Art Notes: CMU opens doors to student art shows

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The visual arts program at Carnegie Mellon University has gained international prominence in recent decades, rivaling that of its fine drama school. Visitors may check out the latest in creative expression during a free, public Open Studio Day Friday.

The School of Music's annual Holiday Concert actually opens the day featuring the CMU Philharmonic and Choirs at noon in the College of Fine Arts Building's Great Hall. They will play a variety of holiday classics with other well-known music. The same program will be presented at 8 p.m. Thursday in Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland; general admission is $5.

The Miller Gallery, in the nearby Purnell Center for the Arts, also opens at noon (til 6 p.m) with the exhibition "Alien She" -- seven artists inspired by the pioneering punk feminist group Riot Grrrl.

In the College of Fine Arts, art students will show ongoing work in the second- and third-floor studios from 5 to 9 p.m. Food and drink will be served, WRCT DJs will hold forth and artwork will be for sale. "Building BXA" a temporary exhibition space by intercollege degree program students, will run from 5 to 9 p.m. with a presentation at 7 p.m. The BXA Freshman Seminar class exhibition, "Remixing the Wunderkammer," will be displayed from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in CFA Room 303. Performance art will take place on the front lawn.

The school invites visitors to explore the College of Fine Arts building, which is celebrating its centennial this year. Designed by noted architect Henry Hornbostel, it is embellished with sculpture and murals, and includes innovative spaces like the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, which champions projects that combine art, science and technology (stop by to learn more).

WWII Monument talk

Larry Kirkland, the artist who designed the Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial, will give a free public talk at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Carnegie Science Center (parking $3). The memorial will be unveiled at a 10 a.m. public ceremony Friday at the North Shore Riverfront Park. Mr. Kirkland will talk about the memorial's design process with Todd Johnson from Design Workshop and present an overview of his many public art projects including installations at the American Red Cross national headquarters and the Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan.

Mr. Kirkland, who holds a bachelor's degree in environmental design and a master's in fine art, grew up in a military family in the U.S. and abroad. He has created large-scale artworks for public spaces and buildings in collaboration with community leaders and design professionals for 35 years.

Ludwig at Panza

An opening reception for "David A. Ludwig: Structures" will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Panza Gallery, 115 Sedgwick St., Millvale. Paintings, study sets and drawings give insight to the late artist's four-decade career, from his better known intellectually disciplined three-dimensional wall reliefs to playful experimentation combining geometry and found objects done later in his life. The exhibition continues through Jan. 11. Information: 412-821-0959 or

Four-hour wait

Really? was my first thought when I read about the lines waiting to be admitted to a 45-second encounter with Yayoi Kusama's "Infinity Mirrored Room -- The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away" at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York City. Visitors have traveled from as far as Venezuela to send a selfie from the darkened mirror-lined room animated by 75 colored LED bulbs.

Fans of Ms. Kusama can have a similar experience with a lot less trouble at the Mattress Factory museum on the North Side, where two of the largest extant Kusama installations remain on long-term view from a 1996 retrospective, "Infinity Dots Mirrored Room" and "Repetitive Vision." Both have the repeating hall-of-mirrors quality, one bright, the other darkened, a contrast of exterior and interior in one visit. And "there's no time limit," said Alexis Tragos, museum director of development.

Post-Gazette art critic Mary Thomas: or 412-263-1925.

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