Category Archives: Carter Warren

Carter Warren: Little Information (Word Count: 300)

When presenting exhibitions, museums should generate brochures for viewers containing small biographies of the artist with description of past work. The Carnegie Museum of Art failed to produce such for an exhibition screaming for one. Cathy Wilkes amassed one of her signature sculpture/installation pieces in the lobby gallery of the Carnegie Museum, attempting to communicate human emotions linked with losing a baby or a loved one. The Carnegie Museum did provide a small description of the work upon the outside the gallery, but only when one does outside research they find the full write-up Carnegie Museum did on the exhibition.

Striking viewers with wispy male mannequins and a lonesome, zombie-like, strong female mannequin positioned towards the rear, the figures are the strongest portions of her work at the Carnegie Museum. Aesthetically, the bodies remain the most arresting pieces of the work, though smaller trinkets upon the low, child-sized tables tend to catch the eye here and there- like an eerie baby doll, half plastic-half fabric, or expressive, abstract, tiny paintings. Unfortunately, the work is about memory and loss, specifically Wilkes’s own memories. Without background knowledge of the artist, the work becomes muddled and cliché – child-drawn illustrations and sugar cookies commingling with rusty chains and maps. The unique, listless human forms Wilkes builds saves the exhibit from becoming sunken in its own over-used symbolism.

Appreciating Wilkes’s exhibition at Carnegie Museum to the fullest involves a background check of the artist and previous exhibitions. When dealing with personal memories (or losing personal memories) of a particular artist, knowing extensively where they are coming from helps the viewer understand and connect better to the work presented. Carnegie Museum did not give an adequate representation of Wilkes as an artist in-of herself to allow visitors to appreciate this exhibition to its highest potential.


Carter Warren: Global Dreamscape (Word Count: 464)

Scrutinizing and sifting through 600 entries by artists about the globe is a beast of a task, but the co-curators of the Mattress Factory Museum of Pittsburgh achieve it vivaciously. Factory Installed is a collection of site-specific instillations carried out by artists from Madrid, West Indies/England, Burma, Bolivia, Ukraine and Rio de Janeiro. By and large, Factory Installed has the feel of a forgotten, abstract, disturbing dream (or nightmare) featuring similar color palates installation to installation. I was expecting a disjointed exhibition with a weak overarching theme, but what I generally encountered was an elegant balance of works with similar vibes, enhancing each other’s purpose rather than distracting one another.

Two pieces which played off one another spectacularly were Para-Site (2011), by Madrid-born artist Pablo Valbuena, and Roadkill (2011), by Ukraine-born artist Nika Kupyrova. Both rely on heavily-regulated light, thus little light penetrates each work which isn’t controlled. Both are also beautiful and horrific in their own way – Para-Site’s beauty comes from its luminous, projected surface programmed to imitate space as well as highlight the Mattress Factory’s real-life space, while experiencing Roadkill is similar to stepping into a highly personal, eerie dream-turned-nightmare. Roadkill features a white tile floor, immaculately hospital clean with harsh, fluorescent lighting streaming from above upon lightly-desaturated objects sparsely placed upon the floor. These objects seem to talk to one another, but when you try to listen, the dialogue does not make sense.

The work which did not mesh as fluidly with the others was Than Htay Maung’s My Offering (2011). With aesthetically charming white molds of hands upon walls in classical, open-palm fashion, holding circular and delectable-looking loaves of bread, My Offering flows around the room in a loose grid pattern, creating chic geometric shapes along the way. A visitor may purchase a hand for $100. Proceeds go to feeding the hungry, which is the ongoing mission of Than Htay Maung. This is a noble mission, but not one that necessarily belongs with the other dream-like works displayed. My Offering is out of place in Factory Installed, though it does loosely deal with memory and human psyche. If this work had been presented as a work in its own I would be inclined to pleasantly receive it, but because it is displayed as a kin to the others, I cannot help but notice its conceptual loneliness.

Factory Installed is an exhibition I could roam for hours, either sitting on the floor terrified of Para-Site or cautiously exploring Roadkill. Though extracted from around the world, the site-specific installations featured at the Mattress Factory Museum mostly perform well together, each adding its own spice. The installations here are eerie, subtly disturbing or a combination of the two, thus lending this exhibition a forgotten-dream vibe, immersing the visitor completely, from room to room.


“BreadWorks Bakery Pittsburgh,” Facebook. 2011. November 21, 2011. <;.

Breadworks: The Goodness of Grains.” Cargill. 2010. November 20, 2011 <;

“Installed.” Mattress Factory Museum. 2011. November 21, 2011. <;

Kupyrova, Nika. “Nika Kupyrova.” 2011. November 20, 2011.<;

Valbuena, Pablo. “Pablo Valbuena.” 2011. November 21, 2011.<;

Carter Warren: Teenie Harris (Word Count: 588)

Few galleries make the viewer contemplate the artist’s work as a whole rather than a small collection of choice works. The Carnegie Museum of Art forces one to appreciate the amount of work done in Teenie Harris’s lifetime without completely overwhelming the visitor in the exhibition Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story. Teenie lived from 1908-1998, capturing beautiful photos almost his entire life, amassing a portfolio of over 80,000 photographs. His view of life was a unique one, for he was a black photographer for a major Pittsburgh newspaper – the Pittsburgh Courier, and chronicled many a historic moment for Pittsburgh as well as the racial struggles. The Carnegie Museum of Art curated this exhibition with historical accuracy in mind – the gallery space as a whole was informative, interesting and handsome.

Strolling through the glass doors, a matte navy wall looms before the visitor with ironic glossy type stating ‘TEENIE’. To the left of this wall is a huge black and white portrait of Teenie himself, looking adorable with crimped hair, perched next to biographical text, while on the right of the wall there is more historical background information. The entire exhibition is historically heavy, and should be, for Teenie’s work deals with events and culture of Pittsburgh. Jumpin’ jazz music lures one into the next space, a long, dark room with three projections on either wall and one upon the front wall. Each projection loop has a title explaining how the pictures were chosen for that group – i.e. ‘Style’, ‘Celebrities’ and the main wall holding ones dealing with the building of the Civic Center in downtown Pittsburgh. The documenting of the Civic Center is a theme in Teenie’s work. With Teenie’s photographs, the viewer is taught how many people were displaced and family businesses/homes were torn down in order to create this large building. People picketing for jobs outside the Center sprinkled themselves across Teenie’s work, fighting against racism in the workplace.

Peeling oneself from the conveniently placed benches centered within the darkroom, one emerges into the traditionally lit gallery space of the following two rooms. The first room holds tons of chronologically based images Teenie produced, computers flashing these same images upon their screens with information regarding each one (if there is any information). A large glass case protects hundreds of small yellow boxes where Teenie stored his film, each one with a little handwritten note by the artist – ‘Women’, ‘Old-Timers’, ‘Courier Oct-Nov’, etc. A projection in the back gallery feature voices and of people who knew Teenie, each telling their own story and describing interactions with the photographer. These galleries are well organized and well put together; one can feel the amount of work put into amassing these photographs. There are two charming bits of the gallery where visitors may put in information regarding a certain image for the museum to use by merely filling out a small form.

Teenie Harris’s work sheds light upon the culture and history of Pittsburgh where other photographers did not. Even the most mundane streets are fascinating to the current viewer now, for the roads and stores have changed with the passing of time, and the viewer is humbled by the experiences and hardships of those displaced by the massive Civic Center work. Harris documented the African-American plight, his photos starting around the late 1920’s and almost up to his dying date – 1998. Teenie’s passion oozes from every photo, his fervor pushing along the exhibition and, with a little help from pumping jazz, gets the viewer excited as well.


“Charles Teenie Harris. AKA ‘One Shot’.” Negro League Baseball Players Association. 2010. November 14, 2011. <;.

“Documenting Our Past: Teenie Harris Archive ”. Carnegie Museum of Art. 2011. November 13, 2011. <;

“Photographs from the Teenie Harris Exhibition”. Historic Pittsburgh. 2011. November 14, 2011. <;.

“Teenie Chronology.” Carnegie Museum of Art. November 13, 2011. <;.

“Teenie Harris, Photographer: An American Story.” Carnegie Museum of Art. Oct 29, 2011. November 13, 2011. <;.

Carter Warren: An Artist’s Farmers Market (Word Count: 730)

The first Friday of every month greets the Pittsburgh art-lover with a unique treat, the Unblurred Gallery Crawl. Unblurred stretches leisurely down a major Pittsburgh street, Penn Avenue, and the vibe resembles more of a beer-saturated Farmers Market than a Gallery Crawl. The Crawler may buy art from $2 and up from venues ranging from a pizzeria to a full grown gallery space. One must not go into this crawl expecting deeply conceptual work. The Crawler must view Unblurred through the eyes of a casual observer. The art found upon the trail of the Crawl is lovingly made and makes for a fine artist Farmers Market, but not all is conceptually stimulating or holding deeper meaning beyond aesthetics or functionality (though there are a few gem works/artists found scattered throughout). Communicating artistic theories, however, is not the goal of such a Crawl, while bringing together artists socially and informing the average person of local events are the goals here.

Don’t know what to get your friend who has everything for their Birthday? Head on down to Tee-Rex and pick up a bizarre little trifle. Ranging from $5-$25, these t-shirts are beautifully crafted with impeccable color choices. Silkscreened by quirky artists, these shirts hole a wide collection of humor and obscure,  old-school film references. For Unblurred, more artists were situated within the space, selling equally cheap works in the forms of jewelry and patches. A keg of coffee-tinted beer hunkered in the corner with a pathetic tip jar before it. This space is representational of Unblurred as a whole; business-oriented, driven by money, kept alive by film-savvy Hipsters and unable to keep Crawlers focused upon art with such fashion choices being presented – another reason to think of Unblurred as an average buyers market than a purely art-savvy money market.

Another few commercial spaces are several Café’s, a Yoga space and the Glass Center. The Glass Center featured many delicate, Pittsburgh-themed works done there by local artists in their exhibition “Ten X Ten X Ten”. Most of the works were used to show the public the different forms glass could take – cloudy, textured, ribbon-like, etc. as well as the prideful spirit rallying behind glasswork. There were two demonstrations going to de-mystify the art of glasswork, one for large blown glass vases and one for smaller, detail-oriented ornaments. Work here was priced from $60+. Again, the work was accessible to the average buyer. The pieces found within the Cafés were similarly priced – one could find oil paintings for a mere $30+, thus proving how Unblurred is the layman’s Art Crawl.

A small portion of Unblurred is art for art’s sake, as found in the ink exhibition by Rebecca Spitler. This work is small but captivating, showing precious scenes from her memory that were of no small significance to her. Unfortunately, Unblurred could not get away from the business-oriented side, for Spitler’s work is shown in Imagebox, a branding/marketing design company. The aura of the space was dedicated towards receiving clients and generating money from art rather than just for the art itself. This clean-shaven, design personality of the building tainted these small memories of seahorses and vast tree branches of Spitler for the viewer. A similar space holding bizarre works of Michael Patrick is found nearby. Artisan Tattoo/Gallery is an interesting world, both business-savvy and constantly artistically-inclined. The works found here are imaginative, unleashed by individuals who relish the eerie and strange. Works depicting robots vs. squid are held tight against the walls, giving a playful flavor to the tough, tattoo-saturated atmosphere. Similar to the Imagebox, this space straps art to business firmly, but unlike Imagebox, the artists found within Artisan Tattoo/Gallery seem to be able to hold their own and mesh with the overall vibe of the space.

The goal of the Unblurred Gallery Crawl is not to show profoundly deep art to Crawlers, as some other Crawls are in Pittsburgh, but to expose the public to the community-friendly side of the Pittsburgh art scene. Charming bottle-cap buttons to pin upon your clothes can be found at Tee-Rex, cheap oil paintings can be purchased alongside your meal at a local Café and previews of glass and yoga classes can be encountered easily. This Crawl is a good introduction to the art scene of Pittsburgh, but must be taken as-is and one must not expect intensely conceptual work to be around every corner.


Byerly, Richard Gott.“Pittsburgh Galleries and Links Here.” Pittsburgh Art Blog. November 5, 2011.<;

“Garfield Artworks.” Garfield Artworks. 2011. November 4, 2011. <;

“Unblurred: First Fridays On Penn.” Living Pittsburgh. 2011. November 5, 2011.


“Unblurred: First Fridays on Penn.” Penn Ave Arts. 2011. November 5, 2011. <;



Carter Warren: Reverse Rolls (Word Count: 576)

The lack of women appearing in the mainstream art world is not due to the lack of women artists or the lack of masterpieces done by women, but society’s male dominated system. This deeply-rooted system is apparent in many fields ranging from politics to cooking. The Warhol Museum, while celebrating Pittsburgh’s biennial, breaks this hideous tradition of featuring 99.9% male work by setting up a stunning exhibition titled Gertrude’s/Lot. Gertrude was a robust poet who lived in America and influenced many a famous artist (Piccasso, Warhol, ect.) with her ‘cubist’, avant-guard poetry and strapping personality. Using her name in an exhibition title is only appropriate and sets the proper tone.

Ascending to Gertrude’s/Lot, one cannot fail to hear Ayanah Moor’s strangely soothing tones saturating the elevator. All My Girlfriends (2011) is a recording featuring Moor reading the short bio’s of JET’s centerfold model. Without the image of the model being described, one is forced into seeing the blandness of each model’s personal information. Starting with basic size measurements, the article breaks down the female to merely an object (generally the point of these types of magazines) then works its way into tiny snippets of their lives, painful small-talk in biography-form, in order to make each model seem ‘new’ and ‘different’ for that particular month of JET.

Moving out from this voice recording, one encounters a single room, moderately-sized, featuring work bouncing between creepy, humorous and blunt. One work that was not as successful as an art piece but a decent business-plan was The Milk Truck (2011) by Jill Miller. Presented as ‘Performance’, The Milk Truck is a vehicle tailored towards the new mother where they may bring their babies inside to relax and feed. The truck’s location can be tracked online through the GPS within the truck. The truck itself is arty, featuring a funny image of a massive pink boob plopped on top reminiscent of an ice-cream scoop (enhanced by the fact that it is indeed an ice-cream style truck, complete with colorful spots and cheerful graphics). Within the gallery, this business is presented upon a screen in the back corner, commercial-form, starring Jill Miller selling her idea for the truck. Aesthetics aside, I cannot get past the heavy business backbone and blunt humor of The Milk Truck to see it as holding its own against the other art found within the exhibition.

In the opposite corner of the room, there is another video being played which uses humor differently, successfully. The retro-style work, titledTechnology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (1978-79), of Dara Birnbaum is similar to Moor’s piece in that it highlights the objectification of the female by taking clips from Wonder Woman scenes in which the actress ridiculously spins and spins in order to become Wonder Woman. Birnbaum replays this spinning nauseously. The humor within this work is found through the amplification of sheer absurdity of obvious objectification.

Gertrude’s/Lot holds a wide range of strong works from traditional media to modern video to fabric sculpture. The exhibition achieves the goal of showing the public that not only men can create masterpieces. The more publicity women get and the more spaces they receive in galleries, the more history will morph and congeal into a society blind to gender, only open to the mind and genius behind an artwork. It was right for the Warhol to show an all-female exhibition, to give the public a delightful example of what museums would be like with reverse societal expectations.


“All My Girlfriends.” STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. 2011. October 30, 2011. <;

“Ayanah.” 2011. October 30, 2011. <;

“Dara Birnbaum.” Marian Goodman Gallery. 2011. October 30, 2011. <;

“Gertrude Stein”. 1997-2011. October 29, 2011.<;

“Jill Miller.” 2011. October 30, 2011. <;

Miller, Jill. “The Milk Truck”. Kickstarter. 2011. October 29, 2011.<;

“Pittsburgh Biennial – Gertrude’s/Lot.” The Warhol Museum. 2011. October 29, 2011. <;

“The World of Gertrude Stein.” Ellis Place. . October 29,  2011.<;


Carter Warren: Egypt Unrest (Word Count: 709)

The Mattress Factory’s exhibition, Sites of Passage, revolves around an evolved concept of ‘pen-pals’. Egyptian artists exhibit alongside Egypt-minded American artists, their theme roughly revolving around the political uprising of 2011. Though this Egyptian-American art exchange, called ‘Firefly Tunnel’, was set up before the political turmoil hit Egypt, the work within the exhibition either successfully morphed or merely blended in with the newer overarching theme. Unfortunately, the work that failed to allude to this new political concept lowered the potential impact of the exhibition, overwhelmed by the powerful surge from the new violent-military-event-based artwork.

Upon entering Sites of Passage, the work that struck first came from the far side of the room. Created by Noha Redwan, Over My Dead Body (2011), combines instillation work with sound and image without one medium overpowering the other. The occurrence of mixing such mediums successfully is rare, thus giving this particular work Herculean-strength. One may sit upon mangy bus seats, complete with bus poles, gazing at a graffitied passenger car filled with an upsetting, repeating image of the same zombie face with different hair-dos. What elevates this work to the next level are the headphones found upon the bus seats. Each one has a different recording prepared for the visitor, but each as upsetting as the last – one a droning radio call, the next an aggressive-sounding male voice and the other being a jaded woman’s tones. Each headphone gave a slightly different experience, but all submerged the viewer into Redwan’s twisted, but not all-together false, realm of the Egyptian transport system.

Another work is found within the exhibition featuring sound and a surrounding environment – Tahrir2 (2011). This work, created by Emily Laychack, is found upon the third floor in its very own room; but is not as powerful as its predecessor on the first floor. There was too much of the same sized imagery found upon every wall, though in different materials. The materials worked well together (spraypaint, sand, thin paper intensly layered, a payphone with a monotonous and hypnotic voice, soft fabric, a monitor screen within said fabric, etc.) but the whole work was messily assembled. The enthralling work upon the first floor had very little technical flaws whereas Tahrir2 featured bluntly cut off images, curling paper edges, greasy smudges upon the monitor, etc. When working with cheaper materials, as Laychack chose to, one must be careful about the craftsmanship.

A work that holds its own is Over My Dead Body’s neighbor, Grenadine (2011). Hyla Willis creates a hypnotic space using unique sandpaper flooring, light aromas, organic sounds and a vibrant film of a pomegranate being disemboweled, speared with American flags and healed once more. Branches lace themselves over the doorframe, distracting the visitor enough that their first step upon sandpapered floor is a shock. The sandpaper used here is much more effective than the loose sand found in Tahrir, being a surprising material to find on the floor compared to everyday sand. The pomegranate’s flesh resembles that of a human’s own, dripping with each stab, seeming to sweat through the torture. This exotic fruit being torn apart by American flags calls to mind America’s intense social power of overwhelming local culture, destroying that which is unique, delicate and foreign.

While being, overall, linked to a theme of political unrest, a few works within Sites of Passage are overshadowed by works similar in materials and nature. The eeriness of Over My Dead Body takes over the uncanny vibe of Tahrir2 by utilizing similar materials, such as sound and graffiti, in a more efficient manner. Tahrir2 uses too many images but doesn’t go pleasantly over-the-top, nor does it tone down to pleasing near-minimalism; it, instead, hovers indecisively between the two, fragmenting itself and spreading much to thin across a room too big for it. Grenadine sits comfortably in its place, filling the space with the violent noises of a once living something being torn apart. This violence reflects the subject-matter of the exhibition as a whole, as does Over My Dead Body while this message gets lost within Tahrir2.The progression of some of the works melting into the new political strife in Egypt was a happy coincidence. The works which were not able to attach to the new Egypt turmoil, however, were left behind and lost.


“Egypt News – Revolution and Aftermath.” New York Times. October 17, 2011. October 22, 2011. <;

Levs, Josh. “Firefly Tunnels Art Project.” Firefly Tunnels, Inc. 2010. October 20, 2011.<;

“Sites of Passage.” Mattress Factory. 2011. October 22, 2011. <;

Thomas, Mary. “Two Art Exhibits Tussle with Political Issues: Post-9/11 and Arab Spring.” Post-GazetteNews. September 7, 2011. October 20, 2011. <;

“Unrest In Egypt: Questions and Answers.” CNN. January 31, 2011. October 20, 2011.<;


Carter Warren: Well-Rounded Personality (Word Count: 479)

There are few plucky souls out there who dare put their personality on display for the world. One of the most intimate ways one can do this is through displaying art within one’s own home. Eric Shiner, the director of the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, is one of these bold souls; but with a personality like his, this is a fine thing. The home is one of few places individuals can completely control, from temperature to decor. Eric Shiner’s open apartment warms you with both a thermostat and art.

Art found within this home is everything from playful and sinister, elegant and cheesy. Eric enjoys playing with his art rather than just staring at it. His apartment set up allows for ‘dialogue’ between works to happen. A violent painting of an artist’s ex-girlfriend shrieks out from its wall while, directly opposite, one can gaze upon Mrs. Kennedy in pastel pink showing her pearly whites. Her charming smile is almost enough to distract the viewer from the massive gun she daintily clutches. A deer emerges from a lonesome potted plant near the back wall. Not only is the poor deer out of place, it eerily dons an African mask, like a confused tourist. Quite a bit of his work deals with self-exploration. Finding one’s own character in life’s fun chaos is a loose topic found within this apartment.

Eric’s collection includes everything one can imagine – sculptures, photography, false cleaning products, etc. One gutsy instillation is a work made site specific for his bedroom – wooden dildos, hand-carved, hang from a rope from a beam over his bed. An equally fun and flirty three-foot note hangs opposite his bed, showing a massive, scribbled booty-call number. Oddly not-out-of-the-ordinary, a vintage European clock passed down from his Grandfather stands in his bedroom, its delicate curves and craftsmanship are suddenly sensuous in its newfound, new-world context. His art-saturated bedroom deals with the playfulness of sex while also bringing to mind images of heritage (with the antique clock). This idea of where one comes from comingling with where one is taking the future is fascinating. His bedroom, in particular, highlights the fact that he chooses art out of love, not to be chic or turn a profit. Because his personal method of collecting calls directly to his personality, objects found at yard sales comingle with objects normally found in highly esteemed galleries without a hitch.

Themes of sex and self-exploration run rampant throughout Eric’s home. These topics are touchy to most individuals, rarely spoken about. But Eric’s personality floods the apartment, creating a small world where it is alright to be genuine. No matter how weird or socially-inept your ‘genuine’ self may be, Eric’s baffled African-Masked deer will be more awkward. He turns this shyness upon its head, thrusting these taboo subjects, in the form of art, out into his living-room to mingle with guests.


“Buying Leisure: The Collector and The Walker.” Gawker. MArch 3, 2007. October 17, 2011. <;.

“Eric Shiner Gets Permanent Post as Director of Warhol Museum” Pittsburgh Post Gazette. July 8, 2011.

October 17, 2011. <;

“Face Time. Winter 2008. Eric Shiner.” Carnegie Museum of Art. 2008. October 16, 2011. <;

Iwatsuki, Mie. “Alex Katz Interview”. October 16, 2011.<;

“1.10 Boundaries, Personal Space.” AbuseLove. October 15, 2011.<;

Stephanie, Dr. “Psychology and Space: Is Your House Affecting Your Mental Health?” April 4, 2011. October 15, 2011. <;