"Imagining Home: Selections From the Heinz Architectural Center"

Make a “home” run to Heinz Architectural Center, and take advantage of the spring weather to visit other arts venues this month.



Architect Henry J. Hardenbergh's "Apartment House," circa 1890, as part of the "Imagining Home: Selections from the Heinz Architectural Center" exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Image courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art

Housebound sometime during the Great Snow of 2010, I channel-skipped past a station rerunning the movie Doctor Zhivago. One of my visual memories from that film is the dacha Varykino, a delightful country home, surmounted with a set of little onion domes. (Who can forget that scene toward the end of the movie when a Russian winter has remade the dacha’s interior into a confection of ice and snow?)

If ever I could build a dream house, it might look like Varykino (sans snow). When I thought about “Imagining Home” as a creative challenge for the current exhibit at Heinz Architectural Center, Varykino came to mind, as did many other images—homes I’ve lived in (true “homes”), homes I’ve visited or toured, plus a few dream and fantasy homes. Go ahead: Conjure up the word for yourself, and see what comes to mind.

“While the need for shelter is fundamental and universal, the ways in which that need is met are enormously varied,” says Tracy Myers, curator of the Heinz Architectural Center, who put the show together. “Our attitudes toward—and relationships with—the places in which we live are wonderfully complex. The exhibition ‘Imagining Home’ encourages us to contemplate the question of what ‘home’ means to each of us, and how our answers influence the ways in which we fashion our personal environments.”

To build the exhibit “Imagining Home: Selections From the Heinz Architectural Center,” Myers turned to her curatorial home, selecting 125 pieces to illustrate the idea of home and how it’s been interpreted during the last 200 years. Drawings, architectural models, catalogues, photos, video—even children’s building blocks—document her case. There’s also installation art, including a “habitable sculpture of layered draperies” by Sheila Klein.

“Imagining Home” has been grouped around several topics: styles in residential architecture, innovative construction technologies, interiors, company-built housing, and the evolution of the modern and contemporary house throughout time.

Speaking of contemporary homes, I keyed in on a segue of sorts from “Palm Springs Modern: Photographs by Julius Shulman,” the most recent offering at Heinz Architectural Center. That show featured a home by Richard Neutra, commissioned for the Edgar Kaufmann family, of Pittsburgh. In the current show, we’re treated to drawings of another local—and rare—Neutra connection: the Pariser home in Uniontown. Other local connections can be found at the show as well.

Personal highlights of the show?:

A collection of 15 small plaster models of houses representing a variety of cultures from around the world was an unexpected curiosity. These were created by the Museum Extension Project, a Depression-era work-relief program originating in Pennsylvania, and were donated to the Center by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the gift of an anonymous donor in 1960. They make a nice complement to recent shows examining art of that era at Frick Art & Historical Center and at Westmoreland Museum of American Art (“Concerning the 1930s in Art” continues there through May 16).

Also eye-catching is a beautiful watercolor and pencil on board delineated by Hughson Hawley to illustrate an 1890 plan for an apartment house designed by architect Henry J. Hardenbergh. If ever I were to return to apartment living, this would be a dream building. I also would have considered a summer residence in an imaginative adaptive, habitable reuse of the old Foxburg Bridge, which spanned the Allegheny River between Clarion and Armstrong counties. The plan on view at the show was created by McCormick Architects + Designers in 1993, but that vision is now moot because the span was demolished in 2008.

Large, recent color photographs of contemporary interiors by Sarah Malakoff provide a campy touch, and a small Charles Burchfield drawing, “House With an Astonished Face,” is delightful.

Perhaps I did cast a rather supercilious eye at the title of a PPG-sponsored competition from the 1940s: “The Design of a House for Cheerful Living.” OK, “cheerful living” seems a rather quaint goal in our postmodern world, but hey, now that spring is here, my door’s open for that possibility.

(Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Through May 30: Tues.-Wed., Thurs.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. Adults, $15; seniors, $12; students, children 3-18, $11; under 3 and members, free. Info: 412/622-3131, cmoa.org)


MORE EXHIBITS:

Frick Art Museum, Frick Art & Historical Center: “Small but Sublime: Intimate 19th-Century American Landscapes.” May 15-Aug. 15. 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze. 412/371-0600, thefrickpittsburgh.org.

Pittsburgh Glass Center: “From the Earth to the Fire and Back” features 28 artists in a group show to celebrate Pittsburgh’s designation as host city for the U.N.’s World Environment Day on June 5. Through June 13. 5472 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. 412/365-2145, pittsburghglasscenter.org.

Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery: Fourth Annual “teapots!” Invitational show. Through May 29. 5833 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. 412/441-5200, morganglassgallery.com.

SPACE: “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” combines three unique galleries from different Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Through May 23. 812 Liberty Ave., downtown. 412/325-7723, spacepittsburgh.org.

707 Penn Gallery: Robert Raczka explores the flip side of day via photography in “dark & shiny night.” Through June 12. 707 Penn Ave., downtown. 412/325-7017, pgharts.org.

GalleriE Chiz: “Character studies … marionettes” by AAP Centennial Artist Dennis Bergevin. May 7-June 12. 5831 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. 412/441-6005, galleriechiz.com.
 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Review: Salt of the Earth

Review: Salt of the Earth

Brandon Fisher is the latest chef behind Salt of the Earth’s modern-American dishes.
2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

Sharing the DNA of the father of children’s television, the Fred Rogers Company reinvigorates a beloved legacy while creating new hit characters and content that help children to grow, giggle and learn.
Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Jamie and Ali McMutrie were PM's 2010 Pittsburghers of the Year after airlifting 54 youngsters to safety. Now, they have forged a relationship with a major global player to continue their work to prevent struggling Haitian families from surrendering children to orphanages.
PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

Four ways to make the city even better in 2015.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

#Oops — Or, About that Headline . . .

#Oops — Or, About that Headline . . .

Once in a while, no good deed goes unpunished.
Now Online: Two New Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

Now Online: Two New Cameras to Keep an Eye on Pittsburgh’s Bald Eagles

A Murrysville security company has installed the new cameras, which provide sharper images of the Hays eagles.
#TBT: Watch the ‘King’s’ Final Pittsburgh Concert

#TBT: Watch the ‘King’s’ Final Pittsburgh Concert

Elvis Presley rang in 1977 with a New Year’s Eve concert at the Civic Arena.
Pittsburgh-Area’s Chris Jamison Finishes Third in ‘The Voice'

Pittsburgh-Area’s Chris Jamison Finishes Third in ‘The Voice'

He may not have finished first, but the North Hills High School grad won legions of new fans.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Review: Salt of the Earth

Review: Salt of the Earth

Brandon Fisher is the latest chef behind Salt of the Earth’s modern-American dishes.
2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

2014 Pittsburgher of the Year Award: The Fred Rogers Company

Sharing the DNA of the father of children’s television, the Fred Rogers Company reinvigorates a beloved legacy while creating new hit characters and content that help children to grow, giggle and learn.
Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Update: The McMutrie Sisters' Mission 5 Years After the Haiti Earthquake

Jamie and Ali McMutrie were PM's 2010 Pittsburghers of the Year after airlifting 54 youngsters to safety. Now, they have forged a relationship with a major global player to continue their work to prevent struggling Haitian families from surrendering children to orphanages.
PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

PittGirl's New Year's Resolutions for Pittsburghers

Four ways to make the city even better in 2015.
Penguins Profile: The Fearless Patric Hornqvist

Penguins Profile: The Fearless Patric Hornqvist

The Penguin winger fits in easily with the team, thanks to his infectious personality and his mad dedication to confounding opposing goaltenders.
Rev It Up: This South Side Pittsburgh Loft is Unique and Unusual

Rev It Up: This South Side Pittsburgh Loft is Unique and Unusual

This three-story home melds all of the comforts of home with the sleek look and efficiency of industrial design.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags