Pgh Gallery Crawl: Like a Pub Crawl, Except You Get Drunk on Strobe Lights

Pgh Gallery Crawl

I’ve been to a slew of gallery crawls and gallery nights, mostly in Chicago, but also in Madison and Florence. The Pittsburgh gallery crawl was different simply because it was a new city whose art scene I have’t explored. And also, it was the first gallery night I’ve attended alone. I thought I could picture the night: me, wandering the cultural district trying to deceiver a tiny map from a brochure and barely making it past the parking garage let alone to a host of galleries. Thankfully, the night turned out quite the opposite. Was it the strobe lights? The crazy interactive video collages? The night air? The giant duckie? Who knows! Either way I had a blast, met a load of crazy people, and would do it again (alone) in a heart beat.

Pgh Gallery Crawl 2

Kurt Hentschlager

I waited in line for this exhibit for an hour. I never actually made it to the room where the piece was taking place. But somehow, I left feeling like I had a good taste of postmodern art. Or maybe I try to find art in places where it’s not (intended to be). I’m known for thinking broken fence posts are part of sculpture gardens and that missing electrical outlets are accidentally unmarked installations. So I didn’t feel too disappointed to have spent an hour, crammed inside a tiny room with forty people, watching the smoke hiss out from under the door of the exhibit, wondering if we’d ever make it inside. I witnessed tension rise between people after a group cut the line. I met a man who, like me, ventured to the exhibit alone, and who took a moment to write down a note in a notepad he kept crumbled in his pocket. “Just for, you know, story ideas.” And finally, I watched a man get carried out of the exhibit room after experiencing a seizure. I was outta there in a second.

Granular Synthesis: Model 5 and Pol
Kurt Hentschlager and Ulf Langheinrich

Ironically (or not), the next exhibit I visited featured a large screen and four images of a women’s face, twisting and convulsing in repeated, robotic movement. At times both terrible and hilarious, needless to the say, the pieces made me very comfortable. Thankfully, I find uncomfortable art often times the most effective. Better to be disgusted by something than to think it beautiful in every way. Why? Because often beauty doesn’t really challenge how we think. Discomfort does.

For instance, getting a bit uncomfortable and exploring the city alone one evening.



The Artisan Gallery’s Latest Opening

The end of September and beginning of October are full of gallery openings and art shows, and I try to find myself at as many as I can. Even out in seemingly the middle of nowhere (cornfields, dirt roads, and country bars included), I found an amazing artisan gallery in Belleville, WI on historic Paoli Street. On Friday the 15th, I attended The Artisan Gallery’s opening of William Lemke: Photographs of the Grand Canyon, Group Show: 9th Annual Ceramics Invitational, and In the Cooler: Collaborations.
I love this gallery for its large and varied assortment of ceramic and sculpture work. I also appreciate the thought-provoking exhibitions they host, including In the Cooler: Collaborations, a colloborative exhibition that is currently showing (by the way it actually takes place in what used to be an old long, narrow cooler), and features painting, sculpture, and writing. The Artisan Gallery is a breath of fresh air in the Southern Wisconsin art scene and for a moment, made me forget some of my favorite galleries down in Chicago. Worth a visit also for the gallery’s creamery, and down the road, a cheese house and bakery.
To learn more about the gallery, check out their website here.