About

Bio

Combining humor, social commentary and a low-tech aesthetic, Tom Sarver explores relationships between the art world and the everyday.  His projects span a variety of disciplines including performance, installation, puppetry and events.  Sarver’s concepts are often realized in storefronts, houses, and public spaces.  These include building an evolving museum in a city row house (The Tom Museum at The Mattress Factory), opening a “bait & tackle” shop installation in Downtown Pittsburgh, and coordinating a series of Olympic-inspired performance events.  Sarver also practices traditional art making methods including drawing, painting and sculpture.  From 1999 through 2008, Sarver was a core organizer of The Black Sheep Puppet Festival, a national festival of activist and experimental puppetry. He holds a B.F.A. in Painting from Tyler School of Art, Temple University and an M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from SUNY Purchase College.  Sarver continues to perform and promote puppetry in Pittsburgh.  A selection of his work (28 puppets from shows developed from 1997 through 2013) was featured in an installation at the 2013 Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

Solo Exhibitions

2016

Art Olympics at Re:New Festival, Pittsburgh, PA

2015

Art Olympic Festival, East Deutschtown, Pittsburgh, PA

Puppet World, Nutting Art Gallery, West Liberty University, West Liberty, WV

Behind the Curtain, Sewickley Public Library, Sewickley, PA

2014

The Occasional Market, 707 Penn Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

2010

Queasy, Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery, Purchase, NY

2009

Sarver’s Bait & Tackle, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA

2008

Cooking With Sticks, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh, PA

2006-08

The Tom Museum, Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA

2003

Political Gizmology, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA

2001

From Puppets to Paintings, AAP Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

2000

Dreamscapes, The Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, New Castle, PA

Selected Group Exhibitions

2016

John Riegert, SPACE Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

2015

Tiny Art Show, 2015 Bushwick Open Studios, New York, NY

2013

2013 Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA (Collection of 28 puppets made and used in performance between 1997 and 2013, presented within Paulina Olowska’s installation, Puppetry in America is Truly a Lonely Craft).

Curators: Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers and Tina Kukielski

Crowdsourced, SPACE Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

Curator: Robert Raczka

The One That Got Away, Brew House, Pittsburgh, PA

Curator: Jaci Rice

2012

Small Step, Giant Leap, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA

2011

Reflectons: Homage to Dunkard Creek, Jackson Kelly Gallery, Morgantown, WV

Your Place at the Banquet, Future Tenant Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

2010

Pulp Friction, James Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

Planet of Slums, Mason Gross Galleries, New Brunswick, NJ

Curators: LaToya Frazier and Omar Lopez-Chahoud

Gulf Oil Disaster Response, Landslide Gallery, Chicago, IL

Curated by The Foster Collective

The Real LR word, Ligne Roset, Park Avenue South, New York, NY

Curator: Omar Lopez-Chahoud

AbstrACTION, The Arts Exchange, White Plains, NY

Curator: Dara Meyers-Kingsley

Five Alive, Mona Rowe Gallery, New York, NY

2009

Faux Show, Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery, Purchase, NY

2008

Pittsburgh Biennial, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA

2007

8 – Hour Drawings, Bowman Gallery, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA

Curator: Robert Raczka

2006

My Space, Space Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

Curator: Sharmila Venkatasubban

Tom Sarver and Francis Crisafio, Digging Pitt Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

Curator: John Morris

2005

Members Exhibition, Brew House Space 101, Pittsburgh, PA

Annual Exhibition, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA

Curator: Katherine Talcott

Puppets, Masks and Art in Motion, Artists Upstairs, Pittsburgh, PA

Curator: Tavia LaFolette

2004

AMP, The Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA

Juried by Tom Sokolowski

2003

Gestures, Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA

Curators: Michael Olijnyk and Graham Shearing

Selected Performances

2015

Rip Van Winkle and The Crazy Quilt, A Puppet Show in Four Parts

Commissioned by The Westmoreland Museum of American Art for their grand re-opening. With collaborator Michael Cuccaro.  Greensburg, PA

2014

Flight Out of Time, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

Puppetry performance with Michael Cuccaro (2013 Carnegie International programming)

2013

Serra Site for End Times Therapy, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

With collaborators Daniel Baumann, Tobias Madison and Flavio Merlo

Excerpts of Aristophanes’ Peace, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

Puppet show with Mike Cuccaro

2011

Digestion, Future Tenant Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

2008

Art Olympic Theatre IV, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Market Square,

Pittsburgh, PA (featured festival event)

Art Olympic Theatre III, Union Project, Pittsburgh, PA

2007

Installation Olympic Theatre, Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA

Art Olympic Theatre II, New Hazlett Theater, Pittsburgh, PA

2005

Global Warming, Art All Night, Pittsburgh, PA (solo site-specific performance)

World Stage, Flux 12, Pittsburgh, PA (solo site-specific performance)

Curator: Sharmila Venkatasubban

2003

Perseus, Medusa and The Magic Frisbee, Fifth Annual Black Sheep Puppet

Festival, Pittsburgh, PA (puppetry collaboration with team of ten artists and

musicians)

Grants/Awards

2015

ioby crowdfunding award for Art Olympic Festival

2011

A.W. Mellon Award, Pittsburgh Foundation

2008

A.W. Mellon Award, Pittsburgh Foundation

2007

Seed Award, Sprout Fund

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council Mayor’s Award for Public Art

Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Project Grant

Small Arts Initiative Grant, Heinz Endowments

2006

Creative Heights Initiative Grant, Heinz Endowments

Residencies

2015

Fallow Grounds for Sculpture Residency, Neu Kirche Contemporary Art Center, Pittsburgh, PA

2012

Future Tenant Art Space, Trespass Performance Residency (Puppet Happening project), Pittsburgh, PA

2006-08

Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA

2007 – ongoing

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts School and Community

Programs.

Exhibitions Curated

2016

Future/Present, Group A exhibition at Panza Gallery (juror), Millvale, PA

2015

The Sideways Museum, Window SPACE, Pittsburgh, PA

2014

Obsessions, SPACE Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

2011

Lascaux to Garfield, Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, Pittsburgh, PA

2008

Binding Forces, Works by self-taught artists Dorothy Williams and Doug

Hill, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, PA

2004

From the Inside, Works by self-taught artists Steve Smith, Robert Wright

and Dorothy Williams, Brew House Space 101, Pittsburgh, PA

2005

What It Is, Brew House, Pittsburgh, PA (street art festival and exhibition

included over forty artists and musicians; co-curated with Alexis Covato)

Selected Bibliography

Fleegle, Erika. “Neu Kirche celebrates public art initiatives…” The Northside Chronicle, September 3rd, 2015

Thomas, Mary. “Neu Kirche Contemporary Art Center opens Saturday.”Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 25th, 2015

Brennan, Lisssa. “WINDOWSPACE.” Pittsburgh City Paper, March 25th, 2015

Mohan, Nina. “26 Ways Pittsburgh Ruins Your Life”, BuzzFeed, March 4th, 2015

Shaw, Kurt. “Sideways Museum at Space.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 25, 2015

Larson, Kyle. “Puppet artist brings creations, performance to Sewickley Public Library.” Trib Total Media / Sewickley Herald, February 18, 2015

Brennan, Lissa. “Artists Explore Their Obsessions at Space.” Pittsburgh City Paper, January 15, 2015

Examiner.com. “Tilt Your Way Into the Sideways Museum.” January 10, 2015

Shaw, Kurt. “Obsessions at Space gallery in Cultural District.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 17, 2014

Shaw, Kurt. “Tom Sarver, The Occasional Market.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 11, 2014

Raczka, Robert. “Marketing Strategies.” Pittsburgh City Paper, May 21, 2014

Thomas, Mary. “Art Notes: Carnegie International gears up for second half.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 14, 2014

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “Carnegie Museum of Art presents puppet programs for adults & children, January 14, 2014

Griffin, Jonathan. “2013 Carnegie International.” Art Agenda, January 7, 2014

Contemporary Art Daily, “Carnegie International.” October 22, 2013

Russeth, Andrew, “The 2013 Carnegie International in Photos.” Gallerist NY, October 8, 2013

Turri, Scott, “Crowdsourcing Creativity.” artHOPPER, August 2, 2013

Shaw, Kurt. “The Public Helped…” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 31, 2013

Raczka, Robert. “The artists of Keystone West…” Pittsburgh City Paper, January 9, 2013

Piechocki, Renee; Zorch, Laura; Hansen, Kate. “Pittsburgh Art in Public Places.” Office of Public Art, 2013

Hodara, Susan.  “Celebrating Artists Who Keep the Action in Abstraction.” The New York Times, May 7, 2010

Thomas, Mary. “2009 Turned International Spotlight on Pittsburgh’s Art Scene.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 6, 2010

Nelson Jones, Diana. “A wee alley, a world stage.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 16, 2009

Crawley, Dave, “Fish Artist.”  KD Country, KDKA, CBS Broadcasting, Pittsburgh, June 12, 2009

Shaw, Kurt, “Faux bait shop hooks Three Rivers Arts Festival visitors.”  Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 10, 2009

Thomas, Mary.  “Tom Sarver goes fishing for ideas at the Three Rivers Arts Festival.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 4, 2009

Puppetry International, “40 Under 40, Quick Takes on Young Masters World-Wide.”  Spring and summer, 2009

The Dominion Post, Morgantown, WV.  “3 teams of artists face off in challenge.” October 11, 2007

Diehl, Dawnlyn, “From Puppets to Political Activism.”  Pittsburgh Metropolitan, March / April 2007

Ganster, Kathleen, “His home, his work, His museum.”  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 24, 2006

Shaw, Kurt.  “Puppet Master.”  Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 7, 2006

O’Toole, Christine.  “The Tom Show.” Pittsburgh Magazine, September 2006

Hundt, Brad.  “At the Tom Museum, it’s all about an artist named Tom.”  Washington Pennsylvania Observer-Reporter, September 8, 2006

Shaw, Kurt.  “Personal Space.”  Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 13, 2006

Knepp, Gregory M.  “Space Crafts.”  Pittsburgh City Paper, April 2006

Venkatasubban, Sharmila.  “Small, Good Things.”  Pittsburgh City Paper, December 25, 2002

Thomas, Mary.  “Bright Images, “home” assemblages light up galleries.”  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 13, 2001

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