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Teams & Judges Announced for September 17th Art Olympics.

It’s going to be an interdisciplinary arts showdown on Saturday September 17th in Downtown Pittsburgh as three teams of Pittsburgh artists representing a wide range of creative practices face off in a two-hour art-making challenge.  Art Olympics begins with an opening ceremony at 6 PM at the Re:NEW Festival’s 623 Smithfield Street location.  The teams will begin building at 6:30 PM and work for two hours.  The winning team will be announced just before 9 PM.  The event is free and open to the public.

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The Teams:

Team leader Sam Turich has a background in film and theater.  He will be joined by teammates Alisha Wormsley, Derek Reese and Gab Cody.  Team leader Ryder Henry is a painter and visionary model builder.  His team includes Kate Bechak, Jen Bechak and Nick Falwell.  Team leader Audra Clayton is a clay artist / educator.  Her team will include Ryan McCormick, Christopher Wright and Kara Zuzu.

The Judges:

Judges will include art critic Graham Shearing, Gwen Bowman of Pittsburgh Puppet Works, artist Travis Mitzel and Diana Shark of Goodwill Industries.

Emcees for the event are Tom Sarver and Mike Cuccaro, with deejay Dave Zak spinning the tunes.

 

 

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Puppet Shows at The Westmoreland Museum

The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, located in Downtown Greensburg, Pennsylvania opened its spectacular, newly renovated museum to the public on Sunday, October 25th, 2015. The Westmoreland has nearly doubled its exhibition space, part of which is a massive cantilever wing walled with windows at its farthest end. The museum has a great variety of historical painting, folk art, bronze sculpture and work by self-taught artists. Mike Cuccaro and I were commissioned to create a series of four puppet shows inspired by the museum collection to present at the public opening. The shows were based on the popular Washington Irving character Rip Van Winkle, featured in a prominent museum oil paining by George Frederick Bensell. Shows happened in four separate galleries of the museum. The first show reviewed the Irving story and imaged his famous character traveling to destinations pictured in museum works. The second show is set in a steel mill, with Van Winkle meeting the millworker Mike Kessel, pictured in a painting by Francis Komperda. The third work is inspired by the carnival paintings at the museum, specifically Carnival at the County Fair, by Dorothy Lauer Davids (1939). Puppets and set for the third piece featured carnival goers, carnival workers and a working wheel of fortune for audience members to spin. The final show happened in the ship-like cantilever wing of the museum. Titled A Nautical Adventure, it was a final furthering of the Van Winkle story, with Rip and his sidekick Cubby the dog setting setting sail for a journey of fishing and exploration.

A carnival character inspired by the sculpture The Great Speckled Bird.

A carnival character inspired by the sculpture The Great Speckled Bird.

Rip Van Winkle and Cubby the dog puppets in progress.

Rip Van Winkle and Cubby the dog puppets in progress.

Van Winkle puppet snoozes next to a tree with his crazy quilt covering in Part 1.

Van Winkle puppet snoozes next to a tree with his crazy quilt covering in Part 1.

In Part 1, a toy theater scene features miniatures of main characters.

In Part 1, a toy theater scene features miniatures of the main characters.

Part 1.

Part 1.

Rip and Rip.

Rip and Rip.

Rip's sidekick, Cubby.

Rip’s sidekick, Cubby.

Steel mill setting for second puppet show.

Steel mill setting for second puppet show.

Hand puppet of steelworker Mike Kessel, operated by Mike Cuccaro.

Hand puppet of steelworker Mike Kessel, operated by Mike Cuccaro.

Hot Puppetato!

Hot Puppetato, yeah!

Mike Cuccaro with Mike Kessel puppet, under the Portrait of Mike Kessel.

Mike Cuccaro with Mike Kessel puppet, under the Portrait of Mike Kessel.

The singing eagle.

The singing eagle.

Part 2. Mike Kessel:

Part 2. Mike Kessel: “I take a potato and put in next to the furnace…”

Rip visits a steel mill.

Rip visits a steel mill.

Carnival Time!

Carnival Time!

"Bird's Beards! Best fun on the midway! Everyone's favorite game!"

“Bird’s Beards! Best fun on the midway! Everyone’s favorite game!”

A young baseball player at the carnival.

A young baseball player at the carnival.

Statue of Peace with the infant genius strolling at the carnival.

Statue of Peace with the infant genius strolling at the carnival.

The set for Carnival Time!

The set for Carnival Time!

Part 4, A Nautical Adventure.

Part 4, A Nautical Adventure.

Rip's dog Cubby retrieves his lost possessions, to be repurposed as a sail, ropes and tiller for a ship.

Rip’s dog Cubby retrieves his lost possessions, to be repurposed as a sail, ropes and tiller for a ship.

A toy theater scene in the final act of the puppet show. Rip and his dog set sail on a final adventure at sea.

A toy theater scene in the final act of the puppet show. Rip and his dog set sail on a final adventure at sea.

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Art Olympics – Photo Portfolio

Here is a portfolio of images from the August 29th Art Olympic Festival by Pittsburgh photographer Larry Rippel.  Images Copyright 2015.

Julie Mallis, D.S. Kinsel and Daryl Collier of team Boom Concepts.

Julie Mallis, D.S. Kinsel, Anqwenique Wingfield and Daryl Collier of team Boom Concepts.

Craig Freeman and David Zak of the Commission for Cosmic Craft Transmission.

Craig Freeman and David Zak of the Commission for Cosmic Craft Transmission.

Tom Sarver Projects

Before the show, piles of junk lay hidden under tarps.

Before the show, piles of junk lay hidden under tarps.

Laura Ramie from Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse and volunteer Amy Masters ran the Hat Making area.

Laura Ramie from Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse and volunteer Amy Masters ran the hat making activity.

Teams parade from the Neu Kirche Contemporary Art Center to Art Olympic Field, accompanied by Colonel Eagleburger's Highstepping Goodtime Band.

Teams parade from the Neu Kirche Contemporary Art Center to Art Olympic Field accompanied by Colonel Eagleburger’s Highstepping Goodtime Band.

Team leader D.S. Kinsel delivers his artist statement.

Team leader D.S. Kinsel delivers his artist statement.

Felipe Garcia-Huidobro, Ryan A. Murray, Hyla Willis and Hannah G. Thompson deliver a team manifesto.

Felipe Garcia-Huidobro, Ryan A. Murray, Hyla Willis and Hannah G. Thompson deliver a team manifesto.

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Art Olympics by Larry Rippel

D.S. Kinsel in action.

D.S. Kinsel in action.

Colonel Eagleburger's Highstepping Goodtime Band.

Colonel Eagleburger’s Highstepping Goodtime Band.

Team Boom Concepts working outside the lines.

Team Boom Concepts working outside the lines.

Interviewing team leader Craig Freeman in the first round of the competition.

Interviewing team leader Craig Freeman in the first round of the competition.

Judge Erika Johnson of Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse critiques the activity.

Judge Erika Johnson of Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse critiques the activity.

Anqwenique Wingfield with an operatic performance.

Anqwenique Wingfield with an operatic performance.

Julie Mallis in action

Julie Mallis in action.

Commission for Cosmic Craft Transmission prepares to send a signal into the cosmos.

Commission for Cosmic Craft Transmission prepares to send a signal into the cosmos.

Visitors taking part in craft activities.

Visitors taking part in craft activities.

Mike Cuccaro moderates the

Mike Cuccaro moderates the “halftime show.” Two audience members had seven minutes to create sculptures out of the contents of small boxes. Boxes were filled with random items from Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.

Art Olympics Pittsburgh Halftime Show

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Judges Maritza Mosquera, Erika Johnson, Christiane D, and Wayne Younger debate the winner of the halftime show.

Judges Maritza Mosquera, Erika Johnson, Christiane D, and Wayne Younger debate the winner of the halftime show.

The Art Olympic Festival took place in a rare patch of green space in the East Deutschtown neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

The Art Olympic Festival took place in a rare patch of green space in the East Deutschtown neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

David Zak and Nathan Curtis working meticulously to use all of their provided junk items.

David Zak and Nathan Curtis working meticulously to use all of their provided junk items.

Led by artist Hyla Willis, team Huff & Puff invited audience members into the square to assist in creating inflated plastic bag forms.

Led by artist Hyla Willis, team Puff and Stuff invited audience members into the square to assist in creating inflated plastic bag forms.

Mike Cuccaro interviews a young audience member.

Mike Cuccaro interviews a young audience member.

“Are you having fun today?”

“I’m the next Art Olympian!”

Team Huff & Puff in action!

Team Puff and Stuff in action!

Commission for Cosmic Craft Transmission in action!

Commission for Cosmic Craft Transmission in action!

Art Olympics Pittsburgh

Rounding up the judges before the final decision.

Judges making final comments on the show.

Team Boom Concepts after their final presentation.

Team Boom Concepts after their final presentation.

Hyla Willis accepting the second place trophy. It was a very close contest!

Hyla Willis accepting the second place trophy. It was a very close contest!

Nathan Curtis, Craig Freeman, Elizabeth Rudnick and David Zak - winners of the 2015 Art Olympics.

Nathan Curtis, Craig Freeman, Elizabeth Rudnick and David Zak – winners of the 2015 Art Olympics.

Art Olympic Trophy

Comments from Liz Hammond, Emcee, musician and crew member for the 2007 and 2008 Art Olympics.

Comments from Liz Hammond, Emcee, musician and crew member of the 2007 and 2008 Art Olympics.

Finishing touches by Nathan Curtis.

Finishing touches by Nathan Curtis.

The intense seven-minute halftime show.

The seven-minute halftime show.

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Art Olympics returns to Pittsburgh

I’m in the process of planning an Art Olympic Festival to take place on Saturday, August 29th 2015 on the North Side of Pittsburgh.  The event, a contest inspired by the Iron Chef TV show, features three teams of artists competing over three hours to make winning sculptures out of piles of junk.  Teams are judged in categories such as “creative use of materials and best performance.”  The highly interactive event allows audience members to get up close and see the work in progress.  Visitors are welcome to make commentary on the show, and to participate in a “half-time show” competition.  The August 29th event will by hosted by the Neu Kirche Contemporary Art Center as part of their Fallow Grounds artist residency series.  Festivities are scheduled to begin at 4 PM and run until 6:30 PM.  The event, located at an empty lot near the Neu Kirche Center, is free and open to the public.  Previous Art Olympic main event shows have happened at the Mattress Factory, The Union Project, the New Hazlett Theater, and Market Square.  Shorter, table top events have taken place at the August Wilson Center and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

In 2008, Art Olympics at Market Square was a main event of the Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh.

In 2008, Art Olympics at Market Square was a main event of the Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh.  Photo by Larry Rippel.

 

2007 event at the New Hazlett Theater (with Art Olympic Trophy).

2007 event at the New Hazlett Theater (with Art Olympic Trophy).

Sketch for the Art Olympic Fest, Fallow Grounds Residency at Neu Kirche Art Center.

Sketch for the Art Olympic Fest, Fallow Grounds Residency at Neu Kirche Art Center.

 

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Tiny Art

Here are three kinetic pieces that I recently made and shipped out to Brooklyn for a small works show (set to take place during the 2015 Bushwick open studios). The Tiny Art Show (organized by NY artist Mary Ivy Martin) is taking place at 114 Forrest Street, Studio 4A.  Show times are: Friday, June 5, 7 PM – 9 PM, Saturday June 6, Noon – 7 PM and Sunday, June 7, Noon – 7 PM.

Open Up and Say Ah!  Found object assemblage.  (this piece has a sound sensor that triggers a light when one yells at the work.  2015

Open Up and Say Ah! Found object assemblage, 2015. (This piece has a sound sensor that triggers a light when one yells at the work. This is my spin on Robert Gober’s Carnegie Museum of Art drain piece).

ON/OFF, Found object assemblage. (sphere rotates when switch is turned on). 2015

ON/OFF, Found object assemblage. (sphere rotates when switch is turned on). 2015

Hello! Found object assemblage. (this one glows or blinks).  2015

Hello! Found object assemblage. (this one glows or blinks). 2015

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Puppet World

Here are some images of Puppet World at Nutting Gallery, West Liberty University.

Display of puppets.

Display of puppets.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATom Sarver, Puppet World

 

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Kinetic Art

Here is a piece I made in 2008 using random junk, some toy motors, and scrap wood.

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