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. Photo by Larry Rippel.
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.
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, 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
Hello! Found object assemblage. (this one glows or blinks). 2015
Here are some images of Puppet World at Nutting Gallery, West Liberty University.
Display of puppets.
Here is a piece I made in 2008 using random junk, some toy motors, and scrap wood.
Obsessions at SPACE Gallery will be wrapping up this weekend. It’s been a great show. Lots of people are drawn in by the buzzing sound of insects in the outdoor video piece by Jason Lockyer. I encountered these children “dancing for the bees” on a cold January morning.
Here is a link to Lissa Brennan’s review of the show in the Pittsburgh CP: Artists explore their Obsessions at Space
And more by Mike May in Pittsburgh Magazine.
A collection of my puppets and props used in puppet show over the past 15 years will be on display January and February of 2015 at the Sewickley Public Library, in Sewickley, PA. Curated by Randi Morgan, the show is viewable during library hours. Highlights of the display include puppets from a production the Aristophanes play Peace, and puppets from my Dada show Flight Out of Time. All characters are handmade from wood, cardboard, papier-mâché, repurposed materials and paint. On Saturday, February 28th, I’ll be performing shows with puppeteer Mike Cuccaro in the library community room. The family shows will start at 2 PM and 3:30 PM. Please watch the Sewickley Public Library Website for details.
Pittsburgh visionary artist Steve Smith with one of his paintings, December 2014.
I met Steve Smith around 2001 when I was working at the art supply store on S. Craig Street, near the Carnegie Museum of Art. Steve stopped in regularly to get supplies and show off his latest creations. He always had a sketchbook in the works. He would fill ten or more pages a day with memories from his childhood, interpretations of stories in the news, or historical events. He drew the compositions quickly, and then filled them in with pattern and color. His earlier works in colored pencil and pastel are very meticulous. His later works in acrylic are bold and spontaneous. In his teenage years, Steve spend a lot of time studying tribal artwork from Africa, Ancient Egyptian Art and Pre-Columbian Art. Although his career dreams were challenged by health issues, Steve pushed ahead and continued to make art.
Steve’s works have appeared in many of my projects. In 2004, I featured his work in an exhibition at The Brew House titled, From the Inside. In 2006, Steve had a solo exhibition at my Tom Museum project at the Mattress Factory. Steve’s works have also been featured in exhibitions in Pittsburgh hospitals and shops.
Today Steve has a collection of paintings and drawings that document the events of his life. He continues to make work at his home in the East End of Pittsburgh. His work will be featured in my upcoming project, The Sideways Museum, opening in late January in the Cultural District of Downtown Pittsburgh.
An early self-portrait by Steve Smith.
Inner Man, by Steve Smith, acrylic on canvas.
Wedding Spider, by Steve Smith, Acrylic on canvas.
Clown Walking a Heart Dog, an early pastel work by Steve Smith.