Gallery District: Albright-Knox and The Burchfield Penney
by Jack Foran
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery celebrates its 150th anniversary this year with three exhibits exploring different aspects of how the gallery got to be the world-class art facility it has developed into during that time. The three historical perspective exhibits will run from November to next March. More immediately on the agenda are two photographic exhibits and one multimedia exhibit. These latter three shows open October 21 and run into January.
Meanwhile, across the street at the Burchfield Penney, the next big show is the juried exhibit called Art in Craft Media, opening October 15, featuring the work of more than 60 regional artists in glass, wood, fiber, clay, and metal.
Also on the Burchfield Penney schedule are a number of films in its Consider the Alternatives documentary series, beginning next Thursday, September 8, with two offerings: We Love You, on impromptu and unofficial so-called Rainbow Gatherings that since the 1970s have attracted tens of thousands of enthusiasts to different US national forests, where they set up temporary cities in the wilderness in a peaceful and potentially transformative communal event; and The Diary of Immaculee, an horrific but inspiring true account of the experiences of a remarkable woman and her rescuers amid Rwanda recent historical events.
Other Consider the Alternatives dates are October 13 and November 17. The October screening will include two films: The Mormon Proposition by filmmaker and ex-Mormon Reed Cowan, examining the church’s nationwide anti-gay-rights, anti-gay-marriage efforts, such as the campaign against California’s Proposition 8, largely by the Mormon-sponsored National Organization for Marriage; and Me, Myself & I, a hand-processed film animation using paper dolls, magazine cutouts, vintage valentines and the like.
The Albright-Knox October 15 openings will include a presentation of the photos of Victoria Sambunaris capturing the American natural landscape and various unnatural permutations. Her images are said to celebrate the intersection of civilization, geology, and natural history. The exhibit will also include archival materials, such as maps, journals, and records of the artist’s travel routes across America for her photographic project.
Also, a display of hitherto little-known color photographs from the Library of Congress’ Farm Security Administration photography collection, selected, printed, and in some cases restored by UB Professor Bruce Jackson. The FSA photographers included the likes of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, and Russell Lee, under the leadership of Roy Stryker. The FSA rural documentation project began in 1935, the same year Kodak started producing Kodachrome film, said to be the most stable fine-grain color film ever made. Most of the tens of thousands of FSA photos are in black and white. Fewer than 2,000 color photographs are known to survive.
Also, the artistic collaborative of Andrea Mancuso and Peter D’Auria called Virocode will present new works exploring the intersection of science and art through a variety of artistic means and methods, including photography, video, sculpture, and digital technologies. The Virocode installation new work picks up about where its presentation in last year’s Beyond/In biennial show left off.
The Albright-Knox anniversary exhibits will run from November 4 to March 4, 2012. One exhibit is about the gallery’s first steps down the modernist path, one is an overview on outlooks and strategies regarding art collecting at the gallery over the years, and one is on the seminal figure in the modernist direction of the gallery, with special reference to the collection of modern sculpture, A. Conger Goodyear.
The first steps component is about the Room of Contemporary Art that was opened at the gallery in 1939. It virtually rescued the gallery from a condition of incipient artistic hardening of arteries, remaking the venue into the vibrant and vital facility it has become. The room became a site dedicated to continuous and rotating presentation of new art, as well as a laboratory for the development of the gallery’s collecting strategy.
The overview component will feature 80 paintings and sculptures by more than 60 artists from the late 19th century to the present. This exhibit will highlight the contributions of such significant figures in the Albright-Knox story as benefactor and collector Seymour H. Knox, Jr., former gallery director Gordon M. Smith, New York scene dealer and Buffalo native Martha Jackson, and collector and benefactor (and subject of the third component exhibit) Goodyear.
Anson Conger Goodyear, scion of a socially prominent family in Buffalo, after a stint as director of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy went on to become the first president of the Museum of Modern Art. During his time in Buffalo he initiated and organized a series of groundbreaking shows on contemporary European sculpture and donated numerous examples—by Frenchmen Emile Antoine Bourdelle and Aristide Malliol, and German Wilhelm Lehmbruck, among other sculptors—to the Albright, and continued to donate generously to the gallery even after leaving Buffalo and heading to the Big Apple.
Preservation Nation: The National Trust in Buffalo
Big doings here on the preservation front. The National Trust for Historic Preservation annual conference, and copious and various lectures and discussions and workshops and tours of the city and environs with an eye to preserving heritage—especially for a place that has so much of it—as an essential element of any rational plan for future viability of the city and region, will be held in Buffalo this year from October 19 to 22.
Educational and field session topics will range from “Transforming historic assets for heritage tourism,” to “Polonia: a new vision for an ethnic neighborhood,” to “Preservation as an economic engine,” to “Renewing our industrial heritage one historic building at a time.” And many more.
More information on this important national event here as the date approaches. (Or in the meantime, have a look at the National Trust for Historic Preservation website. They have a 40-page booklet on the event and associated activities.)
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