Award #19: First Editions, Bespoke Poetry for Pittsburgh

Man at typewriter
First Editions – bespoke poetry for Pittsburgh

The month of May was merrier for Alexi Morrissey, founder of “First Editions” project, after learning that his idea was chosen to receive an Awesome Pittsburgh grant from a pool of April applicants.

“First Editions” is an audience-generated artwork of short poems created live and on-site at Bricolage Production Company in Downtown Pittsburgh. The artist uses the public’s life experiences as the main content for the poems.  The project allows people to become instant art patrons when they walk in off the street on Liberty Avenue downtown – on their lunch break most likely – and sit with artist Alexi Morrissey in a private, one-on-one session, commissioning a poem from him based on something that is special to them.

“Whatever is important enough to be written about in verse and cast in words” will be interpreted and typed by the artist in a relaxed and personal atmosphere. The poems are typed using a manual typewriter, in real time, on pure cotton, in the presence of the patron and given to the patron upon departure. A digital scan will be made of the cloth with permissions given to the artist for certain usage. The entire process will be a private affair that takes a short amount of time. You can read more at Morrissey’s promo PDF.

Having exhibited nationally and internationally, Morrissey is primarily a collaborator whose interest in technology, public space, and the function of language is highlighted in this project. He holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the Kansas City Art Institute, and lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA. When asked what is unique about his project, Morrissey replied, “Most people do not have the opportunity to commission a new work of contemporary art from an artist directly.”

Beginning on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at Bricolage Production Company (937 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh), “First Editions” will run on a consistent schedule twice a week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and remain open throughout the summer. Cost for patrons is $20.