Mattress Factory’s Latest Open Call Lets Artists Be the Judges | Visual Arts | Pittsburgh

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CP Photo: Amanda Waltz

Mattress Factory Monterey Annex

The Mattress Factory is known for opening up opportunities for established and emerging artists. Now the north side museum launched a new international open call for artist residencies and solo exhibitions. And this time, with the help of familiar faces.

“The Mattress Factory has a history of hosting international open calls, so it’s not new, but what’s new is the format, in that the review panel is made up entirely of artists who have already exhibited at Mattress Factory”, says the artistic director of MF. Ian Alden Russel. “The decision to have artists as reviewers is part of an ongoing commitment to center the voices of artists and de-center the voice of the institution in how our programs are formed. Our hope is that the International Open Call will be a renewal of Mattress Factory’s unique identity as a space run by artists, for artists.

The Artist Evaluation Committee will shape future MF programs by reviewing submissions and selecting artists to be offered residencies and solo exhibitions. The international open call is open to “artists around the world as well as around the corner”, with a deadline of December 10.

The artists forming the Artist Review Panel for the 2021 International Open Call are Vanessa German, Sohrab Kashani, Christopher Meerdo and Sarah Oppenheimer, whose work 610-3356 2008 is permanently exposed to MF. Meerdo and Kashani were among previous factory-installed exhibits, and German has been featured at the museum several times over the past two decades.

Russell says the museum also recently launched a new open call for artists within a 75-mile radius of Pittsburgh, whose submissions will be reviewed by a guest curator from outside the area. “The regional open call will increase the visibility of local Pittsburgh and regional artists in the wider art world,” adds Russell.

According to a statement, artists are free to explore wherever their process takes them during their residency. The museum “will support each artist’s process from development through production and installation to exhibition.”

The solo exhibitions resulting from the residencies will be open in spring 2023 and beyond.

Submissions for the MF International Open Call will be accepted until December 10 at 4:59 p.m. For more information, visit