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Posted inArt

An Implied Critique of Sound Bite Society

Rackstraw Downes doesn’t seem like a radical. He is an understated Englishman who paints understated American landscapes. But when you think about how much of modern and contemporary art relies on juxtaposition or exaggeration for effects, Downes’s approach begins to seem downright revolutionary. “My idea is to paint the real nature of the world, which is always a complex mixture of things,” he told a packed auditorium at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, during a talk last month.

Posted inArt

Pittsburgh: The Great Deceiver (Part One)

On April 29, 1974, the prog rock masters King Crimson played a famously furious gig at the Stanley Warner theatre in Pittsburgh, later immortalized as part of the band’s towering 4-disc live set, The Great Deceiver. In 1974, the steel industry was wheezing its way out of town, and the city was careening toward a difficult decade filled with a shifting economy and populace. The malleability of the Crimson dinosaur was exactly what the city was going to need to recover. And they have, thanks to the medical and tech industries (And ROBOTS!).

In the 70’s, out of the ashes and soot of the crumble came something extraordinary for the art world. In 1977, Barbara Luderowski founded The Mattress Factory, an installation space that is the highlight and anchor of every visit I make to the city. Yet, too many people I know still think of Pittsburgh as it was in the famous painting by Aaron Henry Gorson pictured here. Let’s work on that. Starting with the fact that a visit to the ‘Burgh is almost always a galvanizing one.

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