Downtown Pittsburgh is a bustling oasis of opportunity for businesses, but also provides a platform for many artists’ work to be seen. Many artists’ work is overlooked by passersby, but there are always the occasional few who take to time to admire the artwork.
Next to the PPG fountain, there is a large bronze sculpture titled “A Turn of the Century” that stands high over the heads of the citizens walking through the square. The sculpture depicts a man and a woman dancing to a hidden tune and both seem almost distracted by something else in their minds. The extreme amount of detail within in the sculpture is captivating as each crease in their clothing is defined and their eyes look as if they are real. The sculpture was created by J. Seward Johnson in 1968 as a part of his series of sculptures called “Beyond the Frame.” The series of sculptures depict ordinary people in real life situations. Johnson based the sculpture on a painting by Pieree-Auguste Renoir titled “Dance at Bougivial.” People tend to look at the emotion on the faces of the people depicted and get a reaction.
Carol Morse from Pittsburgh claims that the art gave her a peaceful feeling due to her love of dance and she was amazed by how Johnson copied the painting perfectly. Morse was asked what she believed the purpose of the sculpture was and how it made her feel.
“I think he did this to try to bring the art alive and to make people think about it more closely,” said Morse, “It makes me think about the possibility for a new thing. It seems like they just met but you’re not sure because they are so close together, yet they seem distant.”
There is also a sitting area near market square that holds a piece known as “The Oval Portrait” by Ivette Spradlin. Spradlin based this photography piece on Edgar Allen Poe’s short story titled The Oval Portrait. This piece was created by Spradlin to depict women who have dedicated their life to their work just as Poe describes dedicating his life to his piece and forgetting the reasoning behind his work. Usually, passersby don’t realize there is meaning behind the photos until they put thought into the idea.
Steve Watson, originally from Rochester, New York, was sitting in the beautiful area enjoying his lunch when the piece was brought to his attention. The piece made him feel inquisitive and wonder the reasoning behind the photos.
Art is created to spark emotion and make people think about the meaning behind it. If someone takes the time to think about a piece they may find out they relate to it in some way.