Not long after the Mattress Factory opened in 1977, it set out to provide an experimental lab featuring site-specific installations created by artists in residence from around the world. Now local documentarian David Bernabo will help mark the 40th anniversary of the contemporary art museum with the film Site-Specific: A History Of The Mattress Factory.
Through a mix of stories and anecdotes, archival installation footage, and interviews with artists and razor-sharp co-directors Barbara Luderowski and Michael Olijnyk, Site-Specific: A History of the Mattress Factory presents an in-depth look at one of the first site-specific museums in the United States. Starting as a quirky, anything goes food co-op and artist studio space, the museum created a program of artist residencies in 1982 to focus on site-specific installation art and they never looked back.
The film parallels the installation of the museum’s 40th-anniversary exhibition with an in-depth, story-driven journey through the museum’s long history of exhibiting site-specific art. Through interviews with artists such as Ann Hamilton, Sarah Oppenheimer, Vanessa German, and Dennis Maher, the film provides an intimate, sometimes humorous, look at the indirect path a museum takes as it creates its identity.
By mining the museum’s extensive tape and video archive, the film unearths rare archival installation footage of James Turrell, Yayoi Kusama, Meg Webster, and David Ellis. Detailed discussions provide the history and context for John Cage’s changing installation, Allan Wexler’s Bed Sitting Rooms for an Artist in Residence, and Dennis Maher’s three-story installation A Second Home, among other works. [Synopsis courtesy of David Bernabo]
Site-Specific: A History of the Mattress Factory will premiere on May 3 at the Mattress Factory. A second screening public will take place on May 10 at the Melwood Screening Room. Tickets are free for the Mattress Factory screening and $8 for the Melwood event.
Nearly six months after hosting a sneak preview at Ace Hotel, filmmaker and co-founder of The Glassblock David Bernabo will unveil his work Food Systems, Chapter 3: The Ecosystem. The final installment of a three-part documentary series will premiere on May 10th at Row House Cinema.
The Ecosystem shows the challenges of farming in and around Western PA from climate change to fracking to strip mining and skyrocketing land prices to monocultures and their impact on diet and food pricing. The film looks at cheese making with Lori Sollenberger at Hidden Hills Dairy, the life cycle of farmed trout at Laurel Hill Trout, the history of Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance, and Legume‘s legacy of local meat.
The film also features various area farms, as well as businesses such as Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream and Hop Farm Brewing Company, Bill Fuller of Big Burrito, Alice Julier and Nadine Lehrer of the Chatham University Food Studies program, and local food writer Hal B. Klein.
The Food Systems, Chapter 3: The Ecosystem premiere will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $12 and are available for purchase online.
Recently, filmmaker and multi-hyphenate David Bernabo and Eat That, Read This creator Adam Shuck launched a Kickstarter campaign for The Glassblock, “a forthcoming web magazine of Pittsburgh that aims to inform, entertain, and showcase the breadth of cultural work taking place in our city.” On December 15th, the collaborators will raise awareness about their project with a movie-related fundraising event at the newly opened Ace Hotel Pittsburgh.
The event will focus around a half-hour sneak preview of the feature-length film, Food Systems, Chapter 3: The Ecosystem, the latest installment in Bernabo’s acclaimed documentary series about Pittsburgh’s relationship to food as a marker of cultural identity and change, as a sensory, celebratory experience, and as part of a larger system of regional economy and environment. Using interviews and stop-motion animation, the follow-up to Dinner on the Farm and A Night Out explores the concept of the city’s regional “food system” as told through the life of a local farmer, touching on issues of food access and environmental considerations.
The evening will also include a post-screening panel discussion, and the option for a prix-fixe three-course dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Whitfield. The panel will cover issues of regional food production and distribution with local experts such as Chatham University associate professor and Food Studies program director, Alice Julier, food writer, Leah Lizarondo, chef and e2 owner, Kate Romane, One Woman Farm founder, Margaret Schlass, and Ace Hotel Pittsburgh executive chef, Bethany Zozula. Ticketholders can also purchase Whitfield-crafted movie snacks and participate in a raffle for a free one-night stay at the hotel.
The Food Systems, Chapter 3: The Ecosystem preview screening will take place at 7 p.m. in the hotel’s ballroom, followed by the discussion panel. Tickets are $10 general admission or $65 for a Dinner and a Movie ticket, which includes the three-course meal, with reservations available either before the program at 5:30 p.m. or afterwards at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase at The Glassblock website. All proceeds go toward the fundraising campaign for The Glassblock. The Kickstarter campaign will continue through December 16th.
Over the past decade, musician/artist David Bernabo has immersed himself in Pittsburgh’s music, art, and dance scenes, but it wasn’t until recently that he decided to branch out into film and video. He channeled his knowledge of the city’s arts and cultural community through his debut documentary Ongoing Box: A Film about Process with Pittsburgh Artists, which looks at a number of local creatives and their craft. On August 14th, the work will make its Pittsburgh premiere at Melwood Screening Room.
Ongoing Box investigates the role of process in the arts. Conceptual artist Lenka Clayton creates new works in her Artist Residency in Motherhood series, while movement theater artist Mark C. Thompson works with miming and sculptural movement for a piece on predation. Blaine Siegel works across mediums to develop new diamond-shaped paintings, a dance installation with partner Jil Stifel, and a large video work. The definition of ‘artist’ is also expanded to include Kevin Sousa, chef and owner of Union Pig and Chicken, Superior Motors, and formerly Salt of the Earth, as he forages the formerly steel-infused neighborhood of Braddock, PA for wild edibles. Through studio works-in-progress, performance, interview, and filmed experiments with smoke/motors/ice, the film documents a cultural landscape that revels in new collaborations, new work, and a strangely freeing lack of commercial expectation. Other participants include choreographer Maree ReMalia, documented as she prepares the evening length piece The Ubiquitous Mass of Us, painter Stephanie Armbruster working on new encaustic paintings, photographer Garret Jones as he begins documenting Pittsburgh in portrait, and luthier Raymond Morin (of Pairdown) as he and Adam Rousseau build a handful of guitars from scratch.
Ongoing Box begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8. The documentary will also screen later this year as part of the afronaut(a): 2.0 film series.
On Jan. 4th, Healthy Artists will kick off their month-long juried Movie Poster Exhibition at Modern Formations Gallery during the Unblurred Art Crawl. The arts/social justice event seeks to bridge the gap between Pittsburgh’s artists, college students, healthcare advocates, and educators.
Led by Pittsburgh filmmaker Julie Sokolow, Healthy Artists is a digital venue speaking out against the injustices of the country’s current broken healthcare system through an ongoing documentary series focused on individual Pittsburgh artists discussing their current lifestyles, creative work, and frustrations and struggles with healthcare. Inspired by a love of classic movie posters and Criterion Collection DVDs, the organization mobilized 15 local professional artists and five student artists to design a movie-style poster around the series. Featured professional artists in the exhibit include Crystala Armagost, Stephanie Armbruster, David Bernabo, Seth Clark, Doug Dean, Corey Escoto, Jenn Gooch, Mundania Horvath, Jasen Lex, Steph Neary, Jim Rugg, Andy Scott, Lizzee Solomon, Laurie Trok, and Hyla Willis. The student artists are Megan Kopke, Jing Liu, Jeremy Marshall, Ben Quint-Glick, and Abby Ryder.
Presented in collaboration with Be Well! Pittsburgh (Health Care Options for the Uninsured) and the University of Pittsburgh’s Original Magazine, the opening night event runs from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. Guests can enjoy free food, drink, and music from the Harlan Twins. Health care advocates and educators, representing organizations such as Health Care 4 All PA and The Thomas Merton Center, will also be on hand to speak to young people and artists – two demographics heavily affected by the health care crisis – and Health Care 4 All PA will announce the release of their economic impact study demonstrating how single-payer would benefit the Pennsylvania economy as well as offer affordable, quality health care to all Pennsylvanians. In addition, the top three winners of the exhibition will be announced and awarded cash prizes, and the first place design will become the official representation of the Healthy Artists documentary series. The exhibition runs from Jan. 4th to the 25th.