Pittsburgh Glass Center

Through January 4
Various times

Move over São Paulo, Venice and The Whitney, the Pittsburgh Biennial is ready for its close-up. With 43 artists, 9 curators and seven venues, 2014 Pittsburgh Biennial is the largest survey of regional contemporary art. In case you missed the inaugural opening event of this year’s Pittsburgh Biennial on July 19th, you have plenty of chances to experience the comprehensive show, which continues with dynamic programming at multiple local arts venues through January 4th, 2015.

Kicking off its second phase on Friday, August 1st, the local Biennial hosts a free public opening for Idea Furnace at the Pittsburgh Glass Center in Friendship-Garfield.

Curated by Heather McElwee, the first-of-its-kind experimental exhibition features new art created by seven acclaimed Pittsburgh-based artists who have no prior glass experience, and who all worked in collaboration with five local glass artists. Featured artists are: Bob Beckman, Jeremy Boyle, Melissa Fitzgerald, Jason Forck, Toby Fraley, Vanessa German, Ashley McFarland, Juliet Pusateria, Travis Rohrbaugh, Will Schlough, Kara Skylling and Margaret Spacapan. On view in the Center’s Hodge Gallery, the Biennial will remain on view through October 26th.

All of the artists recently participated in the Glass Center’s 2014 Idea Furnace, an experimental design program and residency that connects non-glass artists with glass artists and encourages exploration in a variety of additional art forms. Created to bridge the gap between glass and other art and design media, the Idea Furnace provides support to artists working outside of the medium of glass and gives them an opportunity to explore a new material and create a new body of work with the help of a master glass artist. The unique project also challenges the Center’s veteran glass artists to think outside the box when it comes to the material itself, to approach glass in new ways and to find innovative solutions to complex design challenges.

Featured Idea Furnace artists were hand selected to represent a wide variety of stages in their careers, media and type of work. Artists were sought who do not traditionally work in glass, yet who are currently creating significant work in Pittsburgh, and whose creative practice translates into glass in inventive and meaningful ways. As a result, the Biennial exhibition demonstrates the innovation, quality and diversity of work that can result from such a unique artistic collaboration.

A progressive partnership between seven of Pittsburgh’s top arts organizations, the Pittsburgh Biennial simultaneously presents some of the most compelling new art in a wide variety of media being created throughout the region today, while also spotlighting the area’s distinct world-class arts and cultural venues and diverse art scene. Showcasing the region as a dynamic incubator for art, the Pittsburgh Biennial celebrates the works of artists, the missions of arts organizations and a desire to share them both with broader audiences.

Curators for 2014 are: Jessica Beck (The Andy Warhol Museum); Nicholas Chambers (The Andy Warhol Museum); Amanda Donnan (Carnegie Museum of Art); Casey Droege (Miller Gallery at CMU); Murray Horne (SPACE); Barbara Luderoweski (Mattress Factory); Heather McElwee (Pittsburgh Glass Center); Michael Olijnyk (Mattress Factory); and Adam Welch (Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Pittsburgh Filmmakers).

Recently expanded in terms of scope and site—and launched with unprecedented collaborative approach—the mega-show brings together local powerhouse curators and creators for a look at the region’s most thought provoking contemporary art. A signature exhibition of Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts since its founding in 1994, the show uniquely pairs young emerging contemporary art curators from each organization, and allows the venues to break from tradition and create a new collaborative model for the presentation of contemporary artworks.

Featuring distinct exhibitions that reflect each curator’s and partner institution’s engagement with artists working in and around Pittsburgh, the Biennial will also engage the public in a dialogue about contemporary art practice and production via monthly receptions at rotating sites, artist and curator talks, exhibition tours, film screenings, family-friendly workshops and culture club happy hour events.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.