Reflecting upon the variety and numbers of venues, shows and
exhibitors in our region, it occurred to me that the Post-Gazette
could have a "best of" category for arts institutions. However, for
2012 I'll stay with an overview of the year's exhibitions.
These 10 exhibitions enriched my year with new ideas, provoking
commentary, explorations of culture, poetic beauty or a combination
thereof. Some continue into the new year, and the catalogs for many
of them offer a great read during holiday down time.
1 -- "Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World's
Fairs, 1851-1939" at Carnegie Museum of Art is as spectacular in its
own way as the fairs themselves were, brimming with 200 unique
objects that reflect the period's emphasis on craftsmanship and
participants proclivity to shine. An outstanding symposium
complemented the exhibition scholarship. (Continuing through Feb.
24; 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org.)
2 -- "Factory Direct: Pittsburgh," organized by The Andy Warhol
Museum and exhibited at the museum and at Guardian Self-Storage,
Strip District, featured work by 14 international and local artists
produced in residency at local companies. The project result was
more than the sum of its parts, generating innovative work but also
camaraderie and good will among the artists and between artists and
employees at participating sites.
3 -- "White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes" in the Heinz
Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, is curator Raymund
Ryan's thoughtful look at new directions museums and other cultural
sites are exploring through examples in the United States, Mexico,
Brazil, Germany, Italy and Japan. Vibrant images of each by noted
architectural photographer Iwan Baan transport the viewer. You'll be
planning your next six vacations after spending some time in this
engaging and very progressive presentation. (Continuing through Jan.
13; 412-622-3131 or www.cmoa.org).
4 -- Deborah Kass: Before and Happily Ever After, a mid-career
retrospective comprising 75 works at The Andy Warhol Museum, is an
extraordinary compilation that does justice to its subject, a tall
order when that's an artist as compelling, saucy and wise as this
New Yorker, whose voice speaks truth and should reverberate beyond
the museum walls. (Continuing through Jan. 6; 412-237-8300 or
5 -- "Impressions of Interiors: Gilded Age Paintings by Walter
Gay" at the Frick Art & Historical Center takes visitors into the
homes of the privileged through intricate works painted during a
period when the wealthy commissioned artists to represent their
houses and grounds. Mr. Gay, however, was not a mere hired hand but
a socialite himself who with his heiress wife lived in high style as
expatriates in France. The Frick organized this exhibition with
great care, including a presentation by a knowledgeable panel that
gave context to the artworks and artist. …