A Day of Immersive Art on Pittsburgh’s North Side

Paths to the Park, Pittsburgh

I finally got to head back to Pittsburgh for a second visit and I arived in the city on the brink of summer. Everything in lush and green, the sun is out and my allergies are making my nose run and eyes itch.

Like my last trip, I’ve had a good amount of time to wander about on my own, so I decided to check out some of the sights I missed on my last brief trip. Friday, I took a nice walk to the North Side and headed to the Mattress Factory, a museum down an alley that specializes in large-scale installations from contemporary artists.

There was an inyeresting wood sculpture exhibit by Thaddeus Mosley that made me feel like I was walking through a semiurban forest of undulating yet stoic tress.

There was another exhibit almost entirely in the dark by James Turrell that played on perceptions of light, shape and space with a floating red projected cube that you realize is just a corner in a room, and a flat purple rectangle that you come to realize is an entire room lit up and shown through a frame. It was creepy walking around in the dark by myself, especially listening to the creaky footsteps from the floor above and other building noises, but it was also interesting and immersive.

Infinity Dots Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama

Infinity Dots Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama

Another near exhibit was two mirrored polka-dotted rooms designed by Yayoi Kusama that I walked through with my shoes off.

Mattress Factory Slideshow

While at the museum I saw information on a new interacive art project, Paths to the Park, which paired North Side students with people at locals arts and community organizations and had them walk to the park in West Commons wearing chalk shoes to show their trail. The walk was going on that evening, so I went to check out the event and watched people coming into the parks leaving neon green trails, talked to some people involved with the project and even tried on the chalk shoes. They were harder to walk in than I thought they would be. (Paths to the Park Flickr Gallery)

Chalk Shoes for Paths to the Park

Chalk Shoes for Paths to the Park

Since I had some time before Paths to the Park started, I also stopped by the National Aviary where I saw a bunch of birds, including 2 of the biggest in the world — Andean Condors — as well as cute little penguins, rambunctious flamingos and some pretty parrots. I got there too late to catch any of the day’s shows, though, so there wasn’t quite as much to do as I’d hoped. (National Aviary Flickr Gallery)

A bird at the National Aviary

A bird at the National Aviary

When I finally headed home, I got to walk by PNC Field where the Pirates were playing. I fought foot traffic on the bridge from downtown as the only one walking away from the game. Next week, when I’m back in town, we’re going to see about getting tickets to a game.

6th Street Bridge by PNC Field

6th Street Bridge by PNC Field

Check out more Pittsburgh photos on Flickr and Facebook


2 Responses to “A Day of Immersive Art on Pittsburgh’s North Side”

  1. Laura says:

    We have a Turrell Skyspace where I work (he’s an alum). It’s the only public one in CA. You sit under a square canopy with a square hole cut out of the middle. As the sun goes down, lights on the canopy slowly changes color, which makes the cut out (where you can see the sky) also change colors. You should come down some evening to take it in, and we could have dinner after. :)

  2. Francine says:

    Very cool! I would love to come over and check it out :)

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