Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avant-garde in the 1970s is over, but there is one work from the exhibition left outside on the Gallery’s Grounds: Charles Clough’s The Arrow, 1972.
Its installation for Wish You Were Here is actually the second time that this work has graced the Albright-Knox’s 1905 Albright Building.
The back story:
On October 31, 1972, acting as a merry Halloween prankster, Charles Clough constructed a DayGlo red plywood sculpture of an arrow and placed it on the Gallery’s Grounds without the museum’s knowledge. With fellow Hallwalls artists Joe Panone and Linda Brooks, Clough came in the dead of night and installed the arrow so that it looked like it was shooting through the wall of limestone at the northeast corner of the 1905 Albright Building.
This guerilla gesture was both a sly Pop reference—the arrow mimicking the Sunoco gas station logo—and a sincere nod to the Minimalist artist Tony Smith, whose iconic sculpture Cigarette, 1961–67, is on the Gallery’s front lawn.
The Arrow was documented by a photograph in The Buffalo News on November 1, 1972, and removed by the museum that same day. It was re-created in its original location behind the museum for Wish You Were Here, according to instructions from the artist.
The Arrow will be up for a while longer, so make sure to pay it a visit next time you’re at the Gallery, or just driving by.