Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Steeler Country - Pittsburgh and Beyond to Fallingwater

Last week we went to Pittsburgh to visit some schools. While there we explored the City and beyond. Note, Steelers fans are everywhere.

On the Pitt campus, the Cathedral of Learning. It is the 2nd tallest educational building in
the world; 42 stories and 535 feet high. 

Here are some of our highlights:

The Andy Warhol Museum.

There is a fabulous temporary exhibit on Marilyn Monroe - photographs and other works of art, not necessarily created by Mr. Warhol. My favorite photos were the shots taken by Bruno Bernard. I think the exhibit goes thru January 2, 2011.

The museum has 6 floors of exhibition space - there is so much to see. The giant screens showing clips of Andy Warhol's many movies kind of creeped us out. I did love the exhibit of Warhol's TV shows from the 1980s - clips with familiar faces from pop culture; Halston, Brooke Shields, Donna Karan, Daniel Patrick Monaghan to name a few. There are also old "family" movies, i.e., JFK Jr. playing as a kid on a NY beach. We loved the interactive exhibition in a room filled with helium (I think) pillows (Silver Clouds) and we found Warhol's abstract Oxidation Series paintings extra startling up close; especially when you learn he used urination on paint as the method for oxidation (yes,really! and they are often referred to as Piss Paintings ).

Andy Warhol grew up on Orr Street in Pittsburgh. I like that little fact (for obvious reasons). I did not realize that Warhol began his career in NYC as an illustrator with Glamour. It is fun to see his work from that time. I think it would be fair to say Warhol definitely learned the art of branding and consumer culture quite well.

Aptly named, "Walking to the Sky", the Jonathan Borofsky sculpture located on the Carnegie Melon campus was a lot of fun too - see below.

(Both Andy Warhol and Jonathan Borofsky are Carnegie Melon grads.)

Walking to the Sky
There are so many bridges in Pittsburgh - can you name the 3 rivers surrounding the City?

Best Meal - The Sonoma Grille. Casual and lively on a Saturday night. Fit for foodies, right up my alley with organic and fresh ingredients and a seasonal menu. I love the tasting menu and the wine list. We had the crab meat and avocado tian, the char duck and the fillet. All fabulous! Thanks Allen for the recommendation.

About an hour and a half outside of Pittsburgh -  a visit to Fallingwater, the residence designed by America's most famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Organic and harmonious with its surroundings, it is an obviously masterpiece. Fallingwater was built during the Depression, using local labor and local materials. Walking through the one time mountain retreat of the Kaufman Family of Pittsburgh (they owned Kaufman Department Stores - very interesting history of this stylish and charitable family for those who are interested) it is easy to feel connected to the natural surroundings; the home sits atop a waterfall and amongst the trees. It is now a National Historic Landmark. (FYI - they do rent out for dinner parties!)

Love this terrace and the Buddha head

If it were only this easy!

Oh, and while we were walking around Pittsburgh Sunday morning (at 9:15am), a man interrupted our discussion to point and  tell us "the Stadium (football) is that way". He thought he was being helpful to get us to the venue in time for pre-game breakfast tailgating -  we were really just looking for a Starbucks.

Inspiration - Steelers' colors black and gold make an elegant and classic statement for a holiday party invitation.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Exploding Vegetables!

Martin Klimas, a German artist, sends a projectiles into vegetables and the result is explosive! To see more of Klimas' exploding veggies and fruits (a statement about "our" growing interest away from junk and toward health foods), please visit Feature Shoot where I had my first taste of his work. (Sorry, that was really bad!)

And, however tempting this might be, I wouldn't recommend using projectiles at the dinner table.