Archive for the ‘Finds’ Category

“Everything except salt air and a beach.”

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Did you know that the world’s first Ferris Wheel was invented and built by a Pittsburgher in 1893?

Walking by Caliban Books the other day I spotted this little gem in the window: PittburGraphics: Graphic Studies in Paragraphs and Pictures Pertaining to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Samuel R. Ohler. Published in 1983, this book is packed with fascinating (if a bit outdated) tid-bits of information about our Steel City, including a history of Pittsburgh’s inclines, tunnels, and bridges, as well as its Greatest Tragedies, Worst Floods, and the mysterious “Underground River.” Also covered are exciting topics such as “Fighting Ships Named USS Pittsburgh” and “Living Downtown” in the city Ohler describes as having “everything but salt air and a beach.” This book is so full of PGH-pride that the cover features a typeface called “Pittsburgh Black,” first manufactured in PGH in the early 1900s.

See the gallery below to peek between the covers. There is even a little lesson in Pittsburguese!

Heppenstall is found!

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

heppenstall sign 2

On June 7th Daniel Baumann posted on the mysterious disappearance of the Heppenstall sign near the Lawrenceville apartment. I am pleased to report that this weekend, on a trip to Carrie Furnace with visiting artist Zoe Strauss (more on Zoe’s visit soon!), Dan Byers and I happened upon the dismantled remains of ol’ Heppie. Nestled in the dusty corner of an old Steel Work’s engine house seems the perfect resting place for this venerable marker of industry. Certainly, much better than the Wall Street bar Daniel had predicted.

heppenstall sign 3

The Bayernhof or Little Bavaria, Pittsburgh, PA

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Have 3 free hours and $10 to burn in Pittsburgh on a Saturday? You could easily put down 6.67 drafts of cheap beer and while away the hours in a dark smoky dive bar. But here, I give you a far superior alternative, one that is possibly just as cave-like and trippy: the Bayernhof Museum. Perched on a hill overlooking the Allegheny River sits a beautifully elaborate and, at times, awkward mansion built to house one of the largest privately owned collections of antique mechanical musical instruments. Outside the main entrance, an ominous sign greets visitors: if you arrive early, kindly wait in your car until the tour begins. On the dot, the door creaks open and you think you’ve entered the Neuschwanstein Castle—if the Bavarian kingdom abutted the era of 1980s home entertainment technology. Each room of the Bayernhof houses a different enchanting machine for listening: nickelodeon player pianos, nickel-operated Wurlitzer organs, harps and banjos, phonographs, an enormous pipe organ orchestra made for silent films, even a dainty singing bird cage. The tour, led by the museum’s curator, takes a circuitous path from room to room of German kitsch, beer steins, and Hummel figurines, past the 18 stocked bars of the house, a shower with over 10 shower heads, an observatory, down a small hidden staircase into a subterranean lair through a cool, dark wine grotto that leads to a large pool room littered with colorful, rustic wallpaper murals and faux flower arrangements. There is even a purple felt billiards table along the way, but alas, I’ve already said too much. Advanced reservations recommended, no nickels required. In one final word: magical.


Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Back in 1982, over in Switzerland, we got into rap and were constantly searching for new releases. One of the important series was Street Sounds Electro 1–22, with the outstanding no. 2 that included “Beat Bop” by Rammellzee versus K-Rob. Rap was part-party, part-pushy (and who remembers the short-lived Washington Go Go?), but “Beat Bop” wasn’t. It was a slow and lazy 10-minute piece (listen below) and we loved it for this.

In the mid-1980s, I visited Rome with my father and we happened to walk by Piazza di Spagna where we suddenly saw a big crowd. It was a public fashion show by Valentino and all flashes were directed on the Italian actor Gina Lollobrigida. But the really important thing (at least to me) followed once the show started: Rammellzee came on stage and did the live music. Later on I found out that Basquiat had done the sleeve for the 45 rpm release (see images below). And only many years later, when researching Rammellzee on the net I found his site, Gothic Futurism, with a mind-boggling text on “Ikonoklast Letters Racerism” and the Letter Racers. I always wanted to see them and finally did, last week, at The Suzanne Geiss Company (until April 21). The show is great, although suffering from Rammellzee’s absence (he died in 2010), but it included an amazing drawing from 1979 (see a detail above). And MoMA (I can’t believe that they did) included his work in Print/Out (until May 14). So Christophe, are you going to add Rammellzee’s work to MoMA’s collection? Can you go that far?

Who is Hisachika Takahashi?

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Hisachika Takahashi

I need your help. I ran through the catalog Aspects de l’art actuel, Paris Festival d’Automne (1973) and saw this spread by Hisachika Takahashi (b. 1940). Not much information about him online. He worked with Lucio Fontana on a really great Concetto Spaziale painting in 1966, he collaborated with Robert Rauschenberg for a show in Israel and was his assistant, and he is mentioned within the context of New York’s alternative art space 112 Workshop and was in a group show at White Columns in 1972. The most complete entry I found is this. Takahashi seemed to have cooked at Gordon Matta-Clark’s Food restaurant in the 1970s, so is the artist the same as the chef? Do you know more? Thanks!


I just found these few pages out of a catalog that I wanted to share. And thanks to Jeff from White Columns for this link, check it out!

Hisachika Takahashi, 15.05 – 30.05.2013
Presenting most of the originally-exhibited paintings for the first time in 45 years, this is a re-creation of the solo exhibition by Japanese artist Hisachika Takahashi (b. 1940) which was held at Wide White Space, Antwerp in 1967. A project by artist in residency Yuki Okumura