JAMES SIMON has been steadily and rapturuously art-ifying Pittsburgh for years, making ordinary cityscapes look, sound and feel as interesting and vibrant as only a dedicated sculptor-muralist-luthier-mosaic maker-concert presenter-neighborhood revitalizer can.
A celebration of his eclectic, genre-spanning work takes place Saturday, May 6 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Contemporary Craft’s BNY Mellon Satellite Gallery, 500 Grant Street Pittsburgh (aka PRT’s Steel Plaza Station).
The exhibit is titled James Simon: A Life Of Making, with an artist talk at 5:30 p.m. on May 6. The show runs through Aug. 6 and is open daily to midnight.
Simon’s creative penchant was stoked during his childhood in Stanton Heights and became globally infused by years of traveling through North America, South America, Europe, Middle East and Australia. His journeys honed expertise in carpentry, carving, stained glass, sculpture, violin performance and violin making with Master Luthier Andrew Dipper of Oxford, England.
Returning to Pittsburgh in 2000, he converted an Uptown warehouse into a craftman’s studio and a lively center for visual arts, music and the nationally-acclaimed Gist Street Reading Series. In 2015 he was awarded the Artists and Cities Award by Pittsburgh’s ACTION Housing, the very first person to receive the honor.
These days, Simon specializes in large-scale works incorporating ceramic, concrete, bronze, glass and marble. His sculptures and mosaics are found worldwide and throughout the U.S.
Contemporary Craft’s James Simon: A Life Of Making exhibit at BNY Mellon Satellite Gallery includes mosaics, a simulated violin-making studio, early ceramic works and new creations that pay homage to his lifetime sweep of cultural influences.
If you’re not able to venture to your exotic dream locale, don’t worry. James Simon is probably making a piece of Art that will bring it to you.
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* GALLERIES & EXHIBITS *
820 Liberty Gallery. May 19-Sept. 24: Traveling While Black. Roger Ross Williams offers a cinematic virtual-reality experience immersing viewers in the long history of restriction of movement for Black Americans and the subsequent creation of safe spaces in their communities. 820 Liberty Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 456-6666.
Andy Warhol Museum. May 12-Sept. 25: The Velvet Underground & Nico: Scepter Studio Sessions. New music and film of the 1960s trendsetting rock band with Steve Schapiro photographs from the Exploding Plastic Inevitable multisensory, multimedia events organized by Andy Warhol in 1966-67. To June 19: The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards: A Selection of Works from 2022. 117 Sandusky St. Pittsburgh. (412) 237-8300.
Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. May 5 (6-10 p.m.): Spring Thaw Fundraiser marking AAP’s 113th anniversary. May 6-June 24: The Grandeur of Power. New work by 44 AAP artists exlporing notions of power from myriad viewpoints and through numerous media; opening reception May 6, 4-7 p.m. 100 43rd St. Pittsburgh (412) 361-1370.
Atithi Studios. To June 4: Sensational. 18 artists examine the neurodivergent experience in collaboration with Evolve Coaching. May 20 (11 a.m.-4 p.m.; 6-10 p.m.): The 2023 Fashion Festival features a clothing swap, mending workshop with Finley Owens, vendor booths, fashion show featuring 6 designers — Appalachian Mogul, Catherine Trendz, Clarissa Clifton, Death Perception, Eleven O Three, Lana Neumeyer. 1020 N. Canal Street, Sharpsburg. (412) 301-5374.
August Wilson African American Cultural Center. To May 31: The Hope of Radiance. New work by Nigerian-American painter Imo Nse Imeh. To Aug. 31: Frame of Reference: Jo-Anne Bates. New work by painter/printmaker Jo-Anne Bates. On permanent exhibit: August Wilson, The Writer’s Landscape. 980 Liberty Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 339-1011.
BoxHeart Gallery. To May 26: Working with Paper. New work by 53 members of Pittsburgh Society of Artists celebrating the use of paper in collage, drawing, photography, painting, sculpture, print-making, and digital art. 4523 Liberty Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 687-8858.
Brew House Association. To June 17: Rip, Repair, Repeat: The 2023 Distillery Group Exhibition. New work by Sandra Bacchi, Tara Hayes, Jameelah Platt, Nick Sardo, Rachel Morgan Simmons, Zim Syed, and Paige Tibbe. 711 S. 21st St. Pittsburgh. (412) 212-6650.
Carnegie Museum of Art. May 5-Aug. 27: Lyndon Barrois Jr.: Rosette. New work by multimedia artist Lyndon Barrois, Jr.; opening reception/artist talk May 4, 6 p.m., with Mary Wilcop – May 25, 6 p.m. May 27-Sept. 24: Joan Brown. Retrospective of San Francisco painter Joan Brown (1938-1990). 4400 Forbes Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 622-3131.
Concept Art Gallery. To May 27: Douglas Cooper: Tops and Bottoms. New work by painter Douglas Cooper. To May 27: Robert Bowden: The Astounding Bridges of Pittsburgh. New work by painter Robert Bowden. 1031 S. Braddock Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 242-9200.
Contemporary Craft. May 5-Aug. 6: James Simon: A Life of Making. An exhibit exploring the artistic diversity of Uptown sculptor, luthier and painter James Simon, including a simulated violin-making studio, early ceramic works, mosaics and new creations. BNY Mellon Satellite Gallery, 500 Grant St. Pittsburgh. To June 24: Inflorescence. New work by Santa Fe-based jewelry artist Brian Fleetwood. To Aug. 19: Self. New work by fiber artists Erika Diamond and matt lambert. 5645 Butler St. Pittsburgh. (412) 261-7003.
Double Dog Studios. May 6-28: An Artist’s Path: Marina Mozhayeva. 70 new paintings by Russian-born artist Marina Mozhayeva; opening reception and artist talk May 6 (5-8 p.m.). 317 Second Ave. Carnegie, PA. (412) 343-5584.
The Frick Art Museum. May 6-Feb. 4, 2024: Pittsburgh and the Great Migration: Black Mobility and the Automobile. An exhibit exploring the role of automobile ownership and the early 20th-century migration of Black Americans fleeing racism in the U.S. South. To June 30: Reckoning: Grief and Light. Multisensory sculpture by Vanessa German exploring grief, love, and social healing. To Oct. 1: From Stage to Page: 400 Years of Shakespeare in Print. An exhibit tracing the history of the famed First Folio collection of William Shakespeare plays. 7227 Reynolds St. Pittsburgh (412) 371-0600.
Irma Freeman Center for Imagination. To May 6 (closing reception May 5, 7-9 p.m.): Amalgamation II. New work by papermaker/sculptor Katy DeMent and fiber artist/quilter/installation artist Christine CMC Bethea. 5006 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh. (412) 924-0634.
Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. To May 27: Neighbor to Neighbor. New work in text, collage, portrait, dynamic pattern, abstract mapping styles by Takara Canty, Sophia Fang, atiya jones, Maggie Negrete, Jameelah Platt, Danielle Robinson. 5941 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 363-3000.
Ketchup City Creative. May 5-6: Love In Color – Dante “Tourchez” Campudoni. New work by painter Dante Campudoni. May 19-21: Taking Up Space 2023: Tethered In – A Visual Conversation with Artists/Mothers. 12 artists from the Taking. Up. Space. Initiative facilitated by Thrive Together Network (Sophia Cardillo, Eileen Alcalde, Amy Bornman, Naomi Chambers, Megan Lindsey, Christine Lorenz, Megan Shope, Carrie Smith Libman, Masha Solus, Courtney Williams, Alecia Dawn Young, Stefanie Zito); Embodiment & Storytelling workshop with Sophia Cardillo, artist/mother and doula, on May 20, 10 a.m. 612 Main St. Sharpsburg. (412) 593-4386.
Latrobe Art Center. May 1-31: Art Neighbors Joint Exhibition. New work by artists from Larobe Art Center and Greensburg Art Center opening reception May 4, 5-7 p.m. 819 Ligonier St. Latrobe. (724) 537-7011.
Mattress Factory. To Dec. 30: The Museum Collects Itself by Lenka Clayton & Phillip Andrew Lewis; Do this while I wait by Lydia Rosenberg; As Seen From the Surface by Katie Bullock – at Monterey Annex, 1414 Monterey St. Pittsburgh. To Fall 2023: HalfDream: Another Room. New solo exhibit by Hong Kong and US-based artist Doreen Chan in which users around the world can describe their dreams, add them to a database which matches common dreams of participants and connect to “dreammates”. To May 19, 2024: As Below, So Above. Artist-in-residence Shohei Katayama explores the space between light and dark, life and death, beauty and danger, nature and man. 516 Sampsonia Way, Pittsburgh. (412) 231-3169.
Phipps Conservatory. May 6-June 25: Flowers Meet Fashion: Inspired by Billy Porter. Six professional fashion designers, costumers and students from Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh CAPA High School blend fashion and horticultural displays inspired by Pittsburgh actor Billy Porter. One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh. (412) 622-6914.
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden. To June 25: Watercolor Works from the Garden. The 2-year collaborative project between the PBG and the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society features the works of 22 artists using various styles and techniques in water-based media. 799 Pinkerton Run Road, Pittsburgh. (412) 444-4464.
Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media. To May 6: 3rd Annual Member & Student Exhibition. New work by PCAM members and students. May 6 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.): Spring Artists Market. Work by 39 local and regional artists. May 19-July 22: I’m Fine. Masks by 1,500 artists curated by Carrie Breschi and Maureen Joyce spotlighting the statewide I’m Fine Sculpting Mental Health Awareness through Art project. 1047 Shady Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 361-0873.
Pittsburgh Glass Center. To July 30: Undefined. New work by top 3 finalists (MiNHi England, John Moran, John Sharvin) from Season 3 of the Netflix series Blown Away. 5472 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 365-2145.
Silver Eye Center For Photography. May 11-June 23: Fellowship 23. New work by photographers Samantha Box, Trent Bozeman, André Ramos-Woodard, Dominick McDuffie, Terrell Halsey, Karen Lue. 4808 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 431-1810.
SPACE. To May 14: #notwhite collective 2016-2022. Retro/prospective exhibition of the past/current, individual/collaborative works by 13 Pittsburgh women artists. 812 Liberty Ave. Pittsburgh. (412) 325-7723. Related Events: Apr. 28, 9:30 p.m. Music by DJ HUNY XO and Madame Dolores; Apr. 30, 2-5 p.m. Excavating Stories from Body Through Music, Poetry and Art; May 14, 3-5 p.m. #notwhite Book Party & Reading.
Spinning Plate Gallery. May 5-31: Outside/In. New work by painters Karen Antonelli, Constance Merriman, Risë Nagin, Michel Demetria Tsouris; opening reception May 5, 6-9 p.m. 5821 Baum Blvd. Pittsburgh. (412) 592-6418.
UnSmoke Systems Artspace. May 5-31: Bruce Breland’s Mixed Bag. Retrospective of work by Canrgie Mellon University art professor Bruce Breland (1924-2014); opening reception May 5, 5-8 p.m. 1137 Braddock Ave. Braddock.
Westmoreland Museum of American Art. To May 14: Gavin Benjamin: Break Down and Let It All Out. New photography by multimedia artist Gavin Benjamin. To May 28: Action/Abstraction Redefined: Modern Native Art, 1945-1975. 52 paintings, sculptures, works on paper by 32 artists in the first major traveling exhibition to explore the innovation and experimentation of modern Native American art. To June 18: Forest of Symbols. Artists from the 19th-century European Symbolism movement. 221 N. Main St. Greensburg. (724) 837-1500.