Art Notes: New exhibits, films at museums kick off a lively fall season

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Fall season is in high gear with exhibition openings and other events occurring weekly.

At noon today, two documentaries will be screened at The Frick Art Museum, 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze, that complement the exhibition "Clayton Days Revisited: A Project by Vik Muniz" (free). "Wasteland" (2010) is the hopeful and surprising story of an art project Mr. Muniz carried out in the Jardim Garmacho, the world's largest landfill, in his native Brazil. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary and winner of the audience award for the Best International Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. "Worst Possible Illusion -- The Curiosity Cabinet of Vik Muniz" (2003) includes footage of his Brooklyn studio, native Brazil and making of "Clayton Days" at the Frick Art & Historical Center. Mr. Muniz will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 at the museum ($20, $15 members, reservations required). 412-371-0600 or www.TheFrickPittsburgh.org.

Mattress Factory

Three big fall shows open with a reception and musical performance by Lungs Face Feet from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Mattress Factory museum, 500 Sampsonia Way, North Side. "Detroit: Artists in Residence," new work by four individual artists and two artist collaborations, is at the main museum; "Janine Antoni," a native of the Bahamas and New York resident, performance and installation artist, with collaborative work by Stephen Petronio, is at the 1414 Monterey St. auxiliary gallery; and "Chiharu Shiota," a Japanese performance and installation artist has transformed eight rooms of a new exhibition space, 516 Sampsonia Way ($15; members free). The museum will have extended hours Oct. 4-6 with artist programs and a special performance by the Stephen Petronio Company. A 21-and-over screening of "Decampment, Traditions, & Possession(s)," with live soundtrack accompaniment, will be given at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31 ($15; members $10). 412-231-3169 or www.mattress.org.

Toker on Florence

Franklin Toker, professor in the Department of the History of Art & Architecture, University of Pittsburgh, will speak about a "surprising find" made in Florence at noon Sept. 18 in Room 202 of the Frick Fine Arts Building, Oakland. The free, public talk, "Archaeological Documentation of the Earliest Christian Worship-site in Florence, under the Baptistery of S. Giovanni," will also serve as a preview of his forthcoming third volume (of an anticipated four) on the excavations he ran under the Cathedral and Baptistery of Florence.

"I have revisited a small pool that I first glimpsed 44 years ago. The pool did not 'work' right for the three main baptismal rites of aspersion, immersion, and submersion. But I now see that it did work perfectly for baptism by affusion, which was the most common rite of early Christian times," Mr. Toker wrote in an email. If it is a baptismal pool, then the building around it was most likely a house-church, he added. "If this house documents the beginnings of Christianity in Florence, the new interpretation has ramifications for many disciplines."

Samuels in Jerusalem

Pittsburgh artist Diane Samuels has been invited by the Foundation for Jewish Culture's American Academy in Jerusalem to participate in a 10-week residential fellowship. She joins New York-based filmmaker Susan Korda; director, choreographer and media artist Dean Moss; and architect Davidson Norris in the 2013 class of fellows.

They will interact with local cultural and academic institutions and the public as they develop individual projects. The fellowships' goal is to contribute to the city's cultural capital and represent Jerusalem as a vibrant and pluralistic destination for creative and progressive individuals.

Ms. Samuels proposes to transcribe poetry and conversations with Jerusalemites in public spaces, photograph and make castings of small sections of important historic and contemporary events, assemble audio recording of literary readings and conversations, and produce an annotated map of her explorations.

The fellows will give public presentations about their works-in-progress in Jerusalem and upon their return to the U.S.

artarchitecture

Post-Gazette art critic Mary Thomas: mthomas@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1925.


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