Greer Lankton, "It's All About ME, Not You"
I've wanted to post about these great places since my boyfriend and I visited this past May. But as some of you may remember, my computer's power supply spontaneously combusted, leaving me without pictures and with a bad case of The Bitch. (Seriously, I was not a nice person for a few months there...) Now that I have everything back, I can write about two of the Pittsburgh art spots I LOVE to recommend: The Mattress Factory and the Warhol Museum, both nestled in the North Side. We squeezed both museums in to a 6-hour time frame, but you could easily spend a whole day in each.
The Silver Cloud Room in the Warhol...yes, I was bad.
Let's get this out of the way: you're not allowed to take pictures in the Warhol Museum. I was bad and I took this one in the Silver Cloud Room--you can tell that Kirby does not approve. In fact, he refuses to post the picture on Facebook, because "rules are rules." But I know I'm not the only person who has snuck a photo, because there are pictures all over TripAdvisor.
This is the only picture I've ever taken in the Warhol, and it's the only picture I ever WILL take. This picture alone should be enough to encourage any doubters and Warhol naysayers to consider taking the trip...I know I was a naysayer until I really took a look at more of his work in this museum. I became a fan after walking through the Warhol. (I could've stayed in the Velvet Underground video space, for example, for well over an hour. Doesn't me saying that get you curious?!) So dear Warhol museum, please don't ban me--I did it for the greater good!
Fair warning: there are other relatively strict rules in this museum, the bathrooms are all located on one floor, and at $20 a head, it's not exactly cheap. But it's absolutely worth the Jackson, especially if you have a student ID or visit late on Friday for half-price admission. There are also demonstrations and special programs available from time to time, like time capsule openings.
Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller, "Diptyching"
Now for a place that DOES allow photos, and plenty of them: The Mattress Factory! It can be a bit tricky to find this place, seeing as it's tucked back in a residential area. But once you stumble on it, you can't miss it: there are some pretty interesting sculptures outside.
Scott Hocking, "Coronal Mass Ejection"
If you aren't in to modern art or installation pieces, the Mattress Factory might not be your thing. And to be totally honest, I don't think it's the best place to go if you want to change your mind about modern art; it might be better to go to MoMA in New York, which is much larger. But the new exhibitions are always interesting. I'm still bummed that I didn't get to see the Chiharu Shiota "Trace of Memory" exhibition. (It was located in a satellite gallery, and we couldn't walk over there because of a major storm.)
Yayoi Kusama, "Infinity Dots Mirrored Room"
The Mattress Factory is also home to two of my all-time favorite pieces of art: the late Greer Lankton's "It's All About ME, Not You," and Yayoi Kusama's "Infinity Dots Mirrored Room" (which was also a personal favorite of Kirby's). I could make a yearly pilgrimage to this museum and never tire of those incredible works. One day, I'm going to visit the Mattress Factory, sit in the corner at these exhibits, and write until my fingers hurt. They are that inspiring to me.
The Mattress Factory is quite affordable: $15 for adults seems a bit steep for a small gallery, but there are plenty of discounts, and Kirby and I got in for a steal on a half-priced day. (It might've been Tuesday?)