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New Exhibition, “Whatever It Takes,” Showcases Pittsburgh Steelers Fans'
Collections, Rituals and Obsessions at CMU’s Miller Gallery
PITTSBURGH—The Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University presents "Whatever It Takes: Steelers Fan Collections, Rituals, and Obsessions," from Aug. 27 through Jan. 30, 2011. Curated by Carnegie Mellon Professor of Art Jon Rubin and Miller Gallery Director Astria Suparak, the exhibition, a first of its kind, looks at the ingenious methods Steelers fans use to construct their own personal and social identities in relation to the team.
"Steelers culture is Pittsburgh’s popular culture, and the fans are its primary creative force," Rubin said.
"Whatever It Takes shows how Steelers fans brilliantly remix and meld the team’s identity with their own through game-day rituals, Steelers dens, fan sites, costumes, tattoos, videos, Web shows, unlicensed merchandise and more," Suparak said.
At 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 10, there will be a tour of Denny DeLuca’s homemade Steelers Den, which has been moved in its entirety from his basement into the gallery. The Steelers Den is crammed floor to ceiling with hundreds of handmade and altered objects, each with its own story that describes both the biography of the team and his autobiography. The exhibition reception, called the "Immaculate Reception," will follow from 6 to 8 p.m., sponsored by the Iron City Brewery Company. Admission to the exhibition and these events are free and open to the public.
In addition to the Steelers Den, the exhibition will include new episodes of Jim Shearer’s weekly, low-budget Web show, "Yinz Luv 'Da Stillers," which is produced entirely from his bedroom, using homemade props, a remarkably clever remix of footage from the previous week's game, popular movies, homemade puppets, hand-painted cutouts and his own engaging persona. The exhibit also includes slide shows of "Great Moments in Unlicensed Pittsburgh Sports Merch" from the "Pittsburgh Sports and Mini Ponies" blog, and a collection of Steelers-related tattoo photos, including the tattoos on Ron Vergerio, who has spent the past eight years tattooing his entire torso with a mural of players, plays, trophies, the former cigar-smoking team owner and a stadium full of fans, all intermingled with the Pittsburgh skyline and flowing hot metal.
Visitors to the gallery will be able to contribute to the exhibition by re-enacting Franco Harris’ famous catch and becoming part of the unforgettable "Immaculate Reception" footage, video-chatting live with patrons in a Steelers bar in Rome, having their Steelers tattoo photographed and added to the exhibition’s growing display, and relaying their game-day rituals and fan obsessions in the video booth.
Admission to the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon is free and open to the public from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. For more information including print-ready images and downloads, visit http://www.cmu.edu/millergallery/exhibitions/whateverittakes.
View a slideshow of images from the exhibit on the Media Relations multimedia page.
Pictured above is one of the photos that will be featured at the Miller Gallery. Photo Credit: Cosley Football Player, Ren Netherland/Animal Photography, 2009