This past weekend, I had the opportunity to explore Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory Museum for the first time. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and, boy, did it end up turning into an interesting experience! A few pieces really stood out to me, and I’m glad I got to witness them in person.
I never thought I’d be staring at dirt dancing in a flower pot until this trip! “Ash” is a piece that comes to us by an artist named Rolf Julius. Anyone talented enough to get people to stand for minutes at a time watching dancing dirt gets a round of applause from me. He recorded ordinary, random sounds like birds, radiators, and crickets, and patched them into a collage of sound. The music plays from speakers inside the flower pot, causing the orange ash on top to dance.
The second piece that stood out to me was titled “Danae” by James Turrell. I walked into a dark, white-walled room and saw people staring at what I thought was a blue projector screen. I tiptoed towards the blue screen thinking something was going to pop out, like in a scary movie, but nothing did. I went to touch the screen, and – this is where it got interesting – there was no screen! Just an illusion manipulated by lights and the perception of the eye.
The third is called “A Second Home” by Dennis Maher. This piece transformed the Mattress Factory row house into a mysterious, creepy display of art. Maher created the interior design by filling it with construction materials, furnishings, toys, architectural models, video projections, and audio elements all mashed together. This one was interesting but disturbing in many ways. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies, so that’s all I could think of as I walked through this exhibition!
If you’re looking for some interesting and unexpected artworks to check out, you can’t go wrong with the Mattress Factory!