Sift is a curated visual exhibition space which aims to provide a new line of communication between artists shaping the cultural landscape in our region, curators who interpret the artists' impact, and the greater public.
My Sift collection, Artistic License, features creative individuals from all of the categories found on the Pittsburgh Artist Registry. I believe artists have the authority to impact their community with their work. The title refers to the agency that these artists seem to embrace in contributing to, and reshaping the communities in which they live.
Restricting my selection to visual artists (my specific area of interest) felt limiting. I decided to branch out and review as many profiles as possible within all of the disciplines represented on the Registry. For this collection, I investigated genres outside of my field such as music, for example. While working on Artistic License, I recalled the summer of 2016 when I attended a SIX x ATE event, and heard Anqwenique Wingfield sing; I was blown away by her remarkable talent. Then I recalled that at last year’s Sister March, which ended in Market Square, Phat Man Dee sang between speeches. Another beautiful voice!
Another memory I had was when I encountered actor Michael Lindsey as the protagonist in the short film Woogie. The narrative explores Woogie’s relationship with his father, with the main setting as a barbershop of the same name, which also happens to be a real barbershop in Pittsburgh named Richey’s.
A range of my choices are also currently on view in the community. For example, one can see metal dandelions sprouting from a neighborhood sidewalk; a pair of mounted metal guardians while entering my own neighborhood of Garfield; and The Arms of East Liberty, a tiled mural commissioned through a partnership with the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, which is located in the rapidly transforming neighborhood of East Liberty. All of these are worth seeing in person.
Other works that I felt to be noteworthy are the many site-specific and ephemeral installations in galleries and spaces in Pittsburgh. Many are immersive and utilize unusual materials: light, paper, textiles, and found objects. To me, these artists are not afraid to explore space, push media, but also revel in bringing visitors into a completely transformed environment. I hope artists continue to submit to the Registry and update their profiles. It’s a wonderful resource for any artist, curator, collector, maker, and creative soul.
A native of Miami, José Carlos Diaz is the Chief Curator at The Andy Warhol Museum and was recently included in Artsy’s list of “20 Most Influential Young Curators in the United States.” Previously, Diaz was the Curator of Exhibitions at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach where he curated new artist commissions by Athi-Patra Ruga, Sylvie Fleury and the travelling exhibition GOLD. At the Bass he has organized the exhibitions Rachel Harrison/Voyage of the Beagle, One Way: Peter Marino, Vanitas: Fashion and Art, and Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui. Diaz also organized Temporary Contemporary, a public sculpture program, which partners with the Art Basel Miami Beach PUBLIC sector each year. Prior to joining the Bass, Diaz worked at Tate Liverpool and the Liverpool Biennal. Diaz received an MA in Cultural History from the University of Liverpool, and a BA in Art History from San Francisco State University.