Rivers of Steel engages in a variety of exhibitions, from permanent gallery and installation pieces to a range of temporal works presented both in the community and at our heritage attractions. Scroll down to peruse selections from recently closed exhibitions.
Flow From the Furnace
On display from May 20 to October 29, 2022
There is a mystique to the Carrie Blast Furnaces. The awe it inspires and power it exudes goes beyond its historical significance—it is an inspiration. Flow from the Furnace, a new exhibition at the Bost Building, is a response to this phenomenon.
Comprised of contemporary works, this group show represents artists who have experienced Carrie as a muse. At the core of this collection are artists who have worked onsite at the furnaces, from past Alloy Pittsburgh residents and graffiti writers to traveling metal arts sculptors and creatives employed by Rivers of Steel—an ever-expanding network influenced by the pull of blast furnaces’ orbit.
Linked by association and collaboration, this show represents a community of artists that capture a unique post-industrial zeitgeist. While their works speak to a broad range of modern-day concepts and are not limited to literal manifestations of iron-inspired works, other works offer a more direct line of interpretation of this treasured National Historic Landmark.
Flow from the Furnace opened on May 20 with a free, public, drop-in reception and will remain on view through October 29, 2022. Artists include: Pati Beachley, Angela Biederman, David Scott Brozovich, Jerome Charles, Conor Clarke, Matt Crane, Nicole Czapinski, Katy DeMent, Keith Garcia, Glen Gardner, Max Gonzales, Paige Henry, Allison Hester, Nicholas “Cricket” Hodgson, Ricardo Iamurri Robinson, Kemist, Sandy Kessler-Kaminski, Jan Loney, Chris McGinnis, Eddie Opat, Ed Parrish, Jr., Ken Payne, Shane Pilster, Curtis Reaves, Rhiannon Scheidt, Vaughn Washburn, and more!
Memory Scenes: A Kathleen Ferri Retrospective
On display from October 8, 2021 through March 26, 2022
Kathleen Ferri first picked up a paintbrush at 58 years old. Now 95, her “memory scenes” will be collectively on view for the first time—including a number of paintings that will also receive a public debut. Kathleen’s work preserves the small-town streets of her childhood with an intuitive sense of history and the warmth of sentiment. They radiate with color and burst with joy as expressive figures make their way through downtown Turtle Creek, riverside mills, Kennywood heritage days, and more. See the Mon Valley as few have in this career retrospective, presented by Rivers of Steel and augmented with archival artifacts from the organization’s collections. Memory Scenes: A Kathleen Ferri Retrospective is curated by Barbara L. Jones, chief curator at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, and Ron Baraff, director of historic resources and facilities for Rivers of Steel.
From the Vault: Staff Picks from the Rivers of Steel Archives
On display from January 8, 2019 through August 31, 2021
We are by nature a society that creates and discards, then rediscovers and collects the discarded. The important, as well as the ephemeral, bits and pieces of our lives and preceding generations lives are folded into our fabric and treasured. The Rivers of Steel Archives serve as a gathering place for these treasured mementos, historic records, and ephemera of our past. Our collections hold the soul of the region—a magical trove that can educate, entertain, and enlighten. From the smallest of union badges to the immensity of a Rolling Mill, the items within our holdings are the key to our past as a region, and as a people. Our collective memory is contained within their being—each piece capable of telling its own story and enriching our lives.
For this exhibition, our staff was asked to gather materials from our collections that speak to them personally and professionally; those items that help them tell the story of who we are as a region, an organization, and as an individual. As a staff, we bring diversity of experience and spirit to our jobs; we are however all coalesced around the common theme of regional identity and pride. The collections speak volumes about the soul of the region.
LightPlay at the Carrie Blast Furnaces
On display from September 10 through October 1, 2020
Showcasing eleven unique multimedia installations created by a diverse group of local artists and engineers, LightPlay was on display at the Carrie Blast Furnaces during select evenings from September 10 – October 1.
LightPlay featured a range of video projection and light-based installations that engaged with the site’s intricate structural characteristics, cavernous pathways, and unique industrial aesthetic. This one-of-a-kind experience included immersive light and sound installations, digital video artworks, and illuminated sculptures that transform the former blast furnace into a sensorial maze.
Danny Bracken, Ian Brill, Aaron Henderson, Ryder Henry, Lori Hepner, Ricardo Iamuuri, Shohei Katayama, Todd Keebler, Julie Mallis, ProjectileObjects, and Alisha Wormsley contributed artworks to this exhibition.
A project of Rivers of Steel Arts, LightPlay was made possible through the generous support of Eaton Corporation.
Aggregate by Ian Brill
On display at the Bost Building from April 2019 through January 2020
In 2019 Rivers of Steel commissioned local contemporary artist Ian Brill to create a temporary site-specific installation in the glass egress stairwell of the Bost Building. Curated by Rivers of Steel Arts Director Chris McGinnis, Brill’s installation represents the many organizations, artists and individuals working together across the Mon Valley Creative Corridor to strengthen the cultural vitality of the Monongahela Valley. Aggregate was unveiled to the public on May 3rd, 2019 to celebrate the launch of the inaugural Homestead First Fridays Arts and Entertainment Series.
“Aggregate is a Public Light Art installation that was conceived, developed and installed over the course of about a month at the Bost Building in Homestead. The installation is comprised of a network consisting of one central computer and ten Raspberry Pi-powered nodes. The entire installation consists of 732 ten-inch cubes, illuminated with 6-RGB-nodes within each cell. In keeping with the title, the LED’s themselves exist in the form of strands that have been refurbished from compromised parts from earlier installations. In addition to the title, which references material properties familiar with historic industry of the region, the work itself is the emergent project consisting of several stages of nested systems, all the way down to the programming, each of which are themselves aggregate devices.” – Ian Brill
Breaking Ground by Valery Lyman
On display at the Carrie Blast Furnaces from August 22 – 24, 2019
A site-specific, photo-phono exhibit at the Carrie Blast Furnaces Breaking Ground examined the rapid expansion and abandonment of industrial boom and bust cycles that have become a recurrent phenomenon in American history.
Documentary artist Valery Lyman spent four years recording audio and taking photographs in the Bakken region of North Dakota (2013-2016), documenting the rise of the oil industry there and the major American migration that went along with it. Join us as she presents this documentary material to the public in multiple points of projection directly onto the raw industrial surfaces and machinery throughout the Carrie Blast Furnaces. This examination of industrial boom and bust cycles explores how they defined our our national character and migrations, while also reflecting in Pittsburgh’s industrial heritage.
Breaking Ground has traveled across the country showcasing a series of site-specific photographic and sound installations. The Carrie Blast Furnaces will be the fifth location where Breaking Ground has been exhibited. Previous venues include the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum in Boston, MA; Living Arts of Tulsa in Tulsa, OK; Silo City in Buffalo, NY; and the Central Utilities Plant, MIT Campus, Cambridge, MA. After its run at the Carrie Blast Furnaces, Breaking Ground will travel to the Donovan Mill in Silver City, Nevada.
For more information on this traveling exhibition, visit BreakingGroundExhibit.com.