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Andrea Peña
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Asim Waqif
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After School

Teen Summer Workshop Series
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The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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Russell Crotty



This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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The lower level of the Mattress Factory is home to Russell Crotty’s installation, Nightfall. Crotty built his Solstice Peak Observatory in the Santa Monica Mountains where he studies the night sky with a ten-inch f/8 Newtonian reflector telescope. From these studies, Crotty draws thumbnail sketches and maps from observation, which he then transfers onto fiberglass globes that are suspended from the ceiling, like large-scale models of the solar system. In this installation, Crotty has suspended seven spheres ranging in diameter from 8 inches to 10 inches and the largest at 24 inches.

Process is a central component of Crotty's work. He works as a bookbinder who covers various-sized fiberglass spheres with hundreds of strips of archival Japanese paper using wheat paste. Crotty then transfers his sketches onto the spheres using a ballpoint pen as his primary medium.  Crotty’s detailed drawings resemble obsessive note-taking since they are rendered in ballpoint pen. Visitors will note that watercolor has been introduced - an element Crotty began adding over the past three years. Additionally, viewers will notice text, is used more as a visual element than a linear narrative. Crotty's work is based on experience and is heavily influenced by his Californian origins. Nightfall incorporates the component of deep time: Crotty's work addresses the fleeting nature of time - both in the geological and cultural sense.


Messages & Communications: October 2, 2005 – April 2, 2006
About The Artist

For over 30 years, Russell Crotty has created and exhibited a large body of artwork, manifested in globes, drawings, collages, and books. His art has been extensively exhibited nationally and internationally and is owned by private collectors, museums, and public collections. His practice chronicles an idiosyncratic commentary on astronomy, landscape, coastal mapping, surfing, and the natural and manmade world.

Crotty received a BFA with Honors from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA from the University of California, Irvine for his MFA. A native Californian, Russell grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, began and nurtured his art career in Los Angeles, lived many years in the Santa Monica Mountains -- and now works in Ventura and resides in Ojai, California with his wife Laura Gruenther, a graphic designer. In 2015 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

More from this Artist

More from this Exhibition

Endless Self-Portrait / Portrait of an Audience

A Small Patch of Earth

For Stuart Callan. 1962-2005

27 Correspondents

Passion or Politics

Mapping Sampsonia Way


Give artists the time, space and resources to create remarkable works of art that help us see our world in new ways.

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