Dangerous Art: One Pittsburgh Exhibit Sends Viewers to the Hospital

Art Lovers Beware, Exhibit Bites!

Not really, but authorities have shut down a popular Pittsburgh room-sized art exhibit after it left three viewers feeling seizure-like symptoms. The exhibit "ZEE" by Chicago-based Austrian artist Kurt Hentschalger is an interactive art experience involving thick artificial fog and bright strobing lights. 

Now, before you can enter the exhibit, hopeful viewers have to sign a waiver notifying them of the dangers of being completely submerged in light, sound and fog. The waiver tells the viewer that the artist cannot be held responsible for any injuries sustained.

Once the waiver is signed, small groups of people are taken through a thick fog filled room guided by ropes for ten to fifteen minutes where they experience a "loss of spatial orientation." Eerie music accompanies the other environmental distortions to let the viewer experience a total separation from the norm and an other-worldly experience. One viewer described it as "purely sensual" while another viewer asked, "If you didn't have a body, would this be what death is like?"


The latest victim, a 18 year-old girl from was treated at the scene for "seizure like symptoms" after leaving the exhibit. All people with photosensitive epilepsy, breathing or heart problems, migraines, claustrophobia and anxiety had been warned not to go inside. 

The installation is currently closed they retool it to make it a little more safe. Firefighters were even contacted to test the air quality with all of the thick artificial fog involved, but found that the fog was not harmful, even at the high levels used in the exhibit. Even with people being treated at the exhibit, Kurt Hentschlager, the artist who created the art exhibit, could not be reached for comment. 

The real question is whether this controversial exhibit should be changed before it reopens? It's typically okay if art is edgy, but can art be dangerous? Is it okay if it allows the viewer to experience or perceive something differently? If you watch the following video and see the reactions of the viewers who experienced ZEE as it is, is it wrong to change the exhibit when a waiver warns all voluntary viewers of danger and yet, the exhibit itself leaves viewers speechless?


The exhibit will be reopened once changes are made for it in the downtown Pittsburgh Gallery. The question still stands though, should art like ZEE be changed to protect the viewer? How do you feel about the changes being made to an exhibit to make it safer for the general public? Please, let us know in the comments below. 




Mungyo Gallery Pastels 2013 Summer Contest Winners!


Lets Celebrate these Amazing Pastel Artists and Winners! 

It was really tough to judge this contest since we had so many wonderful entries! Here are the winners of the Mungyo Gallery Pastels 2013 Contest who put in so much hard work, amazing detail, contrast and color into their artwork and the winners of $2,250 worth of prizes!


First Place Winner

"Winter Wolf"
by Salda Markovic

"Mungyo Gallery soft pastels are the best product I had used in the last ten years. The density of pigment and the consistency of color, and the beautiful way they mix. Most important, the adhesiveness is outstanding! Also the extended palette to choose from makes it so attractive to absolutely love these pastels. I will never go back to anything else. I can say with confidence that Mungyo Gallery pastels are the best on the market. Thank you for creating the best pastels!"


Second Place Winner

by Tracey Arvidson

"Since my college years, I have loathed pastels. They were messy, and didn't handle well when blending. I saw this contest for the pastel medium and I had missed the drawing and watercolor deadline. I thought I'd give it a go. After working with Gallery Artists' Soft Pastels, not only have they changed my mind about not liking them- I think they may be my new favorite medium! It's been a long time since I had this much fun creating a portrait. The medium is easy to handle and they blend so easily-it was just a joyous experience!"


Third Place Winner

by Jeff Hillyer

"For the last couple of years I have been experimenting with different mediums and have fallen in love with pastels. My first purchase was a full set of Mungyo Pastels. With the price being so affordable I didn't have to spend a fortune to get started. The color pallet is very large, the texture is smooth and with their blending ability I have found them very easy to work with. Thank you Mungyo for making such a fabulous product. Thank you all at Jerry's Artarama and Mungyo."


To see some of our Honorable Mentions, be sure to check out our Gallery!

And be sure to check out of Contest Page for more contests and chances to win with Jerry's Artarama!




Choosing the Perfect Canvas

The Options are Endless!

A fresh Canvas is like a new landscape to build upon, an open road of new possibilities and a staple in any artist's creative arsenal. Some painting novices may assume that all canvas is the same and made from, well, canvas, but there are different types to choose from. Unfortunately, many of these artists just starting out might not know what kind of canvas to get. Here is a helpful guide to help out and get you the right canvas you need.

First off, the term "canvas" is kind of an umbrella term for any material that is used to support a painting. The most common type of canvas is cotton duck; then there is linen; also synthetic fiber, which is the least common. Each can be called a canvas and picking out the right one is a lot like picking out the perfect set of bed sheets. Here's why.

Cotton duck canvas is the most common and cheapest variety of canvas, but even it still comes in different weights and weaves. Weight refers to the thickness of material, while weave is a term for how tight the individual threads are woven. The cheapest of cotton canvases are those which are most loosely woven. (Similarly, the price and quality of sheets is determined by thread count.)

Linen on the other hand, is considered to be superior to cotton as the threads are narrower, or finer, and the weave is tighter. It is also a more expensive option.

For some artists, the choice halts here; many are opposed to using synthetic fiber canvases as they are not traditional and have not been around long enough for artists to really gauge their durability. The synthetic category is also much wider since essentially any material could be used provided it is strong enough to support the weight of the paint. Some of the cheapest canvases, however, are made from a blend of cotton and synthetic fiber, so realistically speaking, it may not be as easily avoided as some artists would like.

When choosing between cotton duck and linen, the needs of the artist are the most important thing to take into consideration, but experts say that ultimately, hands down, linen is the right choice in terms of strength and reliability. The tighter weave gives it a stronger surface , whereas cotton can distort a painting once it's stretched. However, cotton is generally easier to use and is available in either a smooth or more distinct texture. Linen may be more durable, but it is also pricier.

Once you've settled on a material, you've only just begun. The next phase is choosing a form. The options are stretched canvas, canvas boards, or canvas rolls. Heres where the choice is less like picking out bed sheets and more like pumping gas; your choices are regular, middle grade, or high end. 

  • Stretched Canvas is the most expensive and convenient of the three. It can easily be hung on a wall without a frame once painted. 
  • Canvas boards are cheaper versions of stretched canvas. They consist of heavy-duty card panels to which the canvas material is glued. 
  • Canvas rolls are the cheapest, also the least convenient and most time-consuming. It is exactly what it sounds like: a roll of canvas for you, the artist, to take what you want when you want. Once the canvas is cut to size, then it must be mounted on stretcher bars to hold it still and stop it from distorting your painting. 

All of the options here are great, none are necessarily better or worse than the other, its all about what you, the artist, wants. Its a matter of what suits a particular artist's tools, time and skill set. So what type of canvas do you like? Jerry's Artarama is the number one authority on artist grade professional canvases. So let us know in the comments below!

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