Mattress Factory

This story was first posted on The Office Goth‘s blog. 

I can’t seem to get away from photos of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Dots Mirrored Room at The Broad in LA. Each and every time I see one I have the same reaction of Wow! followed by thoughts of, How can I find cheap enough flights to LA? I must see this thing!

For those of us who can’t make it over to the West Coast for that exhibit, here’s a little consolation for you: the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh.

Mattress Factory actually has two works by Kusama: another Infinity Dots Mirrored Room— this version uses colorful dot reflections instead of lights — and Repetitive Vision, a slightly trippy white room with red polka dots, mannequins and of course the mirrors that make it an ‘infinity room.’ For a lack of a better way to describe them: these installations are EVERYTHING.

And the rest of the Mattress Factory wasn’t too bad either. Some other highlights:

IRIS_SIRI by Kevin Clancy: You walk straight into a fluorescent room to find windows covered in a rainbow film and life-sized resin cats draped across laptops. This exhibit reminds me to quit being so distracted by the Internet to go out and enjoy life for a bit.

Catso, Red by James Turrell: When you’re surrounded by super minimalistic art that uses three-dimensional light, there are tons of photos opps waiting to happen.

The Mattress Factory is one of the things I love about Pittsburgh (along with Randyland), and I’d say it’s one of the biggest surprises I found in a city that I’ve always only associated with universities and manufacturing. If you’re on the East Coast like me and are looking to go on a quick, affordable trip, Pittsburgh is definitely one way to go!

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Pittsburgh Photo Diary

It seems that everything in Pittsburgh is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Why? I have no clue, but here’s what you can do when things are actually open:

VISIT THE ANDY WARHOL MUSEUM: One of the most iconic artists of the past few decades was born and bred in Steel City, so of course he’s got his own museum. The Andy Warhol Museum is exploding with color and so many photo opps, but like a lot of museums, no photos allowed.

STUFF YOUR FACE AT PRIMANTI BROS: Who knew pastrami topped with coleslaw and fries was so damn good? I have literally never had any desire to eat coleslaw at KFC, cookouts, nowhere, until I tried the food at the famous Primanti Bros.

LOOK AT SOME COLORFUL THINGS: The Carnegie Museum of Art, where Cesar and I discovered (and loved) the work of photographer Duane Michals. Buying a ticket to the art museum also earned me free entry into the Carnegie Museum of Natural History since the two are attached. Also, if you’re a fan of Roadside America attractions like I am, check out the museums because you’ll find Dippy the Dinosaur hangin’ outside of the museums.

TASTE MINI DONUTS: Peace, Love & Little Donuts is most likely the reason why my doctor said I gained weight since the last time she saw me during the summer. I want to say, “whoops?” but these things were so damn worth it.

“LOCK” IN YOUR LOVE: I just had to insert a corny pun here. I missed my chance to leave a love lock on the Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris, so slapping my C + T lock on the Schenley Park bridge will have to do. A little cheesy? Yes, but that’s okay, because did I mention Cesar and I were celebrating our four-year anniversary the weekend we visited Pittsburgh?

SEE THE BEST VIEWS: Pittsburgh is a city of bridges, meaning SO. MANY. VIEWS. See below for the view at Duquesne Overlook.

Randyland

Offbeat vintage signs and quirky Americana have always caught my eye, which is why Cesar and I recently decided to start a Roadside America tour. We aren’t doing the tour exactly the way it was dreamed up: by loading a big camper with a pack of pals and hopping out every time we see a Paul Bunyan or South of the Border statue. It’s more of a weekend adventure, small trip kind of approach, but I don’t mind.

The first stop on our list was Randyland. Randyland is the most obnoxiously quirky and colorful thing I’ve ever seen. Splattered in murals, broken toys and neon, this place brings kitsch to the Mexican War Streets neighborhood of Pittsburgh’s Northside. I can imagine Randyland is constantly crawled over by tourists like me, but apparently it’s also still a favorite with locals, too.