Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh’

Richard’s Bar, Pittsburgh. The Housewarming Performance feat. Yamasuki

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

On Friday February 3, 2012, we met at 9 p.m. to celebrate the opening of Richard’s Bar at 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA. We entered the freezing and badly lighted bar where Swiss artist Tobias Madison taught us the five movements as listed on the backside of the LP Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki (coll. John Paul MacDuffie Woodburn), an album described by Discdogs as follows: “The 1971 concept album was the brainchild of French pop composers Jean Kluger and Daniel Vangarde, who learnt Japanese before recording began and even enlisted the aid of a renowned black-belt Judo master to introduce the tracks, which were all sung in Japanese by a school choir. The result is theatrical, epic, freaky and exotic pseudo-Japanese pop that absolutely defies categorization.”

The performance that followed defied categorization as well. Due to lack of space, we had to go outside onto the bar’s vast terrace. There, we followed the movements / indications for a five-part performance as printed on the back of the LP Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki. Written in French, we translated it into English thanks to an Internet translator (which added some unexpected words and sense to the instructions, producing even more “de-categorization”):

the YAMASUKI is a sequence of attitudes and gestures that express the $ ·
of. Ia life. Is changed. position to each sound.

major themes

clasped hands, ((n in prayer, we look forward slowly year
(photo 1), one recovers, we turn to his right
then left 0 (Jand I are Chmura, begin to sing, it starts
not place a sill). ilar to that Ia ~ e samba. (phot ~ 2)

JOY ·:
· and legs spread arms are swinging it right and turn
gauehe emphasizing one of mouvenlent. appears on the legs.
(photo 3)

Rapla arms around the face. (photo 4)

arms perform graceful movements of oriental style.
Preparati9n: legs apart, hands on thighs, jump

Attack: Taking the positions of karate (photo 5) shouting
“C • aa ooh n.

Hara Kiri: you push the cry of the Kwai •
We start with THE SALVATION. JOY. and so on.

Richard’s Bar will open again, we will let you know!

The Satires of David Gilmour Blythe

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

David Gilmour Blythe, Post Office, 1859–1863. Collection of Carnegie Museum of Art

One of my favorite rooms at the museum is the small regionalist gallery amid the Fine Arts collection in the Scaife wing, Gallery 3 on the museum’s second floor. On the left-hand wall when you enter the gallery hangs a selection of the museum’s holdings of the work of the American satirist painter, David Gilmore Blythe. I knew about Blythe from my nineteenth-century American art history classes—he was part of the same generation as Daumier and Hogarth, yet he was likely unaware of his European brothers. Blythe, born in East Liverpool, Ohio, started his career in Pittsburgh first as a carpenter and then as an itinerant painter, at one time also based in Uniontown. Sometime around 1852, after the death of his young wife and his father, and the failure of a moving panorama entertainment project that drained his savings, Blythe started to make small vignettes in the style and subject of then popular genre paintings, but with a satirical bite. His goal was to highlight the social injustices he saw rampant in Civil War-era America. Businessmen and judges appear in his paintings with some frequency, often as grotesque fat and greedy men. Young street urchins dressed in dirty rags lurk amid the urban squalor that Blythe witnessed firsthand in a rapidly industrializing urban center like Pittsburgh, then still struggling with rampant poverty.

The Post Office offered an especially lively mix of clientele, once sending letters was made more affordable. Thankfully for Pittsburgh, it was in this climate of social turmoil that Andrew Carnegie’s interest in philanthropy and public libraries would develop late in the century and leave a lasting mark on the culture of this city today. For Blythe, however, in the 1850s and 1860s, sinful and deviant behavior stood hazardously in the way of American ideals of religious and political liberty. Learn more about the Carnegie’s collection of Blythe’s work.