Five Pittsburgh art exhibitions worth your attention

As the region’s primary arts service organization, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council provides advocacy, professional resources, research, and grantmaking to artists and nonprofit organizations throughout Western Pennsylvania. The staff is also personally committed to amplifying the work of the artists it serves. Here are five Pittsburgh art exhibitions we recently attended that we believe are worthy of your attention.

Two people look at artwork hanging on a wall
Ester Petukhova: If and When You Find Me // Photo by Patrick Fisher

Here Gallery

Ester Petukhova: If and When You Find Me 
527 N. Taylor Ave., North Side
Through Aug. 12, 2023

Curated by Sean Beauford, the exhibition is comprised of a body of work exploring post-Soviet identity in a digital age that still finds itself deeply rooted in censorship. The works represent an assortment of distinct, yet interconnected references spanning timelines, borders, and generations.

A painting of a smiling woman with the text "We are not what we have done, we are who we have become"
Picture a Free World: Annual Let’s Get Free Art Show and Auction // Photo by Patrick Fisher

Concept Art Gallery

Picture a Free World: Annual Let’s Get Free Art Show and Auction
1031 S. Braddock Ave., Swissvale 
Through July 29, 2023

This exhibition, curated by etta cetera, is raising awareness about mass incarceration while serving as a fundraiser for Let’s Get Free: The Women and Trans Prison Defense Committee, a local prison advocacy group focused on those facing life in prison without parole. The exhibition features nearly 200 works of art created by 60 artists who are incarcerated and 30 artists who are allies to the cause. Together, the works consider the question, “What is a free world for you, and for others?”

A crowd of people look at a large inside art installation
Asim Waqif’s Assume the Risk // Photo by Patrick Fisher

Mattress Factory

Asim Waqif’s Assume the Risk 
509 Jacksonia St., North Side 
Through September 2024

Asim Waqif studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, and has worked in sculpture, site-specific public installation, video, photography, and, more recently, with large-scale interactive installations that combine traditional and new media technologies. Asim’s newest exhibition at the Mattress Factory invites viewers into a collaborative dynamic and playful installation that challenges our ideas on authorship and the preciousness of artwork, pushing against the formality we come to expect from typical museum experiences. The work responds not only to the environment that it exists in, but also to the materials sourced. Items have been assembled in a sprawling sculptural composition. Microphones and speakers have been strategically placed throughout, so that the room itself hums and buzzes, activated, and changed with the movements and participation of each visitor.

People stand inside a blue-and-green art installation
Architects of Air: Daedalum // Photo by Patrick Fisher

Downtown Pittsburgh Cultural District

Architects of Air: Daedalum 
Backyard at Eighth and Penn Avenue, Downtown 
Through Sept. 4, 2023

Daedalum is a temporary immersive experience that can be found in Pittsburgh's Cultural District. Presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, guests are transported into another world when they enter into a colorful labyrinth of winding tunnels, enchanting pods, and captivating domes. The exhibit is one of several touring luminaria created by Architects of Air, a UK-based company founded by Alan Parkinson. Daedalum is approximately half the size of a US football field and consists of 17 egg-shaped domes.

The back of a person's head as they look at a framed colorful artwork hanging on a wall
Kathy Mazur's Sounds of Silence // Photo by Patrick Fisher

Radiant Hall

Kathy Mazur’s Sounds of Silence 
734 Thompson Ave., McKees Rocks
Through July 21, 2023

Kathy Mazur’s latest exhibition features paintings that are a departure from the flowers, trees, and cityscapes she typically depicts and are instead rooted in a subject that is deeply personal to her, American Sign Language. Kathy’s interest in ASL started at a young age as a result of her childhood neighbor being deaf. She continued to study and learn ASL throughout her life in hopes of bridging common gaps. As an adult, her interest in ASL deepened as a result of her cousin having two children who are deaf. The paintings that Kathy created for this exhibition, which were supported by an Allegheny Arts Revival Grant she received in 2022 through the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, are abstract, with gestural shapes being formed by signing specific words. As a painter, Kathy believes heavily in visual language and sought to find a way to converge two dimensional paintings with three dimensional communicative movements.