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Exhibit Looks Into Kinship Between Steel And Glass -- And Our City's Role

Post Time:May 06,2008Classify:Industry NewsView:413



Dan LeDonne has a vision of how his artwork might look when completed. But unlike other artists, he never knows exactly until it's finished.
"You can have an idea, but it's better not to," said LeDonne, 27, of Franklin Park. "You can get imperfections that you can't plan on happening, so you work with what you end up with."
LeDonne's 7- by 8-foot glass-and-graphite room divider will be one of about 30 works of art made of glass and steel featured at the Pittsburgh Glass Center's "Glass & Steel: Art Transcends History" exhibit opening at 6 tonight and running through September.
The exhibit is a salute to the two major materials steeped in Pittsburgh tradition on the city's 250th anniversary.
Although Pittsburgh is known around the world as the Steel City, few know that it was once the country's glass capital.
By the 1920s, 80 percent of all glass made in American was manufactured in the tri-state region, said Anne Madarasz, a glass expert and museum division director at the Senator John Heinz History Center in the Strip District. Pittsburgh was the glass capital for 100 years, she said.
"I argue that one of the reasons Pittsburgh became the glass capital is because it was America's iron city," Madarasz said. "There was a lot of borrowing of machinery (from steel manufacturing) in the early period."
Squirrel Hill artist Judi Charlson, 66, who also will have a piece in the exhibit, knows the city's history of glass and steel manufacturing.
"Pittsburgh Plate Glass, U.S. Steel and all those factories are in my family," Charlson said. "Members of my family all worked in the glass and steel factories. So it came full circle."
Metal is a perfect mate to glass, LeDonne said.
"One has certain elements the other can't have and vice versa," he said. "There's a certain union between the two."
That union was forged in Pittsburgh.

Source: www.pittsburghlive.com Author: admin

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