Mother-daughter art show has range of themes and mediums
One legacy that Paula Weiner received from her late mother, artist Anita Kushner, was a treasure trove of art
One legacy that Paula Weiner received from her late mother, artist Anita Kushner, was a treasure trove of paintings, woodcuts, etchings and prints.
But Kushner left her daughter a second legacy: an unequivocal love of art itself.
Weiner celebrates both of those legacies at a show at Spinning Plate Gallery, 5720 Friendship Ave., called “Drawn to Paint, Sculpting a Family.” The exhibit showcases Weiner’s own work — mostly installation pieces and sculptures with aggressive political overtones — alongside many of the hundreds of pieces her mother left her.
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“My mother was very prolific,” Weiner said. “She was drawing on her death bed.”
Kushner (1935-2010), spent a good part of her life living in Philadelphia, as well as in the Jewish state. She exhibited in more than 30 solo shows in museums and galleries in the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel, including at the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Israeli Art, Gallery Two, the American Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, the Museum of Modern Art in Haifa, Israel and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Kushner was the sole artist whose work was displayed at the home of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin during the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979, according to her daughter.
Weiner also has shown her work at several venues, including the Hoyt Institute for Fine Art, the Andy Warhol Museum and the Monmouth Museum, she said.
While a few of Weiner’s pieces seem to be inspired by those of her mother, most of them only relate abstractly to Kushner’s influence and the political activism prevalent in the family’s lives while living both in the United States and in Israel.
The exhibit has a haphazard feel, with no obvious thematic or chronological order. Several of Kushner’s pieces depict street scenes in Israel. Other Kushner pieces include images of Weiner as a baby and a nude drawing of the artist and her lover.
While Kushner never lived in Pittsburgh, Weiner has been here about 20 years, she said. She is primarily a self-taught artist, whose formal training is limited to only a few classes while in college.
A lot of Weiner’s inspiration, she said, stems from her “abhorrence of violence and hatred.” That inspiration can be felt in some of her installation works, such as “War,” which displays disembodied baby doll parts commingled with bullets on a black garbage bag backdrop.
“I grew up in the 1960s with an activist parent,” Weiner said. “I was taught you have to care about your community and other people. We’re all one. That’s an important foundation.
“My mother set the bar for me very high,” Weiner said.
>>The show runs through Sept. 1, with a possible extension, with gallery hours on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Weiner is also available by appointment.
Toby Tabachnick can be reached at