Acupuncture Mattress Factory

The newest public art installation at the Mattress Factory, Acupuncture, is made up of several large light rods that appear to pierce through the top floor of the popular museum. Designed by Hans Peter Kuhn, the permanent light sculpture has been 10 years in the making.

The museum, known for bringing artists to Pittsburgh and featuring Pittsburgh artists who create unique, site-specific art installations, recently completed the fundraising, fabricating and planning for the piece that was lit up for the first time at the recent Urban Garden Party in June.

“We are thrilled that the Mattress Factory was able to get this project done to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the City of Pittsburgh,” says Michael Olijnyk, co-director of the museum. Acupuncture is a signature piece for the museum and the North Side, and it’s a marker of the great things to come for our city in the 21st century.”

Kuhn’s sculpture is constructed of custom LED light tubes, or “light sticks” as Kuhn calls them. The Mattress Factory worked closely with two Pittsburgh-based businesses to complete the construction of Acupuncture. Family-owned specialty contractor Bunting Graphics, in business since 1869, fabricated the artwork. Centimark, a commercial roofing and flooring contractor based in Canonsburg, reinforced the roof of the building on which the artwork is installed.

Berlin-based Kuhn has a long history with the Mattress Factory, having first worked with the museum in 1986 and returning in 1987 and 2001. Kuhn has created large-scale, site-specific light and sound installations for multiple cultural institutions such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, MoMA PS1 in New York, the Venice Biennale, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

The project is part of Pittsburgh Bicentennial as well as the Buhl Foundation’s One Northside project. Acupuncture was chosen as a defining project to represent the community during community meetings held by the Buhl Foundation.

“One Northside has united 18 communities in an effort to improve the quality of life in the area,” says Frederick W. Thieman, of the Buhl Foundation. “Throughout our extensive community planning effort, residents made clear that they consider public art an important part of the Northside fabric. For that reason, Buhl is proud to support Acupuncture, which is a wonderful symbol for the progress made in both the North Side and Pittsburgh.”

Acupuncture is lit daily from 8 to 11p.m. and can be viewed from points all around the North Side and the city at large.

Maya Haptas has an M.A. in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and is a freelance writer covering various topics from architecture and urban design to wellness and skateboarding. She is currently the assistant editor of Bigfoot Skateboarding Magazine.