So, by this point you've probably heard of "John Riegert", an epic exhibition opening at Space Gallery on Friday. Curated by Brett Yasko (the designer behind Conflict Kitchen's famous brand identity), this exhibition features a whopping 252 artists, all of whom contributed a portrait of the titular subject. As per the Cultural Trust PR machine, the show is "expected to be the largest group exhibition in Downtown Pittsburgh history."
One of the participating artists is Travis Mitzel, a member at Radiant Hall Nova Place (North Side). Mitzel describes his work as "performance art / sculpture / photography," which he pursues alongside a respectable day job as a commercial photographer (#goals). We caught up with him in advance of the opening night (details below), with these burning questions:
RH: So how did you get roped into this crazy project?
TM: Brett got in contact with me via email months ago and asked if I'd be interested. I then got an email with a head shot of John and built my sculpture after my first look at the picture.
Tell us a bit about your process.
The sculpture style comes from a past body of work of mine called As Best I Can Remember. For this series I built full size sculpture of people I only vaguely remembered and then I would place the sculptures near where I thought I saw them and photograph them. I decided to only look at the photograph of John once and I made a few crude notes. Then I built my sculpture nearer the exhibition date.
OK, so is this a photograph, a sculpture, a performance, or what?
I'm always staging my shots and often times I'll build sets or sculptures to then photograph out in the world. Normally the only evidence of my sculptures or their temporary installations are the photographs I take. For the John show the sculpture just made the most sense.
This exhibition has 252 artists. I mean, seriously. On a scale from “Swiss watch” to “Bedlam,” how crazy is it gonna get?
Yeah the 252 artists thing kinda freaked me out at first. I wasn't initially interested in participating. After I thought about it some more I've been getting excited. It should be really interesting to see how 250+ artists all examine the same subject. It has a diverse range of artists too, there are poets, filmmakers, sculptors, digital artists. I think it will be fun.
Reception Friday, July 8, 5:30-10 p.m, in conjunction with the Cultural Trust's Gallery Crawl. Gallery Hours: Wed & Thurs: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; Fri & Sat: 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Curated by Brett Yasko
SPACE Gallery, 812 Liberty Avenue, downtown
June 24 - September 4, 2016
Free and open to the public.
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