Thursday, June 14, 2007

Double Consciousness Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh City Paper covers one of the current exhibitions (June 23rd the last day of the show) at The Mattress Factory:

In Double Consciousness, each of Clark's eight chosen artists deals with the multivalent issues of identity, perception and their inevitable connection to international politics, while also exploring innovative media and aesthetics. These distinctly individual vantage points (and their articulate visual expression) can facilitate serious cultural debate and reflection. Meanwhile, by highlighting contemporary Indian art a decade after its first appearance in an American museum, The Mattress Factory offers a vital forum for the creative voices of the South Asian diaspora.

Playing this artistic theme off of a discussion about the location of authentic Pittsburgh taking place at AntiRust, where does the diaspora fit in? Is the Burgh Diaspora its own distinct culture? In some ways, the Diaspora helps to define the cultural authenticity of Pittsburgh.

An anthropologist would have a field day studying how the Steelers Nation remakes Pittsburgh 8 times a football season, in the parking lot of the opposition. At almost every tailgate, fans celebrate Pittsburgh culture with food and drink. The Burgh Diaspora share high school memories and why they left home.

For me, the essence of Pittsburgh is the reason why these migrants stay so strongly connected to home. I have some ideas as to why there is a Pittsburgh Nation while other cities couldn’t make such an outrageous claim. At this point, the Double Consciousness of the Burgh Diaspora is somewhat of a mystery. I imagine that the works on display at The Mattress Factory contain a few clues.

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