By John Altdorfer
Sometimes there’s a fine line between representational and abstract art. In fact, that margin can be paper thin. Abstract Art Before 1950: Watercolors, Drawings, Prints and Photographs, opening June 13 in the Museum of Art’s Works on Paper Gallery, examines that distinction through a variety of media from the museum’s collection as well as a local private collection.
The exhibition traces the evolution of this decidedly 20th-century artistic innovation and its links to genres like landscape and still-life as well as manifestations of pure abstraction. Among the American, European, and Japanese artists featured are Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Mark Rothko, Johannes Molzahn, El Lissitsky, Lásló Moholy-Nagy, Lyonel Feininger, Arthur Dove, Charles Burchfield, Onchi Kōshirō, Barbara Morgan, and Luke Swank.
Out Of This World
Delve deeper into Life on Mars, the 2008 Carnegie International—as there’s something to engage all interests. Kicking off activities in June is the start of a monthly book club, a brand-new performance by Attack Theatre in Carnegie Museum of Art’s Sculpture Court, artists’ talks, and a panel discussion that will address the philosophy behind the art and science of exploration. As summer rolls on, don’t miss a film series, concert, and plenty of children’s activities—all inspired by Life on Mars. Hear from Life on Mars Curator Douglas Fogle, a variety of artists, writers, and even a NASA scientist. For a full schedule, see the enclosed calendar or visit http://blog.cmoa.org/.
Don Robinson has combined a successful business career and love of photography to create a body of work that’s captivated viewers for more than a half century. A Harvard graduate who founded a national drug store chain and studied with some of the 20th century’s top photographers, Robinson explores the world’s wonders with his camera in tow. His latest show, In Harmony with Nature II: Photos by Donald M. Robinson—on loan from the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art—is a celebration of his acclaimed photos of landscapes, wildlife, and the human condition. On display in the Museum of Natural History’s R. P. Simmons Family Gallery through September 14, the images reveal a keen eye for nature’s beauty in settings as diverse as the woods of western Pennsylvania to the Artic.
Time On His Hands
H. J. Heinz produced 57 varieties of pickles, condiments, and other foodstuffs at his company’s North Side factory. But the ketchup king also put together an extensive collection of another kind—timepieces.
Showcasing 28 of Heinz’s most spectacular watches, Time Machines: Watches from the H.J. Heinz Collection, on display through July 13 in the Wertz Gallery, turns back the hands of time with such beauties as a gold mechanical “repeating watch” with figures that strike the hour—clock-making “technology” that dates to the 17th century. Other rarities include a watch once owned by British naval hero Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson and a music-box watch adorned with a feathered bird.
Plunge into the deep blue waters of coastal Africa and scale Europe’s most majestic mountains without ever leaving Pittsburgh, as two new IMAX® features at the Science Center’s Rangos Omnimax Theater surround you with breathtaking panoramas from around the world.
Swim with the fishes in Wild Ocean as billions of sardines migrate up the Kwazulu-Natal Coast of South Africa. This underwater epic of one small fish’s struggle for survival captures unforgettable scenes of breaching whales, feeding sharks, diving gannets, and massive bait balls, as it also points out the econo-mic and cultural impact of fish migration on coastal communities. Then join mountaineer and journalist John Harlin III in The Alps as he attempts to climb the deadly North Face of the Eiger, the stormiest, steepest peak in all of Europe—40 years after the same mountain claimed the life of his larger-than-life father, climbing legend John Harlin II. Both films open June 6. Check CarnegieScienceCenter.org for schedules.
Titanic Docks on the North Shore
Nearly 90 years after its only voyage, the R.M.S Titanic still captures the public’s imagination. Now you can relive the grandeur of the great ship as Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition docks at the Science Center through September 1.
With painstaking detail, the Atlanta-based RMS Titanic Inc. salvage company, the only organization permitted by the U.S. government to retrieve artifacts from the sunken ocean liner, re-created the ship’s stately passenger cabins decked out with personal belongings and other items recovered from the vessel, which still lies 2.5 miles beneath the north Atlantic Ocean.
More than just a grand show of aquatic artifacts, the exhibit submerges viewers into the science of the Titanic’s not-so-watertight construction, underwater decay and preservation, and modern-day recovery techniques. You won’t want to miss the boat for this unparalleled opportunity to relive one of the most memorable and ill-fated trips in modern history!
Off The Wall and Into Theaters
Andy Warhol once said, “Art is what you can get away with.” The Warhol’s popular Off The Wall series will return this fall, and is expected to once again push the boundaries of that definition with a series of experimental theater, spoken word, music, comedy, and other eclectic performances that are anything but ordinary.
With a lineup that opens in September and runs through November, Off the Wall will unfold on the museum’s own stage and galleries as well as in the renovated New Hazlett Theater. Groundbreaking and unconventional, a total of seven productions will push viewers to rethink conventional wisdom and cultural mores. Whether it’s Peter Reder’s Guided Tour, an architectural interrogation of the notion of the authentic; Removable Parts, a collection of unrequited love songs about voluntary amputation by Kathleen Supove and Corey Dargel; or Taylor Mac’s exploration of the human condition and the contemporary culture of fear through gender-bending surrealism, Off the Wall is never satisfied with the status quo.
For a complete schedule and ticket information, visit www.warhol.org.
A Tasty Alternative
Already the hippest place on the North Shore to jump-start the weekend thanks to its weekly “Good Fridays,” The Warhol explores the art of the “pour” with monthly beer and wine tastings.
With the help of the big Burrito restaurant group, the museum serves a variety of regional microbrews every second Friday of the month and invites wine lovers to sample the fruit of the vine each fourth Friday.
On tap for this summer are finely crafted brews from western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Delaware, New York, Maryland, and other nearby states. Each tasting also features a talk from brewmeisters on the special qualities of their blends and munchies from the big Burrito kitchens. Wine tastings travel farther a field to bring the best of the grape to Pittsburgh. Along with cheeses, fruits and other delectable edibles, a short discussion accompanies each tasting. Each tasting is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and costs $20. For tickets, visit the calendar at www.warhol.org.