Monday, December 3, 2007
Alumni Show at Art Institute
The gallery at the Art Institute (located on the Boulevard of the Allies) is a comfortable, innovative space well suited for a group show. The current Alumni Show, curated by Dave DiBella, offers pieces which range from the familiar and comfortable to the new and innovative. As with most every group show, one finds the traditional painting, drawing and photography ; hanging by their side are commercially printed pieces, book designs and video games. Much of this can be credited to DiBella, the Alumni Coordinator, who has managed to secure and display important works from Pittsburgh’s often-overlooked artists.
Perhaps the most traditional pieces fall in the realm of illustration. Thomas Fluharty’s satirical political caricatures (“Hillary” and “Bushie the Kid”) have been featured in major publications such as the “Village Voice.” Ron Thurston’s several watercolors include a tribute to long-time instructor Henry Koerner. Charles A. Smith III is a relative new comer who creates portraits in a variety of media. From his Loft 9 Contemporary Art Studio on Penn Avenue Charles has immortalized heroes from Heinz Field to South Africa.
Stig Asmussen, this years featured alum, has a job to drool for–he makes video games. Considering himself “among luckiest dudes on the planet,” Asmussen has contributed several pieces he created for Sony Playstation including a limited edition action figure. Game aficionados will recognize his “God of War” and “God of War II.” Also representing the world of gaming is Miguel Lleras of 7 Studios. His atmospheric backgrounds for “Pirates of the Caribbean” are curiously ominous and romantic.
One delightful aspect of the show is the discovery of the familiar, including pieces you’ve probably seen promotingLawrenceville or the Pittsburgh Grand Prix. Seen now in a gallery setting, they take on a special significance where before they were only part of the commercial landscape. Even something as ubiquitous as a point-of-purchase display (and where but at the AI show would you see a POP) can be appreciated for its artistic quality.
The Alumni Show continues through January 12 and the gallery is open Monday through Thursday 9:00 am–8:00 pm, Fridays until 5, and Saturday until 4.