Art Notes: An art-filled Saturday -- pick between two major exhibitions


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If you haven't met Vanessa German, one of Pittsburgh's most engaging and accomplished artists, there's no better time than Saturday to do so as she leads a procession -- part performance, part ritual -- from Homewood to an exhibition of her sculpture at Concept Art Gallery in Regent Square.

The procession will begin at her home studio between 1:30 and 2 p.m. and continue along Braddock Avenue, gathering steam as people join at Braddock's intersections with Hamilton, Penn and Forbes avenues, and ending at the gallery at 1031 S. Braddock.

Ms. German has been inviting people via a Facebook page to send a personal message to be added to a figure that will be carried in the procession and placed in the gallery:

"Greetings, Vanessa German here. I'm making prayer beads and perhaps you need or have a name or a prayer to be included inside of a bead? A word? A focusing hope? Send it to me in an inbox message and I, or one of the art house artists, will wrap it tight in swaddling clothing, dip it in plaster and liquid gold leaf, to be included on the prayer and wish power figure, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident,' that will be in my new exhibition, 'Citizen Artist,' at Concept Art Gallery."

Ms. German is well known for spoken-word performances. On Monday, she gave one at the swearing-in ceremony for Mayor Bill Peduto. She received a grant from the August Wilson Center to develop her spoken-word opera, "Root," was 2012 Pittsburgh Center for the Arts Emerging Artist of the Year, initiated an Art House near her home that formed a creative community for neighborhood youth, and exhibited work by those children at last summer's Three Rivers Arts Festival. Her work is in public and private collections including The Museum of Visionary Art in Baltimore and the Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, Ark.

Her invitation on Facebook explains Saturday's event this way:

"I will be walking, thinking about peace and love and healing. I will be thinking about Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] and Nelson Mandela, and Bernadette Turner and friendship and loyalty and love and forgiveness and healing and hope for the body, spirit and mind ... .

"I will hold close to my heart your prayers. And I will lift you up in my soul. I will be singing songs and reciting poetry along the way ... . I'd be honored if you'd join us. But, if you're not able to join us, then you're invited to journey to see the work at the [gallery] and add to it with your own words and ways."

The exhibition continues through Feb. 8. A performance by Ms. German will be given at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and until 8 p.m. Thursday. Admission is free. Information: 412-242-9200 or www.conceptgallery.com.

Mirapaul at Silver Eye

Evan Mirapaul, one of three collectors featured in "Pittsburgh Collects" at Silver Eye Center for Photography, will speak at the gallery at 2 p.m. Saturday, the exhibition's last day.

Mr. Mirapaul is a knowledgeable collector who will talk about his collecting experiences over two decades and about the works of photographer Gabor Kerekes and the rare photographic process anthrakotype. He is a founder of the PGH Photo Fair and Fugitive Vision and co-chair of the Library Committee of the International Center for Photography in New York City. He is also the patron of "La Hutte Royal," a house-sized installation by German photographer Thorsten Brinkmann in Troy Hill.

The exhibition comprises 75 photographic works from three regional photography collections, those of Mr. Mirapaul, critic and curator Graham Shearing and an anonymous collector.

"Pittsburgh Collects" was organized by Brian Lang, curator of the BNY Mellon Corporate Art Collection in Pittsburgh and Silver Eye board chair; and Marcia Rosenthal, independent art consultant, fine art appraiser and Silver Eye board member.

The talk, which will be followed by a reception, is free, but reservations are requested as space is limited. The center, 1015 E. Carson St., South Side, is open noon-6 p.m. through Saturday. Admission is free. Information: 412-431-1810 or www.silvereye.org.

Art bridging cultures

"Equality, Dialogue: East and West," a lecture and workshop that will explore bridging the gap between Eastern and Western cultures through art collaborations and sharing among countries and regions, will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at The ToonSeum, 945 Liberty Ave., Downtown. Participants will be Pakistan native Sundas Matloob and Marian Barber and Chloe Boden of Clarion University. A lecture will be followed by art projects that encourage understanding through the arts.

The free event is part of a special series coinciding with the ToonSeum's current exhibit "Wonder Women," which explores women artists and their roles in the comic arts (continuing through March 31). Information: 412-232-0199.

Susan Winicour

"The Circus of Life: Work by Susan Winicour" is an exhibition at the American Jewish Museum, a tribute to the Pittsburgh artist who died in July, and an opportunity to purchase her artwork. A celebratory opening reception, from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, will include a 7:15 p.m. performance by the Zany Umbrella Circus inspired by Winicour's art. The event is free, but reservations are suggested for Zany Umbrella (412-521-8011, ext. 105). Winicour frequently painted contemporary individuals or relationships, often infused with tension or detachment. Colors and compositions reflect the influence of German Expressionism, but beyond that Winicour created the visual equivalents of piquant short stories.

A silent auction of the art will be held during the exhibition run; additional works are at www.winicour.com with starting bids as low as $10 for print works. Sale proceeds will benefit the museum. The exhibition continues through March 28 at 5738 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill. Admission is free. Hours are 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 1- 6 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Information: www.jccpgh.org/page/ajm.

David Ludwig

Another opportunity to see, and purchase, work from an artist's estate is at Panza Gallery, 115 Sedgwick St., Millvale, where "David A. Ludwig: Structures" continues through Saturday. Ludwig meticulously considered and formed what he dubbed "Structures," three-dimensional, ostensibly monochromatic, painstakingly textured wall hangings. The paintings, study sets and drawings exhibited are drawn from a four-decade career and, seen together, raise a new appreciation for his evolutionary process and achievements. Ludwig died in 2011.

The gallery is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today through Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. Information: 412-821-0959 or www.panzagallery.com.

Marcellus Shale

The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project, which was exhibited in 2012 at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, continues to travel. It opens this month at Allegheny College in Meadville; moves to Youngstown State University, Ohio, in March; and wraps the year at the Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State University. Six outstanding photographers crossed the state to find images that illustrate the pros and cons of gas drilling. For exhibition or event updates, visit www.the-msdp.us.


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

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