Caught on Camera 
April 1976: 
Gilbert and George

Gilbert and George were present at the Albright-Knox in 1976 for the opening of their exhibition, Gilbert and George: The General Jungle or Carrying on Sculpting (April 1–May 2, 1976). The artist duo has worked together for the past 47 years. They are firm proponents of “Art for All” and believe that every faction of life has potential to be art. They have never adopted a singular style and employ all mediums, tending to blur the line between art and artist, reality and fiction, and life and imitation.

Their exhibit at the Albright-Knox showcased an environment of charcoal scenes depicting the two artists walking through the “general jungle” of life where “the people are all living near to beauty, passing by.” Their thoughts are conveyed in the handwritten captions below each work. In line with the artists’ philosophy of the melding of art and life, they allow their personal lives and thoughts to become available to the viewer. The twenty-three charcoal drawings in the exhibition ranged in size from four to fourteen feet across with a uniform height of nine feet. The works not only captured the artists’ figures and scenes from their lives, but enveloped the audience in awareness of Gilbert and George’s self-referential view of art, artists, and the world around them.

***

Content adapted from the exhibition brochure, published in correlation with the exhibition Gilbert and George: The General Jungle or Carry on Sculpting, 1976, and written by former Albright-Knox Curator Linda Cathcart. Images courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Archives, Buffalo, New York. © 2014 Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Top photograph by John D. O’Hern (Albright-Knox staff, Assistant to the Director, Public Relations and Publications)

Recent Acquisition HighlightsRyan McGinness’s Something About the Collapse of Art & Language, 2013A battleground of semantic symbolic icons at once recognizable and yet elusive, Ryan J. McGinness’s Something About the Collapse of Art & Language, 2013, is an orchestrated layering of vibrant colors, designs, and graphics. McGinness creates drawings and paintings that stem from a mental landscape inspired by his urban surroundings and street culture—particularly graffiti, pop iconography, and corporate logos. Employing a layered system of symbols and signs, his works blur the line between abstraction and representation. Learn MoreRyan McGinness (American, born 1972). Something About the Collapse of Art & Language, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 96 x 96 inches (243.8 x 243.8 cm). Gift of Mrs. George A. Forman, by exchange, 2013. © 2014 Ryan McGinness / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Recent Acquisition Highlights
Ryan McGinness’s Something About the Collapse of Art & Language, 2013

A battleground of semantic symbolic icons at once recognizable and yet elusive, Ryan J. McGinness’s Something About the Collapse of Art & Language, 2013, is an orchestrated layering of vibrant colors, designs, and graphics. McGinness creates drawings and paintings that stem from a mental landscape inspired by his urban surroundings and street culture—particularly graffiti, pop iconography, and corporate logos. Employing a layered system of symbols and signs, his works blur the line between abstraction and representation. Learn More

Ryan McGinness (American, born 1972). 
Something About the Collapse of Art & Language, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 96 x 96 inches (243.8 x 243.8 cm). Gift of Mrs. George A. Forman, by exchange, 2013. © 2014 Ryan McGinness / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Dürer-Picasso Connection

Kate Soudant, Albright-Knox Art Gallery docent
August 2, 2014

During a recent tour I gave to campers ranging in age from 7 to 14, I was once again shown the power of art.

While looking at Pablo Picasso’s Harlequin (Project for a Monument), 1935, I started by asking the group what they could see in the picture. The youngest and smallest in the group blurted out, ”Albrecht Dürer.” The rest of the group giggled a bit, mainly because not one of them had heard of the artist Albrecht Dürer. When I asked the young boy why this work reminded him of Dürer, he stated, “I saw a picture of Albrecht Dürer once before and this reminds me of him.”

This made me ponder the possible connection between Dürer and Picasso and come to the following insight: While Albrecht Dürer preceded Pablo Picasso by more than 400 years, they shared an interest in geometric forms. Picasso, a painter and sculptor, is well known for being a leader in the development of Cubism, a style of art that breaks objects down into geometric forms. Dürer, who was not only a painter, engraver, and printmaker but also a mathematician, created a method of depicting a cube in two dimensions through a linear perspective and developed a geometric shape—the triangular trapezohedron, known more commonly as the Dürer Cube or Dürer’s Solid. This new shape is visible in his iconic print Melencolia I, 1514, which was recently on view as part of the exhibition Albrecht Dürer: Highlights from the Collection. Melencolia I also includes depictions of tools of geometry and the first depiction of a mathematical puzzle known as a “magic square.”

Whether Picasso thought of or was influenced by Dürer when he created his Cubist works will remain unknown, but this boy’s keen insight allowed me to ponder a possible connection between these two artists and to look at two works I have seen many times in a new and exciting way.

 

Caught on Camera
June 1976: Michelle Phillips (of The Mamas and the Papas)

Michelle Phillips, actress and last surviving original member of the Mamas and the Papas, visited the Albright-Knox in 1976 to view the exhibition
Paintings, Drawings and Other Work by Edward Ruscha, the first museum survey to concentrate on paintings by the artist. It was on display from June 8 to July 11, 1976. Above, Phillips and Ruscha converse during the opening of the exhibition.

Both Phillips and Ruscha pursued diverse artistic endeavors. In addition to having a lucrative musical career, Phillips began acting in the 1970s. Ruscha is known for his paintings, drawings, photographs, and books rooted in commercialism and influenced by the Hollywood film industry. He also produced a series of lesser-known short films, including Miracle (1975), in which Phillips portrays the main character’s love interest.  

The state of California provided setting and inspiration for the work of both Phillips and Ruscha. Perhaps they were “California Dreamin’,” as Phillips so naturally put it.

Ruscha’s Every Building on the Sunset Strip (Los Angeles, 1966) and other books by the artist are currently on view in the Gallery for Small Sculpture as part of the exhibition Printed Editions in the Sixties and Sevenites: LeWitt, Roth, Ruscha through Sunday, January 4, 2015.  

Images courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Archives, Buffalo, New York. © 2014 Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Recent Acquisition HighlightsMickalene Thomas’s Interior: Monet’s Blue Foyer, 2012Mickalene Thomas is best known for her elaborate painterly practice involving rhinestones and a colorful palette that explores concepts of beauty and questions what it means to be a woman. With compositions featuring depictions of strong African-American women, reminiscent of 1970s style Blaxploitation, her body of work radiates sexuality and explores notions of black female celebrity and identity. Inspired by popular culture, Pop art, 1970s color palettes, and kitsch from her childhood, Thomas’s practice has grown out of her interest in and intense study of art history and the classical genres of portraiture, landscape, and still life painting. Learn More Mickalene Thomas (American, born 1971). Interior: Monet’s Blue Foyer, 2012. Rhinestones, acrylic, oil, and enamel on canvas on wood panel, 108 x 240 inches (274.3 x 609.6 cm). Sarah Norton Goodyear Fund, 2013.

Recent Acquisition Highlights
Mickalene Thomas’s Interior: Monet’s Blue Foyer, 2012

Mickalene Thomas is best known for her elaborate painterly practice involving rhinestones and a colorful palette that explores concepts of beauty and questions what it means to be a woman. With compositions featuring depictions of strong African-American women, reminiscent of 1970s style Blaxploitation, her body of work radiates sexuality and explores notions of black female celebrity and identity. Inspired by popular culture, Pop art, 1970s color palettes, and kitsch from her childhood, Thomas’s practice has grown out of her interest in and intense study of art history and the classical genres of portraiture, landscape, and still life painting. Learn More 

Mickalene Thomas (American, born 1971). Interior: Monet’s Blue Foyer, 2012. 
Rhinestones, acrylic, oil, and enamel on canvas on wood panel, 108 x 240 inches (274.3 x 609.6 cm). Sarah Norton Goodyear Fund, 2013.

Caught on Camera
September 1972: Sam Francis

Sam Francis’s career as a painter and printmaker was brought about by fate more than anything else. He began as a pre-med student studying biology and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, which was interrupted by military service. While training to be a pilot with the United States Army Air Corps, he suffered an injury that developed into spinal tuberculosis. During the three-year recovery period, he began to paint as a form of distraction. Once he was informed that his illness would keep him from a medical career, he decided to become an artist.

Above, the artist stands in front of The Whiteness of the Whale, 1957, at the Members’ Preview of the exhibition Sam Francis: Paintings 1947–1972. This was the first retrospective presentation of Francis’s work, and spanned a quarter century while displaying a rare consistency of personal style. In addition to the collection of paintings, a wide selection of the artist’s watercolors was shown as a leitmotif of his evolving attitudes to form and color.

Francis intended to overwhelm the viewer with color, and blue and white were often the dominant themes in his work. His writings on paintings and color are highly visual themselves. In 1959, he wrote, “These paintings lie under the cloud that soared over the inlaid sea… You can’t interpret the dream of the canvas for this dream is the end of the hunt on the heavenly mountain—where nothing remains but the phoenix [symbol of rebirth] caught in the midst of lovely blueness.”* Untitled, 1956, the work that most clearly embodies this statement, is on view as part of Sincerely Yours: Treasures of the Queen City through September 14, 2014.

*In The New American Painting: As Shown in Eight European Countries 19581959 (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1959): 28. Images courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Archives, Buffalo, New York. © 2014 Albright-Knox Art Gallery 

Recent Acquisition HighlightsJaan Aare Poldaas’s Vertical Composition (Blue Black), 1990Although Jaan Poldaas studied to be an architect, he has emerged as one of the most highly acclaimed minimalist painters in Canada. Known for his vibrant sense of color, Poldaas often uses enamels straight out of the can, applying them directly to the canvas. He is interested in exploring the interaction between primary and secondary colors in relation to black. Learn MoreJaan Aare Poldaas (Canadian, born 1948). Vertical Composition (Blue Black), 1990. Oil on canvas, 90 x 36 inches (228.6 x 91.4 cm). Bequest of Arthur B. Michael, by exchange, and Sarah Norton Goodyear Fund, 2012. © 1990 Jaan Poldaas

Recent Acquisition Highlights
Jaan Aare Poldaas’s Vertical Composition (Blue Black), 1990

Although Jaan Poldaas studied to be an architect, he has emerged as one of the most highly acclaimed minimalist painters in Canada. Known for his vibrant sense of color, Poldaas often uses enamels straight out of the can, applying them directly to the canvas. He is interested in exploring the interaction between primary and secondary colors in relation to black. Learn More

Jaan Aare Poldaas (Canadian, born 1948). Vertical Composition (Blue Black), 1990. Oil on canvas, 90 x 36 inches (228.6 x 91.4 cm). Bequest of Arthur B. Michael, by exchange, and Sarah Norton Goodyear Fund, 2012. © 1990 Jaan Poldaas

Beyond Landscape: A Community ResponseThursday, July 3–Sunday, August 24, 2014 On view in the Education Exhibition Hallway As part of the exhibition Anselm Kiefer: Beyond Landscape, the community is invited to participate by providing feedback and reflections in text, image, audio, and video formats. These responses, as varied as they are visionary, have ranged from written observations and photographic re-imaginings of Kiefer’s monumental paintings to original works inspired by landscapes around the world. As a complement to the Beyond Landscape blog, where submissions are published every Friday, this exhibition presents selections from the more than 1,200 physical submissions we have received in our Response Room, located in the 1905 Albright Building, and is designed to display the expansive creativity and insight provided by visitors of all ages to the Albright-Knox.

Beyond Landscape: A Community Response
Thursday, July 3–Sunday, August 24, 2014 
On view in the Education Exhibition Hallway 

As part of the exhibition Anselm Kiefer: Beyond Landscape, the community is invited to participate by providing feedback and reflections in text, image, audio, and video formats. These responses, as varied as they are visionary, have ranged from written observations and photographic re-imaginings of Kiefer’s monumental paintings to original works inspired by landscapes around the world. As a complement to the Beyond Landscape blog, where submissions are published every Friday, this exhibition presents selections from the more than 1,200 physical submissions we have received in our Response Room, located in the 1905 Albright Building, and is designed to display the expansive creativity and insight provided by visitors of all ages to the Albright-Knox.

Caught on Cameraca. 1963: Gypsy Rose LeeGypsy Rose Lee (1911–1970), an American burlesque entertainer, actress, author, and playwright, visited the Albright-Knox with Lee, her Chinese Crested dog. Ms. Lee was an avid collector and art lover. Her collection included works by Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983), Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Marc Chagall (French, born Belarus, 1887–1985), and Max Ernst (French, born Germany, 1891–1976), all of which were reportedly gifts to her by the artists. After extensive research, we cannot identify a particular event or exhibition that prompted her visit to the museum. The date of the above photograph is unknown but it is believed to be from 1963. We can only guess that she greatly admired our Fine Art Collection and perhaps made several connections with her own. 
Above, Gypsy Rose Lee tours the galleries with Albright-Knox Director Gordon M. Smith.  Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Archives, Buffalo, New York. © 2014 Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Caught on Camera
ca. 1963: Gypsy Rose Lee

Gypsy Rose Lee (1911–1970), an American burlesque entertainer, actress, author, and playwright, visited the Albright-Knox with Lee, her Chinese Crested dog. Ms. Lee was an avid collector and art lover. Her collection included works by Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983), Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Marc Chagall (French, born Belarus, 1887–1985), and Max Ernst (French, born Germany, 1891–1976), all of which were reportedly gifts to her by the artists. After extensive research, we cannot identify a particular event or exhibition that prompted her visit to the museum. The date of the above photograph is unknown but it is believed to be from 1963. We can only guess that she greatly admired our Fine Art Collection and perhaps made several connections with her own. 

Above, Gypsy Rose Lee tours the galleries with Albright-Knox Director Gordon M. Smith.  Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Archives, Buffalo, New York. © 2014 Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Recent Acquisition Highlights
Jaume Plensa’s Laura, 2012

Working with conventional materials such as aluminum, bronze, glass, marble, and steel, often combined with less tangible materials like light, water, sound, and video, Plensa’s monumental sculptures take on many forms, all with the intent to evoke emotion and discussion amongst those who experience them. Laura, 2012, combines institutional and classical history into a new cultural beacon for the Buffalo community. Learn More

Jaume Plensa (Spanish, born 1955). Laura, 2012. Marble, lead, and stainless steel, 240 x 72 x 96 inches (609.6 x 182.9 x 243.8 cm). George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange, 2012. © 2012 Jaume Plensa