Must-see Pittsburgh: In city experiencing change, visual arts remain vibrant

(BPT) - As more Americans choose to invest in experiences, fall and winter getaways take priority spots on desk planners. Many will visit Pittsburgh, to explore its evolution as a rust belt city that has polished its grit.

This once smoky steel-making capital of America turned incubator for new technologies is fittingly welcoming Ian Cheng’s Emissary Sunsets The Self, a work of art that contemplates evolution and existence. The artist’s signature animated worlds, populated with artificially-intelligent characters, will play on a massive LED screen in the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Forum Gallery.

The edgy exhibition is among this fall’s visual arts attractions that underscore Pittsburgh’s cachet as a cultural and artistic hub.

The Carnegie, founded in 1895 by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, is known for its extensive and impressive art collection. A collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem also will allow patrons to watch American stories unfold through the visions of 40 artists.

The Frick Pittsburgh, where pioneering industrialist Henry Clay Frick lived at the turn of the 20th century, is the exclusive North American venue for a blockbuster exhibition, Undressed: A History of Fashion in Underwear (Oct. 21, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018), organized by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Unusual, yes. Quite simply, it’s a serious look at an alluring subject: the fascinating history of underwear design from the 18th century to the present.

Before steel overshadowed Pittsburgh’s other industries — think Steel City, the Pittsburgh Steelers and U.S. Steel Tower — the region was the center of American glass making. Now, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is mesmerizing guests with larger-than-life glass sculptures inspired by nature in SUPER. NATURAL., the new exhibition from renowned artist Jason Gamrath.

This striking visual artwork adds to the buzz about Phipps’ seasonal flower shows. The Victorian greenhouse, a centerpiece of the city’s Oakland neighborhood since 1893, has evolved into one of the region’s most vibrant cultural attractions with its fresh perspectives and coveted green building standards.

At The Andy Warhol Museum, named for another of the city’s famous native sons, the current project of activist and artist Bekezela Mguni, Ancestral Lines and Pittsburgh Loves Dogs, remains through Oct. 29. Exploring the experiences of African Americans, these works are typical of evocative installations at The Warhol, a museum unlike any other in the world.

With seven floors of challenging exhibits, including a room filled with floating silver pillows, The Warhol offers daily workshops, demonstrations and gallery talks, ranking it among the best places to find the learning environment and sense of community that only a museum can provide.

Just a short drive outside of Pittsburgh, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg showcases southwestern Pennsylvania’s rich agricultural and industrial past. With a collection spanning four centuries and newly expanded, The Westmoreland has evolved as a one-of-a-kind space.

Its exhibition, A Timeless Perfection: American Figurative Sculpture in the Classical Spirit — Gifts from Dr. Michael L. Nieland (Oct. 7, 2017 - Dec. 31, 2017), will present extraordinary academically trained sculptors who emerged at the height of the Gilded Age.

When leisure time beckons, many other visual arts await exploration in contemporary galleries and cultural gems within Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods. If you seek engaging and inspiring experiences, visits to museums and galleries can provide memorable moments — and the opportunity to reflect on what makes Pittsburgh charmingly distinctive.

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