|Pittsburgh's Perfect for Runners|
|Carrie Furnace from the Homestead|
I ventured out to Carrie furnaces and what is left of Homestead where the steel strikes took place in 1892. As is often the case with old blast furnaces and steel mills, they were located outside of the city and weren’t easy to get to. The journey to Rankin on buses and walking through the surrounding areas gave me plenty of opportunity to observe the social results of industrial decline. The American economy may be booming, but for many of the people I encountered, there was no sign of prosperity on the horizon. I asked people sitting on their porches with broken glass in the windows and overgrown gardens for directions to the furnace that it turned out was less than a mile away. They had no idea of what I was talking about. Once there, it was wonderful to see the great things that Rivers of Steel are doing with the mines. Their activities and tours tick the obligatory boxes of both reaching out to the community as well as educating visitors on the history of mining and milling. They run art classes using the materials of Pittsburgh industry – keeping the culture and history of industry alive in the region—have open days, stage concerts, talks, and guided tours. But getting there meant confrontation with the heartbreaking reality of America.
|Warhol - in the space between abstract and figurative|
I was disappointed by the Warhol museum, perhaps because I have been spoiled by recent exhibitions at the Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. I appreciated the crowds on a Sunday afternoon, telling me that the museum was alive and well. But presumably for the interest of the crowds, the exhibition installation was of a certain genre. It was possible to appreciate his enormous creativity and his neverending curiosity, always ready to experiment in a new medium, to discover new ways of making his point. One thing that I love most about Warhol is how he was a fine artist – some of his photographs and even the paintings have a passion and ethereality that is otherwise antithetical to his renown as the don of mass cultural vision. This side of Warhol’s art is more difficult to identify in what is effectively the fun house atmosphere at the Warhol museum. The emphasis is on Warhol’s work as entertainment with interactive displays, crayons and paper for kids, an opportunity to sit before a camera and enjoy 15 minutes of fame, sit back and watch Empire and Sleep as if they are images on a museum wall, and other such activities. I missed the side of Warhol the artist that is necessarily omitted by the museum’s display.