Metal from Clay: Pittsburgh's Aluminum Stories

Exhibition Dates
October 24 – December 6 2019
Exhibition Location
University Art Gallery, Frick Fine Arts Building, University of Pittsburgh

Reflect on the histories of aluminum through a selection of objects and other original materials drawn from Pittsburgh collections. From the early production of aluminum in Smallman Street to its midcentury use across avant-garde art and design, this exhibition culminates in a new installation by contemporary sculptor Atticus Adams that uses recycled aluminum to reimagine the University Art Gallery rotunda.


Featuring loans from the Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Heinz History Center, Rivers of Steel, University Library System and other collections, Metal from Clay is the culminating program for a major grant received by the History of Art and Architecture department to work with local museums and archives to share information and expertise, and foster collaboration in research, teaching and public engagement.


Metal from Clay is accompanied by a publication that brings together essays from local curators with contributions by graduate and undergraduate students from History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh.


Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh

Related Public Programs: 


Saturday, November 2 @ 1-4pm

Hot Metal Happening with Rivers of Steel Arts

A day of drop-in demonstrations and DIY activities. Make your own cast aluminum mold and take it home! Join a family friendly tour of “Metal from Clay: Pittsburgh’s Aluminum Stories” in the University Art Gallery. All ages are welcome. Food and drink provided.

Thursday, November 14 @ 5:30-7pm

Spanish Tour: De la arcilla al metal: las historias del aluminio de Pittsburgh/Metal from Clay: Pittsburgh’s Aluminum Stories

Join us for a Spanish language tour of the current exhibition “Metal from Clay: Pittsburgh’s Aluminum Stories.” This tour will be an excellent opportunity to connect with Spanish speakers of all levels. Led by Paulina Pardo, a native Spanish speaker and Ph.D. candidate in Pitt's History of Art and Architecture department. Food and drink will be provided.


Thursday, November 21 @ 5:30-7pm

In conversation with Atticus Adams

Atticus Adams is a sculptor whose work embodies the transformative power of art to create beauty, meaning, and emotional impact from industrial materials. Using aluminum, bronze, copper, and stainless-steel mesh he creates abstract pieces and installations, which sometimes resemble flowers, clouds, and other natural phenomena.


Thursday, December 5 @ 5-7pm

Maker Event: Making Masterpieces

Join students from HAA 1020 for hands-on activities to mark the final day of “The Curious Drawings of Doctor Clapp” and “Metal from Clay: Pittsburgh’s Aluminum Stories,” including drawing, button-making, yoga in the gallery, sketching in the Cloister, prizes and more! All are welcome to attend. Free food and refreshments!