Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Giovanni Battista Piranesi:
Architecture and the Spaces of the Imagination

Through Feb. 15, 2009
Scaife Works on Paper gallery

In his stunning series of prints called Imaginary Prisons, 18th-century Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi created haunting, expressive, and entirely fantastical architectural scenes. The large-scale etchings and engravings—with their cavernous, gloomy chambers and labyrinthine corridors and staircases filled with unreal machines, enormous chains, and contorted prisoners—allow for an investigation of the line between architectural observation and the imagination. Prints from Piranesi’s series Views of Rome likewise demonstrate his tremendous skill at rendering perspective and creating complex compositional environments. Even in views of known locations in Rome, Piranesi frequently elaborated, exaggerated, and added imaginary devices or dramatic figural vignettes. Additional works by Piranesi and by his contemporaries and followers reveal the broad context of his career and his legacy. A selection of dramatic photographs by Clyde Hare of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County Courthouse, designed by renowned architect Henry Hobson Richardson, offer a striking parallel to Piranesi’s fantastic designs. It is just one local example of Piranesi’s continued relevance to a wide range of artists and practicing architects through the generations.
General support for the museum’s exhibition program is provided by The Heinz Endowments, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Allegheny Regional Asset District.


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Christ



Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller: Opera for a Small Room
Opens Mar. 14, 2009
Heinz Gallery A

Opera for a Small Room, a collaboration between Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, introduces visitors to the quirky world of a man named R. Dennehy, the owner of a collection of opera records that the artists purchased at a second-hand store in British Columbia, Canada. The installation, which Cardiff and Miller describe as “a small room for the opera of Dennehy’s life,” features a structure filled with records, lights, and other knickknacks. Visitors can peer into the ramshackle room through holes in the walls, but are not able to enter it. Music pouring out of 24 antique loud speakers permeates the gallery, echoed by the rhythm of pulsating lights. The music, record players, and lights become the “actors” in this theatrical and durational work that conveys a dramatic and individual narrative portrait.
General support for the museum’s exhibition program is provided by The Heinz Endowments, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Allegheny Regional Asset District.
Major support for Opera for a Small Room is provided by Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation. General support for the museum's exhibition program is provided by The Heinz Endowments, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Allegheny Regional Asset District.

external image cardiff3.jpg


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