By: Sam Fatula | A&E Editor
With classes on the verge of ending and finals on the cusp, it’s time you earned a little break from the constant ebb and flow on campus to go out for a night on the town this weekend. Besides, you are not going to want to miss the festivities of this season’s Downtown Gallery Crawl, which starts at 5:30 p.m. this Friday.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has hosted seasonal Gallery Crawls for years with the premise to showcase the artistic talent that call Pittsburgh home. Within the 14 block radius that houses various artwork throughout the evening, attendees can expect to see projects that range from simple paintings on a smaller canvas, to murals that can occupy an entire wall or live performances that can become highly interactive between artist and audience. And while you can spend your entire evening wandering aimlessly through the streets of the Cultural District looking for tomorrow’s next phenomenon, why not come into this endeavor a little more prepared? It will make finding the best exhibits … and nearest beer spots, that much easier.
SPACE on 812 Liberty Ave. has participated in numerous Gallery Crawls, and normally becomes the center of attention for artistic exhibits that revolve around larger conceptual themes. Friday’s exhibit will feature no different, as the subject in discussion will be gun control. The group show, titled Unloaded, which will be spearheaded by Carnegie Mellon University’s Art Department director Susanne Slavick, seeks to examine the historical and social issues in America that are heavily influenced by firearms. One of the larger components of the show plan on implementing elements of a flash mob, where participants will lay down inside pre-drawn chalk lines, intending to mimic a dead body of a crime scene. Through the series of exhibits that have been on display at previous Gallery Crawls, none seem to have more of a potential to incite a form of a nonviolent protest than Unloaded.
While being politically active can be self-fulfilling, appreciating the art on display is what many attendees look forward to the most during Gallery Crawl. There are many locations to choose from to satisfy your inner art critic, but these two photography exhibits offer a higher degree of originality and experimentation. One of these photographers happens to occupy much of her time at Duquesne, as art history adjunct Christine Lorenz will feature her work on the second floor at 937 Liberty Ave.
The project, titled Temporary States collects photos of common household substances in a black and white format. And while they are common, Lorenz zooms in on these objects (for example, salt) to reveal beautiful images of crystals that look incredibly unique. These images are combined with bodies of work that highlight climate change to represent formations that express eras of past and present. Conceptually, it is unusual. However the images themselves are extremely engaging to the viewer.
From an urbanist perspective, there doesn’t seem to be anyone as ambitious (and young) as artist/photographer, Cody Baker. The student from Point Park University will be showcasing his recent project, Nine Lives at Social Status on 717 Liberty Ave., and places his subjects in what appear to be life-threatening situations. Photos will vary from people leaping off of Pittsburgh tallest structures, or performing soccer or skateboarding tricks on the ledges of skyscrapers. The visuals are incredibly realistic, and gives the viewer a sense of place with a combination of nervousness for the person in the photograph.
And as with all Gallery Crawls, various forms of entertainment are available just blocks away. The always hilarious Arcade Comedy Theater on 811 Liberty Ave. will once again be performing short skits every 30 minutes at no cost for those who are fans of the troupe and for anyone still unfamiliar with their act. Future Tenant on 819 Penn Ave. continues to showcase the work of student actors and actresses by performing various improv shows, and normally is accompanied by a live band.
Through all these engaging activities, it is easy to overlook the fact that many of these locations will be serving varieties of free beer in celebration of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week. So even if art isn’t your thing, you can be sure to fill up your cup to have fun in an alternative manner.