A Guardian Self-Storage facility in Pittsburgh is co-hosting an expansive art exhibit with the Andy Warhol Museum that celebrates the city’s ingenuity and industrial roots. “Factory Direct: Pittsburgh” features works by 14 contemporary artists who conducted residencies at several Pittsburgh-based factories to produce art based on their residence factory’s history, technologies, materials or processes.
Factory residencies ranged from two weeks to two months and were held at several sites, including ALCOA, Bayer, Heinz and the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.
Although a self-storage facility may seem an odd space to showcase the works of contemporary artists, the 120,000-square-foot Guardian building sits at the eastern gateway to the city’s historical Strip District. The area is noted for transforming from a retail/wholesale district by day to trendy clubs and restaurants at night. More than 100 years old, the Guardian building was previously home to a candy factory and multi-tenant housing, among other uses. When Guardian Storage Solutions owner Steven Cohen converted the building to house self-storage, the structure had been vacant for 20 years.
When planning the self-storage project, Cohen explored the idea of having murals painted on four large doors on the east side of the structure that would depict the building’s history, from horse-drawn deliveries to self-storage. He also saved many of the building’s original windows with the idea of having them painted and displayed along the facility’s interior walls, according to a press release on Guardian’s website.
The artwork created for “Factory Direct: Pittsburgh” can be viewed by the public at both Guardian Self-Storage and the Andy Warhol Museum through Sept. 9. The exhibit is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Artwork at the Guardian facility can be accessed through the entrance marked “Storage.” Donations are welcome.
Guardian Storage Solutions operates 10 facilities in the Pittsburgh area and two in Colorado.