Pop Filter Hot Pick: Will Steacy's No Job No Home No Peace No Rest opens at Silver Eye
This week, take a break from the clamouring din of campaign ads, stump speeches, spin doctors barraging you this election season to delve into the creative practice of contemporary artist Will Steacy
Among the most acclaimed and influential young photographers working today, Steacy is in town for a lecture and book signing at Spaces Corners
tonight, and a world premiere exhibition at Silver Eye Center for Photography
on September 14th. Both events are free and open to the public.
Photographs not taken
It's not often that museum- and gallery-goers have the chance to meet and interact directly with artists during the duration of their exhibitions, but this week, you have two great opportunities to do so when contemporary photographer Will Steacy is in the Burgh.
Think about what the American Dream really means to you tonight at Lawrenceville-based bookshop Spaces Corners
, where Steacy will present a free lecture at 7 p.m. The artist will share his personal and poignant views on politics, the economy, social justice, and the role of the artist as activist and provocateur--the kinds of thoughts and perspectives he documents regularly via his much-followed blog
, Will Steacy, Too Tough To Die
At Spaces Corners, Steacy will also sign copies of his latest book, Photographs Not Taken
, a collection of essays by 62 prominent photographers--including Pittsburgh's own Ed Panar--about specific moments in time that never went on to become photographs.
Meet the Beast
On Friday, September 14th, be among the first visitors on the planet to see Steacy's immersive 170-foot collage, during a free opening reception at Silver Eye
. Dubbed "The Beast" by Steacy, the massive work anchors the exhibition and consists of thousands of collected newspaper clippings, photographs and writings, and found objects. For Steacy, the thought provoking work details "the story of The American Dream, from the Homestead Act of 1862 to Operation Twist."
Shown for the first time in its entirety anywhere in the world, the comprehensive collage will be accompanied by 32 photographs from Steacy's ongoing--and provocatively titled--projects, including Down These Mean Streets, All My Life I Have Had The Same Dream
and We Are All In This Together
Equal parts chronicle and critique, the engaging multimedia show presents a compelling take on the very nature, consequences and ramifications of the "American Dream," examining the evolution of the alluring concept--one that is inextricably embedded within the American psyche--in terms of the desire to attain dreams and goals, the experiences of the country's invisible populations and the profound struggle just to survive.
Lifting the title of his exhibition from a lyric in Bruce Springsteen's song "The Ghost of Tom Joad"--which references the timeless protagonist in John Steinbeck's iconic novel, The Grapes of Wrath
--Steacy is influenced by the realism-based works of artist-activists who help to give voice to disenfranchised citizens struggling with daily and prolonged economic hardship. When spoken together and repeatedly, the title seems to take on the presence of a mantra or workers' rights folk song.
Of words and images
Gallery-goers will have the chance to explore firsthand the intersection of image and text that is embodied in Steacy's photographic work, journaling and blogging and publications. Words and images are equally integral to the artist's unique creative process, and Steacy regularly fills numerous notebooks with ideas, plans, notes, experiences, and dreams, as he is creating photographs. These writings often accompany exhibitions of his photographic work.
Born in New Haven, CT in 1980 and raised in Philadelphia, Steacy hails from five generations of newspaper men (his great, great, great grandfather started the York Daily
in 1870!), and he even worked as a union laborer before becoming a photographer, so the relationships between words and images are in his DNA.
Named one of the Photo District News' 30 Emerging Photographers To Watch in 2011, Steacy received his B.F.A. from New York University in 2003. The recipient of prestigious awards such as The Tierney Fellowship and The Aperture Foundation-Illumination Fund Green Cart Photography Commission, Steacy's work has been widely exhibited and featured on CNN, NPR, and BBC, and in The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Time, and The Guardian.
Co-curated by Silver Eye executive director Ellen Fleurov and Pittsburgh-based independent curator and writer, Leo Hsu, and staged on the eve of the 2012 election, No Job No Home No Peace No Rest
remains on view through December15th, 2012. Don't miss the free gallery talk
on Friday at 6:30 p.m., led by the artist and co-curator, followed by an opening reception
from 7 to 9 p.m.
Read all the Pop Filter picks
Will Steacy, Ennis, 2007
, 2006; Set For Life
, 2007. Courtesy of the artist, Michael Mazzeo Projects, New York, and Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich.