crowdsource our 2010 "Friday at 4:00 PM" listening ritual.

Here's the deal. Through this Friday, we'll take any and all album suggestions in the comments below, or via Twitter & Facebook. The 3rd Floor will then meet to select a cross-section of 5 potential albums, which we'll post here on the MF Blog next week as a reader poll. The album with the most votes by 12/31/2009 will be the winner and the person who submitted the winning record will receive their choice of three awesome MF prizes.

So have fun suggesting albums and be creative with your recommendations. We're looking forward to hearing your submissions.

Read All Posts by Jeffrey

Monday, December 14, 2009

MF + Whirl Magazine = Awesome!

As many of you know, the Mattress Factory is currently in the midst of our 2009 Annual Fund Campaign, "It's All About YOU!" End of year contributions from supporters like you have a direct impact on museum operations. These donations help us sprint through the finish line of this year, while simultaneously helping us focus on achieving the artistic and educational goals we've set for ourselves for next year. And for those of you curious about next year, we've got some great things on tap including the first exhibition from our curators-in-residence Mark Garry & Georgina Jackson, the 14th installment of the Gestures Exhibition Series, our first ever music residency, the 2010 Urban Garden Party, and the large-scale exhibition Queloides/Keloids, which takes a poignant look at the topic of race in Cuba.

Whirl Magazine - December 2009So, today only, we're very excited to partner with our friends at Whirl Magazine on a special deal for online contributors to the "It's All About YOU" campaign.

Anyone who donates $25 to the campaign today (12/14/2009) will receive two complimentary passes to the Mattress Factory and a 1-year subscription to Whirl (a $50 value!).

The only catch is that you have to donate through the secret URL over on http://www.whirlmagazine.com/donate-local-charity.

So, if you'd like to help us continue to produce cutting-edge exhibitions and provide meaningful educational opportunities while getting a little something for yourself in return, follow these three easy steps:

1) Head over to http://www.whirlmagazine.com/donate-local-charity
2) Scroll down to the 12/14/2009 listing for the Mattress Factory

BIG thanks to our friends over at Whirl, and also to you for your continued support.

Read All Posts by Lindsay

Thursday, December 10, 2009

GUEST POST: Behind Our Scenes

The following is a guest-post from Nicole Rosato, Visitor Services & Volunteer Coordinator for the Mattress Factory. When not greeting the public at the museum, Nicole can usually be found cutting out the lines of road maps and chillin' with her dog Tango. This is her first post on the MF Blog.

Hello! I’m Nicole, the Visitor Services and Volunteer Coordinator here at the MF, and I wanted to share with you a curatorial project that I'm involved with featuring Mattress Factory staff. Working in Pittsburgh museums for over four years now, I’ve realized that there are many talented artists who work within these cultural institutions. These are artists who dedicate their days promoting the artwork of others and their nights & weekends creating artwork of their own.

My friend Laura Mustio and I decided to curate a group exhibition that would give some of these artists working "backstage" in Pittsburgh’s museums and galleries their own chance in the spotlight. The show is called Behind Our Scenes and will open at SPACE Gallery this Friday, December 11th from 6-9 PM.

Behind Our Scenes

There are 34 individuals in this show, all representing a united community of artists working throughout the city. Many members of the Mattress Factory staff are involved including: Shannon Knepper (Graphic Designer), Nathan Hall (Administrative Assistant), Lindsay O’Leary (Membership & Development Coordinator), Kelley Krapp (Weekend Supervisor), Ian Page (Installer), Alice Wynn (MF Volunteer Extraordinaire) and Katherine Young (a former MFer).

All the pertinent details are below and I invite you to attend the opening and support the MF artists as well as artists from: The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Andy Warhol Museum, FE Arts Gallery, Future Tenant, and Wood Street Galleries. I hope to see you there!

SPACE [map]
812 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: 412.325.7723
Website: http://www.spacepittsburgh.org
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 11AM-6PM Friday-Saturday 11AM-8PM

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pittsburgh Green Bridge Project

The Pittsburgh-Green-Bridge Project is a collaboration among students at CAPA High School and the University of Pittsburgh; the Mattress Factory; artists Constance Merriman, JoAnna Commandaros, Karen Page, Heather White and David Pohl; and residents of Pittsburgh’s urban community and Greenspaces. Under the guidance of artists and with the resources of the Mattress Factory, young people are creating individual and collaborative works of public art that bridge and connect Greenspaces with Brownfield or industrial sites, providing corridors of movement and interaction among people plants and animals.

Working within the structure of high school and college art classes, as well as the Mattress Factory’s teen program, a group of 15 high school students under CAPA teacher Karen Page have been matched with 15 Pitt students in JoAnna Commandaros Eco Art class. This interdisciplinary project includes study, observation, documentation, discussion, implementation and celebration.

The project is providing an opportunity for budding artists in Pittsburgh by encouraging the creation of effective and environmentally-sensitive artwork. The collaboration has been centered around Japanese Knotweed, an invasive species not native to Pittsburgh that is currently impacting Schenley Park. The groups teamed with restoration ecologists to clear a pathway and collect the knotweed. An installation reflecting the experiences of the artists, students and the community will open here at the museum this Saturday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  The piece will also be on view December 13th from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Read All Posts by Anna

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Intelligent Design with MF Shannon: Low-Res vs. High Res

Intelligent Design, a reoccurring series on the MF blog published by graphic designer Shannon Knepper, tackles a different design issue with each installment. This first post in the series examines the difference between high-resolution and low-resolution images. In addition to handling the lion's share of the graphic design for the museum, Shannon also runs her own design company, War Admiral Press.


Ever printed something directly from a website and it came out looking like this?

This is a low-resolution image. We could get into pixels and dots, but I’m assuming you didn’t come here to die of boredom. Basically, the majority of images on the web are low-resolution; tiny files make for faster loading. Faster loading makes for less monitor punching. And so, because designers are generally against punching of all kinds, we make images with lower resolution. They look great on screen, but terrible on paper.

You wanna print something? That's where hi-res (or high resolution) images come into the picture. These images have more information crammed into the file, so that when you print it out on paper, it comes out as crisp and clean as a pair of freshly-ironed undergutchies. Naturally, these files are bigger. And not web friendly. And oftentimes NOT email friendly. Try sending a few 20 megabyte files to your friends and see how popular you become!

So, the next time you print something out and it's all fuzzy, it's probably a low-resolution image; if there's a bigger file available, then go big! Or go home. Unless you are home. And then…uh…you should probably go out and do something. Seriously.

Read All Posts by Shannon