Recent Acquisition HighlightsTony Conrad’s Yellow Movie 2/23–24/73, 1973The artist experiments at the intersection of filmic processes and painting—which were part of the broader 1970s postmodern trend toward the cross-pollination of media—resulting in works like Yellow Movie 2/23–24/73, 1973. This work hails from a series Conrad made with house paint; in the series, blocks of color framed by black borders yellow over time through a destabilizing process that mimics photographic development or the changing frames of a film. The series was inspired by a revelation Conrad had while staring at the yellowing paint on the ceiling above his bed. Learn MoreTony Conrad (American, born 1940). Yellow Movie 2/23–24/73, 1973.  Emulsion: sterling gray low lustre enamel (water base), thick textured; base: dusty rose seamless paper, 92 x 107 inches (233.7 x 271.8 cm).Charles Clifton Fund, by exchange, 2012.

Recent Acquisition Highlights
Tony Conrad’s Yellow Movie 2/23–24/73, 1973

The artist experiments at the intersection of filmic processes and painting—which were part of the broader 1970s postmodern trend toward the cross-pollination of media—resulting in works like Yellow Movie 2/23–24/73, 1973. This work hails from a series Conrad made with house paint; in the series, blocks of color framed by black borders yellow over time through a destabilizing process that mimics photographic development or the changing frames of a film. The series was inspired by a revelation Conrad had while staring at the yellowing paint on the ceiling above his bed. Learn More

Tony Conrad (American, born 1940). Yellow Movie 2/23–24/73, 1973.  Emulsion: sterling gray low lustre enamel (water base), thick textured; base: dusty rose seamless paper, 92 x 107 inches (233.7 x 271.8 cm).
Charles Clifton Fund, by exchange, 2012.

Anselm Kiefer, die Milchstrasse, 1985-87
Upon first encountering Anselm Kiefer’s large-scale painting die Milchstrasse, 1985-87, one could easily be struck with a feeling of despair or loss upon viewing a seemingly barren and desolate field. Having been born amidst the bombing of Germany in 1945 and grown up in a land ravaged by World War II, it is easy to see how this landscape could be based on what the artist saw around him during his childhood in western Germany.
As is true with many of Kiefer’s works, however, there is more to this landscape than simply a barren field. This work is not only a painting, but includes many objects the artist has incorporated into the work and adhered to the canvas. One such object is the lead funnel seen hanging in the middle of the canvas. The funnel is intended to refer to the medieval practice of alchemy by which it was believed that lead could be transformed into gold. This idea of something simple changed into something extraordinary reminds the viewer of the possibility of transformation. 
The funnel leads into a white gash near the center of the painting that also includes the title, die Milchstrasse, or “the Milky Way.” The white gash brings lightness to the painting and makes a reference to the heavens. The funnel has often been used in art history to reference to the voice of God. In this painting, a glow seems to spread out across the barren landscape from the funnel, anchored in this white gash as if God is renewing the land.
Upon closer viewing, one can see that the landscape is not completely desolate: there is hope represented through some light spreading across the center of the field. By using landscape as a vehicle to address larger themes, Kiefer could be making the statement that while Germany suffered great loss and was responsible for great atrocities, it can rebuild itself and start again—an important statement for Kiefer to make as one of the first generation of German citizens living with the atrocities of what his country did during World War II.
This work is on view as part of Anselm Kiefer: Beyond Landscape through October 5, 2014.Anselm Kiefer (German, born 1945). die Milschstrasse (The Milky Way), 1985–87. Emulsion paint, oil, acrylic, and shellac on canvas with applied wires and lead, 150 x 222 inches (381 x 563.9 cm). In Celebration of the 125th Anniversary of The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, General and Restricted Purchase Funds, 1988.

Anselm Kiefer, die Milchstrasse, 1985-87

Upon first encountering Anselm Kiefer’s large-scale painting die Milchstrasse, 1985-87, one could easily be struck with a feeling of despair or loss upon viewing a seemingly barren and desolate field. Having been born amidst the bombing of Germany in 1945 and grown up in a land ravaged by World War II, it is easy to see how this landscape could be based on what the artist saw around him during his childhood in western Germany.

As is true with many of Kiefer’s works, however, there is more to this landscape than simply a barren field. This work is not only a painting, but includes many objects the artist has incorporated into the work and adhered to the canvas. One such object is the lead funnel seen hanging in the middle of the canvas. The funnel is intended to refer to the medieval practice of alchemy by which it was believed that lead could be transformed into gold. This idea of something simple changed into something extraordinary reminds the viewer of the possibility of transformation. 

The funnel leads into a white gash near the center of the painting that also includes the title, die Milchstrasse, or “the Milky Way.” The white gash brings lightness to the painting and makes a reference to the heavens. The funnel has often been used in art history to reference to the voice of God. In this painting, a glow seems to spread out across the barren landscape from the funnel, anchored in this white gash as if God is renewing the land.

Upon closer viewing, one can see that the landscape is not completely desolate: there is hope represented through some light spreading across the center of the field. By using landscape as a vehicle to address larger themes, Kiefer could be making the statement that while Germany suffered great loss and was responsible for great atrocities, it can rebuild itself and start again—an important statement for Kiefer to make as one of the first generation of German citizens living with the atrocities of what his country did during World War II.

This work is on view as part of Anselm Kiefer: Beyond Landscape through October 5, 2014.

Anselm Kiefer (German, born 1945). die Milschstrasse (The Milky Way), 1985–87. Emulsion paint, oil, acrylic, and shellac on canvas with applied wires and lead, 150 x 222 inches (381 x 563.9 cm). In Celebration of the 125th Anniversary of The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, General and Restricted Purchase Funds, 1988.

Caught on CameraMay 1957: Mark RothkoThe 1950s and 1960s presented a marked increase in acquisitions by the museum, then known as the Albright Art Gallery, a direct result of the partnership between Director Gordon M. Smith and Seymour H. Knox, Jr., and their passion for expanding the museum’s Collection. 
On May 15, 1957, the museum hosted an opening for an exhibition highlighting works acquired between 1954 and 1957. Many contemporary artists attended the opening, including Mark Rothko, seen here with Orange and Yellow, 1956, his iconic work in the museum’s Collection. Rothko was happy with the museum’s purchase of this work, along with another, Untitled, 1961, and wrote to Smith, “I am extremely pleased with your choices, since to my mind among these larger paintings are to be found the most poignant resolutions of my ideas.”
Orange and Yellow is among many works acquired during this period that will be on view as part of Sincerely Yours: Treasures of the Queen City. Join us on July 5 from 4 to 7 pm for an opening celebration with free admission, family activities, food trucks, and more.
Content adapted from The Long Curve: 150 Years of Visionary Collecting at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (published by Skira/Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 2011). Image by the Towne Studio, Buffalo, and Courtesy Albright-Knox Art Gallery Archives, Buffalo, New York. © 2014 Albright-Knox Art Gallery
 

Caught on Camera
May 1957: Mark Rothko

The 1950s and 1960s presented a marked increase in acquisitions by the museum, then known as the Albright Art Gallery, a direct result of the partnership between Director Gordon M. Smith and Seymour H. Knox, Jr., and their passion for expanding the museum’s Collection.

On May 15, 1957, the museum hosted an opening for an exhibition highlighting works acquired between 1954 and 1957. Many contemporary artists attended the opening, including Mark Rothko, seen here with Orange and Yellow, 1956, his iconic work in the museum’s Collection. Rothko was happy with the museum’s purchase of this work, along with another, Untitled, 1961, and wrote to Smith, “I am extremely pleased with your choices, since to my mind among these larger paintings are to be found the most poignant resolutions of my ideas.”

Orange and Yellow is among many works acquired during this period that will be on view as part of Sincerely Yours: Treasures of the Queen City. Join us on July 5 from 4 to 7 pm for an opening celebration with free admission, family activities, food trucks, and more.

Content adapted from The Long Curve: 150 Years of Visionary Collecting at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (published by Skira/Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 2011). Image by the Towne Studio, Buffalo, and Courtesy Albright-Knox Art Gallery Archives, Buffalo, New York. © 2014 Albright-Knox Art Gallery

 

Recent Acquisition HighlightsAngela Bulloch’s Chain A 5:1:56:7, 2001Angela Bulloch’s sculptural light installations reference the symbiotic relationship between man and machine within the context of an artwork. Interested in how we organize and process different types of information, Bulloch is mainly influenced by the location in which she makes a work and her daily interactions with the outside world, such as going to the cinema or listening to the radio. Learn MoreAngela Bulloch (Canadian, born 1966). Chain A 5:1:56:7, 2001. Waxed birchwood, printed aluminum panel, white glass, diffusion foil, cables, RGB lighting systems, five DMX boxes, and one Black Box, 19 5/8 x 118 1/8 x 19 5/8 inches (49.9 x 300 x 49.9 cm). Elisabeth H. Gates Fund, by exchange, and Charles W. Goodyear and Mrs. George M. G. Forman Funds, by exchange, 2012.

Recent Acquisition Highlights
Angela Bulloch’s Chain A 5:1:56:7, 2001

Angela Bulloch’s sculptural light installations reference the symbiotic relationship between man and machine within the context of an artwork. Interested in how we organize and process different types of information, Bulloch is mainly influenced by the location in which she makes a work and her daily interactions with the outside world, such as going to the cinema or listening to the radio. Learn More

Angela Bulloch (Canadian, born 1966). 
Chain A 5:1:56:7, 2001. Waxed birchwood, printed aluminum panel, white glass, diffusion foil, cables, RGB lighting systems, five DMX boxes, and one Black Box, 19 5/8 x 118 1/8 x 19 5/8 inches (49.9 x 300 x 49.9 cm). Elisabeth H. Gates Fund, by exchange, and Charles W. Goodyear and Mrs. George M. G. Forman Funds, by exchange, 2012.

Albrecht Dürer, Melencolia I, 1514
Albrecht Dürer’s 1514 print, Melencolia I, is arguably one of the most famous prints of the Renaissance period, if not the entire scope of art history. Two versions of this print are currently on view as part of the exhibition Albrecht Dürer: Highlights from the Collection through July 6. Both prints, which entered the Collection as part of major gifts to the Albright-Knox, are second impressions, meaning the plate used to create the print was altered slightly by the artist after the first round of prints was created. While not all later impressions were created by the artist, it is firmly believed these prints were made by Dürer’s own hands.
The work itself has been debated and discussed throughout art history and there are many meanings associated with it. The figure depicted in the center is a winged female who appears to be brooding and is intended by the artist to be a visual representation of the melancholic state of being. This is supported by the abandoned tools lying at her feet and the compass depicted idly in her hand. The bat-like creature in the background bears the title of this painting as he flys over the watery landscape, and the rainbow could be seen as an indication of an apocalyptic, world-ending event.
The artist is making the statement that being in a state of melacholy can cause one to stop doing what they need to be doing. In this work, the figure has stopped creating. It has been argued that Melencolia I contains a personal element: Dürer intended the figure and the work to represent the life of the artist. Dürer is expressing how being an artist can be depressing because it is a difficult burden to have so much imagination that one can become depressed when he cannot give life to his creative imaginings through artistic output.
Dürer also had a great interest in mathematics and geometry, which is demonstrated in this work. The square on the wall behind the figure and under the bell is known as a “magic square,” a construction in which all four rows of figures add up to the same number no matter which direction the rows are added. In this instance, the numbers always add up to thirty-four. The magic square was a fairly new concept at the time and it is believed that Dürer learned of it during his travels in Italy. The depicition of this magic square is the first time this figure appears in a work in Northern Europe, and illustrates Dürer’s great interest in mathematics.
Albrecht Dϋrer (German, 1471–1528). Melencolia I, 1514. Engraving, edition 2/50, 9 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches (23.49 x 18.41 cm.). Gift of Frederic P. Norton, 1999.

Albrecht Dürer, Melencolia I, 1514

Albrecht Dürer’s 1514 print, Melencolia I, is arguably one of the most famous prints of the Renaissance period, if not the entire scope of art history. Two versions of this print are currently on view as part of the exhibition Albrecht Dürer: Highlights from the Collection through July 6. Both prints, which entered the Collection as part of major gifts to the Albright-Knox, are second impressions, meaning the plate used to create the print was altered slightly by the artist after the first round of prints was created. While not all later impressions were created by the artist, it is firmly believed these prints were made by Dürer’s own hands.

The work itself has been debated and discussed throughout art history and there are many meanings associated with it. The figure depicted in the center is a winged female who appears to be brooding and is intended by the artist to be a visual representation of the melancholic state of being. This is supported by the abandoned tools lying at her feet and the compass depicted idly in her hand. The bat-like creature in the background bears the title of this painting as he flys over the watery landscape, and the rainbow could be seen as an indication of an apocalyptic, world-ending event.

The artist is making the statement that being in a state of melacholy can cause one to stop doing what they need to be doing. In this work, the figure has stopped creating. It has been argued that Melencolia I contains a personal element: Dürer intended the figure and the work to represent the life of the artist. Dürer is expressing how being an artist can be depressing because it is a difficult burden to have so much imagination that one can become depressed when he cannot give life to his creative imaginings through artistic output.

Dürer also had a great interest in mathematics and geometry, which is demonstrated in this work. The square on the wall behind the figure and under the bell is known as a “magic square,” a construction in which all four rows of figures add up to the same number no matter which direction the rows are added. In this instance, the numbers always add up to thirty-four. The magic square was a fairly new concept at the time and it is believed that Dürer learned of it during his travels in Italy. The depicition of this magic square is the first time this figure appears in a work in Northern Europe, and illustrates Dürer’s great interest in mathematics.

Albrecht Dϋrer (German, 1471–1528). Melencolia I, 1514. Engraving, edition 2/50, 9 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches (23.49 x 18.41 cm.). Gift of Frederic P. Norton, 1999.

Reconstructing Fact and Myth

Recently we posted about our new exhibition in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Gallery for New Media, Ellie Ga: It Was Restored Again. The exhibition, Ga’s first solo showing in an American museum, features two new works from her most recent series, “Square, Octagon, Circle,” 2012–14, which uses the ancient Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, as a point of departure. Today we will take a closer look at one of the two works featured.

It Was Restored Again, 2013,  presents the viewer with an alternative means of envisioning the lighthouse—through 160 disparate images that stitch together centuries of efforts to accurately represent the lost Wonder. These include written and verbal descriptions, as well as images rendered by historians, archaeologists, artists, proud Alexandrians, and amateurs. Today, the lighthouse continues to serve as a civic symbol of the city of Alexandria. A stylized representation of the monument even appears on the city flag, government seal, and seal of Alexandria University. To collect some of the images she uses in the work, Ga said, “I set myself the task of collecting every image of the lighthouse I encounter: plastered around town in numerous iterations and found in internet cafes, brightly painted murals, buses and university logos.”*

Here, Ga creates an intersection where fact and myth rebuild the Pharos Lighthouse through replication. Ga’s works draw viewers into a world of memory, in which fact is always shadowed by ownership disputes, myth, and centuries of speculation.

Ellie Ga: It Was Restored Again will be on view through September 14, 2014.

Ellie Ga (American, born 1976). Details and installation view of It Was Restored Again, 2013. Double slide projection: 160 slides, edition of 2 plus 1 AP, dimensions variable. Images courtesy the artist and Bureau, New York.

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*Website accessed June 25, 2014: http://notesfromalexandria.wordpress.com/

Book AKFrida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera
Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954) is perhaps best known for her self-portraits. While self-portraits are a common theme for many artists, Kahlo brought her unique style to the form, including not only a representation of herself but often depicting other items that were significant to her and/or the particular point in her life during which she created each work.
If one can accurately read a self-portrait by Kahlo, he or she will understand a great deal about the artist. This is true of the 1938 painting Self-Portrait with Monkey in the Collection of the Albright-Knox. In this work, Kahlo depicts herself in front of a lush background of tropical leaves which are native to Mexico, her home country. The bone-like necklace she wears around her neck is also typical and helps to show the viewer how Kahlo embraced and celebrated Mexican traditions, not only in her art but in her everyday life.
Perhaps the most noticeable feature of this painting besides Kahlo herself is the small monkey whose arm is draped across the artist’s shoulder. Kahlo often included depictions of her many pets in her work, including many representations of her favorite pet spider monkey, Fulang-Chang, seen here. One of the great disappointments of Kahlo’s life was her inability to bear children, and pets became substitute children for the artist. The comforting gesture of the monkey has also been interpreted as a substitute for both her husband and as a symbol of promiscuity. Kahlo created this painting during the period in which she and her husband, painter Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886–1957), were divorced. While they later remarried, both led active romantic lives while apart from each other, and the depiction of the monkey could be a representation of this time in their lives.
Learn more about Frida Kahlo by reading the current Book AK selection, Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera. Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954). Self-Portrait with Monkey, 1938. Oil on Masonite, 16 x 12 (40.64 x 30.48 cm). Bequest of A. Conger Goodyear, 1966. © 2010 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Book AK
Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera

Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954) is perhaps best known for her self-portraits. While self-portraits are a common theme for many artists, Kahlo brought her unique style to the form, including not only a representation of herself but often depicting other items that were significant to her and/or the particular point in her life during which she created each work.

If one can accurately read a self-portrait by Kahlo, he or she will understand a great deal about the artist. This is true of the 1938 painting Self-Portrait with Monkey in the Collection of the Albright-Knox. In this work, Kahlo depicts herself in front of a lush background of tropical leaves which are native to Mexico, her home country. The bone-like necklace she wears around her neck is also typical and helps to show the viewer how Kahlo embraced and celebrated Mexican traditions, not only in her art but in her everyday life.

Perhaps the most noticeable feature of this painting besides Kahlo herself is the small monkey whose arm is draped across the artist’s shoulder. Kahlo often included depictions of her many pets in her work, including many representations of her favorite pet spider monkey, Fulang-Chang, seen here. One of the great disappointments of Kahlo’s life was her inability to bear children, and pets became substitute children for the artist. The comforting gesture of the monkey has also been interpreted as a substitute for both her husband and as a symbol of promiscuity. Kahlo created this painting during the period in which she and her husband, painter Diego Rivera (Mexican, 18861957), were divorced. While they later remarried, both led active romantic lives while apart from each other, and the depiction of the monkey could be a representation of this time in their lives.

Learn more about Frida Kahlo by reading the current Book AK selection, Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera. 

Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954). Self-Portrait with Monkey, 1938. Oil on Masonite, 16 x 12 (40.64 x 30.48 cm). Bequest of A. Conger Goodyear, 1966. © 2010 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Roy Lichtenstein
Head—Red and Yellow, 1962

The source for Head—Red and Yellow was a vacation newspaper advertisement in which a smiling woman throws a beach ball. Lichtenstein appropriated just the woman’s head and depicted it using flat, bright colors. The dots seen on her face and neck replicate the printing industry’s Benday process, developed in 1879 by the newspaper engraver Benjamin Day and used to create tonal variation through size and spacing—the smaller and more closely placed the Benday dots, the darker the tone produced. Lichtenstein did not vary the dots, however; instead, he applied them using a screen with evenly punched holes.

USA plays in the FIFA World Cup today, June 26, vs. Germany.

Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923–1997). Head—Red and Yellow, 1962. Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches (121.9 x 121.9 cm). Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1962. © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

ARGENTINA
Guillermo Kuitca
32 Seating Plans, 2007

… blurring lines is Guillermo Kuitca’s 32 Seating Plans, 2007, made from the seating charts of famous opera houses found online, digitally manipulated, and then printed and immersed in water until they bled into romantic semi-abstractions.

ARGENTINA plays in the FIFA World Cup today, June 25, vs. Nigeria.

Guillermo Kuitca (Argentine, born 1961). 32 Seating Plans, 2007. Mixed media on paper, thirty-two drawings, each framed in Plexiglas, 16 5/8 x 14 1/8 x 1 1/4 inches (42.23 x 35.88 x 3.175 cm); each sheet: 11 x 8 1/2 inches (27.94 x 21.59 cm). George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange, 2008. ©  2007 Guillermo Kuitca

Caught on Camera
October 20, 1969: Press Conference for 109 Obras de Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buenos Aires, Argentina

From October 23 through November 30, 1969, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery loaned 109 paintings to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the exhibition 109 Obras de Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The exhibition, composed of a range of modern masterpieces from the Collection of the Albright-Knox, was the first of its kind in a country that did not at that time have much exposure to modern and contemporary art from Europe and America. The Museo Nacional advertised heavily on billboards, posters, television, and radio to promote the exhibition, and local theaters presented showings of Gallery—A View of Time, a short film commissioned by the Albright-Knox. Albright-Knox staff members also prepared a 134-page illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition.

A similar loaned exhibition took place the preceding year when works were sent to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., but the preparations for the Buenos Aires exhibition, and the logistics involved in shipping fine art more than 5,500 miles, were admitted to be “more complex.” The preparation and effort was worthwhile, however, as a total of 138,000 people viewed the exhibition in forty days, making it the most attended and most important exhibition of the year in Buenos Aires.

Seymour H. Knox, Jr.’s relationship with South America, and with Argentina in particular, represents a fascinating, though relatively unknown, chapter of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s collecting history. Knox first visited Buenos Aires during the early 1930s, when the United States Polo Team competed in the 1932 Argentine Open Championship and Copa De Las Americas. He continued to frequent Argentina over the course of the next thirty years, and as time went on, as his interests shifted to experimental art, he began to acquire the work of contemporary Argentine artists. Knox’s strong relationship with Argentina resulted in the works of many Argentine artists, including Julio Le Parc, Luis R. Tomasello, and Miguel Angel Vidal among many others, entering the museum’s Collection in the 1970s. 

Seen above, Albright-Knox Art Gallery representatives, including Knox and Director Gordon M. Smith, address members of the press regarding the exhibition. In the background is Wassily Kandinsky’s (Russian, 1866–1944) Fragment 2 for Composition VII, 1913. A few days after this press conference, Knox and Smith accompanied the exhibition to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires. 

Content was taken from The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy Annual Report, 1969–1970. Images courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Archives, Buffalo, New York. © 2014 Albright-Knox Art Gallery.