Tuesday, November 24, 2015

RECAP // Coffee Date with Lisa Sigal

"Being commissioned here has been one of the best experiences I've had." - Lisa Sigal

Factory Installed artist Lisa Sigal began her Saturday morning Coffee Date sharing her experience at the Mattress Factory's artist-in-residence program. As an artist who has shown works at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA P.S.1, The International Biennial in New Orleans, and participated in artist residencies across the nation, Lisa was able to reflect on the aspects of the Mattress Factory that set it apart.

"Usually at art institutions, they say 'Here are the parameters, the limitations, the budget," Lisa explained. "But here, when I asked 'What are the limitations?,' the answer was 'we don't usually tell you - we start with the vision and we work from there.'"

With a smile, Lisa continued, "Nothing was out of the question." In such an environment, she felt she could experiment more freely, without having to articulate each step of the process or be too afraid of making mistakes.

The conversation soon shifted towards the inspirations and concepts that Lisa explored in her work "Break it Down." She explained that she wanted to "flip the terms" and make the typically unseen (walls, sheet rock, and other architectural barriers) seen. The artist described her piece as a more "minimal" and "elegant" exploration of formal elements compared to her previous works. However, it still grew out of her interests in the architecture and structures underlying social spaces.

In particular, Lisa highlighted "Burning," a public art installation she created at Propect.3 New Orleans. She was interested in the blighted houses as structures underlying the social inequalities of the New Orleans neighborhood, but also wanted to create a work sensitive to the local community. The final piece involved displaying text fragments from the play "Burning" by Suzan-Lori Parks on the exteriors of vacant homes, allowing passersby to read the unfolding story as they walk by.

This was the last edition of this year's Coffee Date series! Thank you to everyone who attended and made these discussions such warm and friendly meetings. This Member-Exclusive series will continue next year with our next artists-in-residence. We hope to see you all again soon!

For more information or to become a member and attend the Coffee Dates series, please visit www.mattress.org.

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

The Teen Art Cooperative poses for a photo with artist Thad Mosley outside of his studio in Manchester.
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 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 caitlin@mattress.org. For more information or to become a member, please visit www.mattress.org.

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.