"One of my favorite in-gallery activities is talking about the work exhibited in the gallery. I feel as though I get a fresh perspective on the art, and also get to share ideas on what the art means to me. It certainly helps with gaining an understanding of what it means to be a curator and how I will help craft the Future Curators exhibition."
–Mitch Stepien, Williamsville East High School
AK Teens: Future Curators is a weekly after-school program designed to give local high school students in grades eleven and twelve the opportunity to learn the behind-the-scenes work of a museum curator and the tasks required to create a museum exhibition. The students then use what they have learned during the program to curate their own exhibition featuring the work of area high school artists.
The 2014 AK Teens: Future Curators team is made up of twenty-one dynamic artists, art historians, actors, writers, and entrepreneurs. Five Future Curators have volunteered to share a reflection of their experience at various stages throughout the program. This week’s topic focuses on a Future Curator’s favorite in-gallery or class activity.
Stay tuned for more student reflections as the Future Curators begin to design their own exhibition.
In conjunction with the exhibition Buffalo’s Monuments Men (on view at the Albright-Knox through April 6), the “Art and the War at Home” series showcases materials from the museum’s library and archives to highlight the special programs and initiatives that the Albright-Knox mounted in order to educate, entertain, and encourage Buffalo’s citizens during World War II.
One of these was a series of poster contests that harnessed participants’ artistic talent to create compelling and inspiring messages about special war-related topics. Perhaps you might recognize the names of a relative among the prize winners named in these newspaper clippings!
The earliest contest documented in the library’s scrapbooks is a spring 1942 contest, organized by the art committee of the Buffalo section of the Office of Civilian Defense (OCD) to “celebrate the successes” of the locally made Curtiss Wright P-40 Warhawk plane during air combat in Asia. Gordon B. Washburn, the museum’s director and chairman of the OCD art committee, honored the top three selections at a special event at the Albright-Knox, and all the entered posters were exhibited in our galleries.
Later that year, the museum sponsored the “John J. Albright Blood Donor Contest.” Artists of all ages were invited to design a poster that would inspire enough Buffalonians to give blood that the Red Cross could count on two thousand donations per week. As the contest announcement reminded Buffalo’s artists, “You can fight with Paint! This is your job!”
A 1944 contest took its inspiration from a poster circulated by the US Government reminding citizens of the need for vigilance, secrecy, and the control of information during wartime. This time, the contest was open specifically to high school students—perhaps a commentary on the tendency of teenagers to gossip?
Check back on Monday, March 10, for the next installment in our “Art and the War at Home” series, and visit the exhibition Buffalo’s Monuments Men, on view now.
“The truly profound work will be drawn up by the artist from the innermost depths of his being. There is no murmur of brooks, no song of birds, no rustle of leaves…There is only what I see with my eyes open—and even better, closed.”—Giorgio de Chirico, artist’s manuscript dated 1911–15, cited in J.T. Soby, Giorgio de Chirico (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1955): 245.
Thanks to everyone who participated in Museum Olympics 2014, and congratulations to all the athletes who competed and represented their countries! Here is a recap of some of our favorite #MuseumOlympics tweets.
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Buffalo’s Monument Men exhibition (on view through April 6, 2014) celebrates three of our past employees—Andrew C. Ritchie, Charles P. Parkhurst, and Patrick J. Kelleher—who helped recover and return art that had been stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
Newspaper clippings—preserved in scrapbooks in the collection of the museum’s G. Robert Strauss, Jr. Memorial Library—show that the museum also helped fight the war on the “home front” through a series of lectures, initiatives, events and exhibitions designed to educate and entertain Buffalo’s citizenry.
In May 1942, the Albright-Knox was the first US museum to adopt a special war-time schedule. The museum stayed open late to provide much-needed relaxation to Buffalonians who faced food and gas rationing, the labor demands of homeland production, and the general stress of war.
On Friday, February 14, the Clyfford Still Museum opened an exhibition recreating a 1959 exhibition of Still’s work at the Albright-Knox. Learn more about Still’s relationship with the Albright-Knox in this video.
From a distance, Anselm Kiefer’s la Pietà, 2007, appears to be a bramble of flowers and vines trapped under a glass and steel frame. Upon closer inspection, one will decipher the figure of a man painted on a canvas under the cover of the brambles and flora. The figure is a self-portrait of the artist.
The pietà is a subject in Christian art that depicts the moment when Mary cradled the body of her son Jesus Christ after he was crucified on the cross. In this work, Kiefer is creating his own version of the pietà in which the artist has been sacrificed and is being comforted in the arms of the maternal form of the land.
Kiefer often uses his work to address themes of history, psychology, and memory. Christians believe that Christ sacrificed himself for man’s sins—in this work, the artist could be sacrificing himself for the past actions of the German government during World War II in an attempt to atone for the sins of his country.