Brittany Reilly, founder and chair of Pittsburgh Modern Committee, recommends a look at some underknown (but creatively rich) spaces and places in Pittsburgh.
Ice House Studios
100 43rd Street
Opened in early 2020, the deRoy Gruber Foundation houses its art collection, archives, and gallery tucked within the historic Ice House Studios building in Lawrenceville. Focused on the creative legacy of Pittsburgh artist Aaronel deRoy Gruber (1918-2011), the space is open by appointment for visitors wishing to explore her abstract paintings, kinetic sculptures, and vibrant screen prints created between the 1950s and ‘80s, along with historic print material related to her process and to Pittsburgh’s modern art history.
Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild
1815 Metropolitan Street
The gallery at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild is a special venue within the organization’s building designed by Pittsburgh architect Tasso Katselas, itself chock-full of a remarkable design and art collection, including George Nakashima and Carl Richard “Dingbat” Smith. Hosting exhibitions by students, faculty, and esteemed regional artists, it’s worth keeping an eye on the MCG program. A memorable 2022 exhibit showcased the recent work of Japanese-American sculptor-woodworker, Tadao Arimoto, and Pennsylvania-based ceramist Willi Singleton.
Public art throughout Pittsburgh, commissioned during the 20th to 21st centuries, and its relationship to surrounding settings and architecture is something you can go seek out or simply enjoy when you happen upon it. A few of my favorites include Sol LeWitt’s Thirteen Geometric Figures, a 1984 large-scale slate and marble composition within the Wood Street T Station; Mary Callery’s aluminum sculpture, Three Birds in Flight, suspended within the atrium of the ALCOA building completed in the early 1950s by architects Harrison & Abramovitz; or Thaddeus Mosley’s carved wood or cast-bronze monumental outdoor and indoor works, from the Hill District to East Liberty to CMU’s campus.
Discover Modern Pittsburgh
Grab a copy of 1983’s Discovering Pittsburgh’s Sculpture by Marilyn Evert (author) and Vernon Gay (photographer); check out the Pittsburgh Modern Committee’s Art & Architecture guides; or view the free PDF guides published by the Office for Public Art.
Story by Brittany Reilly