Summer brings steady stream of art exhibits
This summer brings the strange and unusual in terms of art, starting with the work of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, which will be on display at both the Andy Warhol Museum and Carnegie Museum of Art.
Making headlines for his work in Greece to highlight the plight of Syrian refugees, Ai Weiwei (pronounced eye way-way) is an artist of worldwide fame. And in honor of such a luminary, The Warhol will offer free general admission from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 3 to celebrate the opening of “Andy Warhol/Ai Weiwei,” a major international exhibition featuring the work of these two significant artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
This exhibition focuses on the parallels, intersections and points of difference between their practices. For example, Ai spent his formative years in New York in the 1980s, when Warhol's career and social prominence were at their apex. And like the pop artist, he'll use any contemporary medium or genre — photography, sculpture, ready-mades, performance, tweets and blogs — to create his art, which for Ai delivers his message about the struggle for human rights in China and beyond.
In conjunction, Carnegie Museum of Art will display Ai's iconic “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” in its Hall of Architecture. The exhibit is composed of a dozen 10-foot-tall bronze figures, representing the traditional Chinese zodiac. Each weighs around 2,000 pounds. They will remain on display through Aug. 29, as will the Warhol exhibit.
Also showcasing art on an international scale, the Society for Contemporary Craft and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts is hosting “Fiberart International 2016,” featuring the work of 79 artists from 14 countries.
This juried exhibition of contemporary works of fiber art is widely considered a benchmark exhibition, documenting trends and innovations in the field. It will remain on display through Aug. 21.
Opening June 11 at the Frick Art Museum, “Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe” features popular pumps by iconic designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Louboutin and Alexander McQueen, mixed into a historical context that includes everything from 18th-century silk slippers to the glamorous stilettos seen on today's red carpets. It will remain on display through Sept. 4.
The Mattress Factory will light “Acupuncture,” a permanent public art installation created by German artist Hans Peter Kuhn on the roof of the museum on June 17. The light sculpture has been nearly 10 years in the making, and its unique shape will change the skyline of the city of Pittsburgh.
Made from LED light tubes, “Acupuncture” appears as long white “light sticks,” as Kuhn calls them, that will appear to “pierce” the roof and the south-facing side. The installation's size and configuration will make the piece visible from all angles, throughout the neighborhood and the city.
Meanwhile, inside this museum dedicated to installation art, four artists from around the country have filled the galleries at the museum's 1414 Monterey St. location in what constitutes the first part of “Factory Installed,” a two-part exhibition. The second part will open Sept. 30 at the museum's 500 Sampsonia Way location, with four more artists.
Finally, opening July 9 at Westmoreland Museum of American Art, “A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America” will feature the work of 60 self-taught or “naive” artists who worked between 1800 and 1925. They include some of the most admired 19th-century American artists, such as Ammi Phillips, John Brewster Jr. and Edward Hicks.
Kurt Shaw is the Tribune-Review art critic.