Pittsburgh Center for the Arts Announces 2009 Artist of the Year and Emerging Artist

For Immediate Release
August 18, 2009
contact: Carol O’Sullivan

(Pittsburgh, PA) – The 2009 PCA Artist of the Year, Tim Kaulen, and the 2009 Emerging Artist, Dylan Vitone, are the featured exhibits this fall at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PCA). Both shows are on view from September 25 through November 8. An opening reception will be held on Friday, September 25, from 5:30 – 8:00 pm. The reception is open to the public; a $5 donation is requested; free to members.

Artist of the Year, Tim Kaulen, is recognized as a significant artist with a body of work that has had an impact on the region. For 20 years he has been using reclaimed and recycled materials to create whimsical, over-sized sculptures – often in non-traditional urban spaces. “The physical stimulus of a city provides me with a sense of responsibility and motivation to become an active participant in its environment,” Kaulen says, “while at the same time enabling me to take a more anthropological approach towards researching building materials and settings for public art.”

Kaulen is co-founder of Industrial Arts Co-Op, a group of experimental Pittsburgh artists who in the mid 1990s constructed artworks in abandoned mills, factories and warehouses. Kaulen began his career at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh where he studied with Henry Koerner and Angelo Ciotti, both of whom, he says, inspired him to work outside the conventions of commercial art. He continues to work on independent and collaborative projects and exhibitions. Previous venues have included The Three Rivers Arts Festival, Silver Eye Center for Photography, and Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. Kaulen’s exhibits outside of Pittsburgh include, Myers School of Art, University of Akron, Ohio; Vox-Populi, Philadelphia; Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City; and Burning Man Festival, Black Rock City, Nevada. He has received grants and awards from the Heinz Endowments, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and others.

In this Artist of the Year show, Kaulen’s work will be featured both inside the galleries and on the grounds outside. Borrowing from the allegorical title Garden of Earthly Delights, large-scale topiary sculptures will be installed on PCA’s lawn. They “pay homage to classic American tin and wooden toys from the turn of the century,” Kaulen says. Crafted from reclaimed steel and plastic, each piece will be constructed using an open-frame structure, then, using a team of workers, a layer of live shrubs and flowering vines will be incorporated into the frames, creating a topiary effect. “While recognizable in shape,” Kaulen explains, “the sculptures take on a fantastic life of their own as they, literally, become part of the landscape.” Installation of Garden of Earthly Delights in late summer will allow time for the topiary effects to grow for the September 25 opening.

Inside the galleries will be a retrospective of Kaulen’s work, including smaller sculptures and photographs of public art projects and collaborations with other artists from the past 15 years. Kaulen’s technical support team for this exhibit includes Bidwell Training Center, Chatham College, Construction Junction, and Massaro Corporation, as well as additional support from P.J. Dick Inc., Trumbull Corporation, Simpson Reinforcing Inc., Abel Tool Company and James Gallery. ~

A panel discussion on public art will be held on Sunday afternoon, October 4, at PCA beginning at 1:00 pm. Co-sponsored by the Office of Public Art, panelists include: Tim Kaulen, Artist of the Year; Sheila Klein, who is designing the East Liberty pedestrian footbridge; Tracey Myers, curator, Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art; and Heather McElwee, Assistant Director, Pittsburgh Glass Center.

~ Also on view September 25 through November 8, is The Miami Project, photographic work by PCA’s 2009 Emerging Artist, Dylan Vitone. Primarily a documentary photographer, Vitone uses a wide format to create panoramic collages of urban communities that are undergoing complex social changes. “Miami is a city that wears socioeconomic status and sex appeal on its sleeve,” says Vitone. “Exclusive hotel resorts account for a large portion of the city’s industry, but it’s obvious that the majority of the city does not live that way.”

Vitone holds a BA in Photo-communications from St. Edward’s University and an MFA in Photography from Massachusetts College of Art. His work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, the George Eastman House, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Portland Art Museum, and other museums. Currently Vitone is an assistant professor with the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University and adjunct professor at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.