The Mattress Factory has announced that the installation by Chiharu Shiota in its 516 Sampsonia Way Gallery will open at 10 a.m. Friday. That's good news for fans of the Berlin-based Japanese artist who were disappointed during the originally scheduled Sept. 12 opening when the site remained closed due to last-minute city code concerns. Those are now reconciled. Visitors did have an opportunity to talk with Ms. Shiota, who had flown in from Germany for last month's event.
"I think it will be worth the wait," said museum co-director Michael Olijnyk. "It's such a knock-out piece. The Mattress Factory is always pushing the envelope, and that's what this piece is. We had more hoops to jump through than we normally have."
The internationally recognized museum specializes in site-specific installation art that artists create while in residency. Challenges that have arisen during past exhibitions range from securing visas for 11 Cuban artists to melting down 15,000 pounds of paraffin, sourcing batches of fly eggs or sawing a pile of bricks into 16,000 units.
"Trace of Memory" is the inaugural work in the auxiliary space, a 19th-century row house, and Ms. Shiota's biggest piece to date.
"It's also her first in that kind of building. It's not a white box. There's so much history to play off," Mr. Olijnyk said.
The work flows through eight rooms in which objects such as a bed and a sewing machine, dating from periods when the house was occupied, are enveloped within web-like patterns formed by yarn.
About 500,000 feet of black yarn, to be exact. Three assistants from Ms. Shiota's Berlin studio and 10 additional installers provided by the museum worked on it for 10 days, sometimes from 9 a.m. to midnight, Mr. Olijnyk said.
The building's interior is stabilized but somewhat unrefined, retaining visual aspects of its history. As such the space amplifies the artist's ongoing exploration of the relationship between waking life and memories.
The number of visitors will be limited to 15 at a time. "We want to allow people the experience of discovering it," Mr. Olijnyk said.
In anticipation of lines over this busy arts weekend (when a swell of out-of-towners are expected for the Carnegie International opening), the museum will have extended hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday through Sunday.
Mattress Factory has also scheduled weekend performances by artists in its two concurrent exhibitions:
Russ Orlando, exhibiting in "Detroit: Artists in Residence," will enact works that examine the origins and current state of his native Detroit. He will perform "Saddle and Sacrifice" from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and "Tending Tomorrow" from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Janine Antoni and Stephen Petronio Company will present "Trevor" at 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday in the Mattress Factory 1414 Monterey Street Gallery, the location of her three-floor installation "Within." Reservations are required. The performance work is an excerpt from a larger piece, "Like Lazarus Did," which was inspired by gestures made by a fetus in womb seen via sonogram, set to a lullaby and performed within a honey-filled environment. A collaboration of artist Antoni and choreographer Petrino, "Trevor" will be performed here by Nick Sciscione. Ms. Antoni and Mr. Petrino also collaborated on the video work "Honey Baby" showing at 1414 Monterey.
Finally, visitors will have the opportunity to preview the museum's 35th anniversary auction, to be held Oct. 10 (tickets $75, members $65). Artworks donated by established and emerging artists who have exhibited at the museum are displayed in the lobby.
"Trace" continues through May 31, "Within" through March 30, and "Detroit" through May 25. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $15; seniors and students, $10; children under 6 and members, free; half-price admission Tuesdays. Information: 412-231-3169 or www.mattress.org.
The 2013 Carnegie International opening receptions will be held Friday followed by an event-filled debut weekend. For a full schedule, visit www.post-gazette.com.
Post-Gazette art critic Mary Thomas: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1925.