I’ve been bad about blogging the last couple of weeks. (I’ve even been to 2 museums for class and never got around to slapping a string of photos together for you all. FYI-the Capitol Visitors Center is worth a visit and it’s free and you get to learn even more about O. Henry.) This is mostly because I have been exhausted and crazed with grad school stuff, so my sort of random decision over the summer to attend a museum studies symposium on time sensitive art in Pittsburgh couldn’t have come a better time. Especially because my mom agreed to drive 7 hours straight to come explore the city with me.
The conference itself was interesting and inspiring (and intimidating), but I’m not going to bore you all with the details. But it was held at the Carnegie Museum of Art, which shares a complex with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, which is gorgeous:
Which reminded both my mom and I of the Art Institute in Chicago. In fact, a lot of the architecture in Pittsburgh reminded me of Chicago. Though some of it reminded me a lot of Troy, NY (where I went to high school), and the cluster of colleges reminded me a lot of Boston. Basically I would sum up Pittsburgh as a hybrid, Midwest/Northeastern city. It had a combination of industry (and remnants of past industry) and whimsy:
This is the Carnegie Museum of Art, complete with public art sculpture children can actually play on (something more places should institute I think):
Mom’s first night in town we stayed near Carnegie Mellon and went to The Union Grill, which was a cute little pub, where she asked the waitress for a local specialty, she recommended a “Pittsburgh Salad”
The next day we had pretty much one mission – to go to the Andy Warhol Museum, but because we wanted to see the sights (and we are both avid urban hikers, though she usually just calls it ‘walking’) we decided to go on foot. And, well Google Maps steered us a little off course:
But we definitely got to see the city, and prove how bad we are taking selfies:
Then we finally made it downtown and to the Warhol, which was absolutely worth the trek. You can’t take pictures in the exhibits, but they were wonderfully engaging and informative. The museum as a whole is a mix of a historical museum about Andy Warhol’s life and artistic process and an exhibit of his work.
I don’t think I realized until I was walking through it how hard it actually is to put Warhol’s work on display, the prints and illustrations are straightforward enough (and really beautiful. My mom had a great insight that you could tell which of his subjects he really liked/loved and which ones he was doing for the commission/cultural cache of it, there was something about the eyes. – This became a really fun game to play as we walked through.), but the performance art and films are trickier. How do you recreate an “Exploding Plastic Inevitable?” (The Warhol Museum’s answer? Play The Velvet Underground loud in a room wallpapered with Warhol films and and a disco ball, it may even have worked if my mom and I and one other confused woman weren’t the only people in the room.)
One of the highlights of the museum for me, was the chance to sit for my very own Screen Test. (Basically you sit in front of a camera for 3ish minutes, you can learn more about the original work here.) Here’s mine:
Basically what I learned from the experience is, one, I move my lips a lot, two, 3 minutes is a long time to sit in front of a bright light, and three, even when trying to sit still I will laugh at a small child making faces at me. (Mom did one too, but I’m going to let her decide who she shares it with, though I’m really glad to have a copy of it.) And if you ever make it to the Warhol (which seriously, go, even if you think you’re not into his art, it’s just a lot of fun) you might see me projected in the lobby!!
Then we went on another ill advised hike through a less picturesque section of town. I won’t go into the details, because I don’t want to start a fight with my mother on the internet, but at the end, we found The Porch, where we had the best tasting corn bread I’ve had in a long time:
The next day, on my friend Alina’s Instagram reccommendation we went for pancakes at Pamela’s, which were delicious, and the place was very cute:
Then my mom had to leave to drive back to Connecticut (thanks again for driving out to see me!) and I walked around a bit more soaking in the crisp fall air. I had a bit of a hectic flying journey back (there’s always one leg of every trip that goes haywire right?) But I’m trying to hang on to this beauty in my mind to get me through this week: