Take a solitary morning walk through James Turrell’s disorienting light sculptures at the Mattress Factory. The four-story Stearns & Foster warehouse on the North Side became an installation space in 1977. Thaddeus Mosley’s sinewy wooden sculptures are on display upstairs through August 2, 2009.
Brew House, a live-work community arts center on the South Side, is open to visitors on Saturday afternoons from noon to 6 p.m. During special events, the roof of the former Duqesne Brewery is open for a clear view of the city and the occasional barbecue. If you’re comfortable around naked strangers, there’s a figure-drawing-and-brunch session on the second Sunday of the month.
Take a twenty-minute cab ride out to Braddock , a crumbling mill town with a Catholic school turned artist colony. At Unsmoke Systems, the auditorium is a gallery, classrooms are studios, and stairwells and hallways serve as canvases. The building’s exterior was reimagined by New York street artist Swoon, who wheatpasted a life-size print of three Palestinian boys near a side door.
Visual artist Tim Kaulen welded together the thirteen-foot-tall steel heron that sits in the lobby of the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. His sculptural ode to the city’s blue-collar past is at the abandoned LTV Steel (4650 Second Avenue) plant where he and fellow artists, known as the Industrial Arts Co-Op, are building eighteen-foot figures made from recycled beams. Send a friendly e-mail prior to your visit to ensure easy access.