PITTSBURGH, Pa. —
Looking upward to the hall’s balcony, I spotted Nicole Eisenman’s (France now living in New York) fanciful, comedic, foreboding and apprehensive sculptures sharing the balustrade with the museum’s collection of classic plaster casts of ancient Greek and Romans statuary. The exhibit also includes 19 unorthodox, sexually charged paintings by Eisenman, winner of the 2013 International’s prestigious Carnegie Prize.
Fun, entertaining, yet full of socio-political innuendo is Rokni Haerizadeh’s (Iran now living in Dubai) "Reign of Winter," an animated video of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The artist transforms actual media footage of the royal wedding by carefully hand-painting and drawing over each image to create fantastical video clips where humans are refitted with phantasmagoric animal heads or bodies.
Along a wall leading off from the lobby, artist He An (Beijing, China) installed part of his ongoing project "What Makes Me Understand What I Know?" in which he takes neon light characters, stolen from signage in various Chinese cities, and reassembles them to form the names of his father and a favorite Japanese actress.
Just through the entrance doors to the Scaife Galleries, four, large earth-toned cubes by Lara Favaretto (Italy) explore the effect of dissolution and decay of works of art. Each made of nearly 700 pounds of compressed confetti, the cubes will gradually disintegrate over time, representing the transience of material objects, much like a Tibetan Buddhist mandala.
Exploring the crossover between art and entertainment, Taryn Simon’s (New York) “Birds of the West Indies” is an assemblage of 190 color photographs of the weapons, cars and actresses who starred in James Bond films. Each identically-sized photo is framed in black paper and mounted in a straight line across the gallery walls, creating what Kukielski calls an "unintentional film strip" format.