The Beauty of Snow
John Pfahl’s Nursery Topsoil Pile (winter), Lancaster, NY reminds us that the piles of snow that build up next to streets and in parking lots after a big storm can be beautiful. The Burchfield Penney Art Center across the street from the Albright-Knox owns a different version of this photograph.
IMAGE: John Pfahl (American, born 1939). Nursery Topsoil Pile (winter), Lancaster, NY from the series “Piles,” 1994. Chromogenic color print, edition 6/25, 16 x 20 inches (40.6 x 50.8 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Edmund Hayes Fund, 2001. © 1994 John Pfahl.

The Beauty of Snow

John Pfahl’s Nursery Topsoil Pile (winter), Lancaster, NY reminds us that the piles of snow that build up next to streets and in parking lots after a big storm can be beautiful. The Burchfield Penney Art Center across the street from the Albright-Knox owns a different version of this photograph.

IMAGE: John Pfahl (American, born 1939). Nursery Topsoil Pile (winter), Lancaster, NY from the series “Piles,” 1994. Chromogenic color print, edition 6/25, 16 x 20 inches (40.6 x 50.8 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Edmund Hayes Fund, 2001. © 1994 John Pfahl.

A Halloween Mini-Series: Bloody, Bloody
This year we’re celebrating Halloween by featuring works in our Collection that remind us of classic horror films. With the remake of Carrie in theatres now, let’s start there.
Joseph Marioni is known for his huge, pseudo-monochromatic paintings. Marioni strongly maintains that these paintings are not actually monochromatic, since he uses many different hues as he builds the layers of paint. Regardless, the blood red color of Marioni’s Red Painting got us thinking about the pig’s blood that covers Carrie as she wreaks havoc on her town.
IMAGE: © 1995 Joseph Marioni

A Halloween Mini-Series: Bloody, Bloody

This year we’re celebrating Halloween by featuring works in our Collection that remind us of classic horror films. With the remake of Carrie in theatres now, let’s start there.

Joseph Marioni is known for his huge, pseudo-monochromatic paintings. Marioni strongly maintains that these paintings are not actually monochromatic, since he uses many different hues as he builds the layers of paint. Regardless, the blood red color of Marioni’s Red Painting got us thinking about the pig’s blood that covers Carrie as she wreaks havoc on her town.

IMAGE: © 1995 Joseph Marioni

Behind the Work:
Franz West’s Meeting Point 3, 2004

The bright-yellow abstract sculpture Meeting Point 3 is the work of one of Austria’s most well-known artists, Franz West (1947–2012). West used aluminum, lacquer, and stainless steel to create this deliberately quirky, large-scale sculpture.

Currently on view in front of the Elmwood Avenue entrance of the Albright-Knox (top), this work was first exhibited in 2004 in the Gallery’s Sculpture Garden with two other works by West (bottom). The installation became part of the museum’s monumental exhibition Extreme Abstraction, which took over the museum’s three buildings and outdoor campus from July 15 to October 2, 2005. Meeting Point 3 was then acquired by the museum, becoming part of its Collection.

To learn more about works in the Gallery’s Collection, check out Albright-Knox Art Gallery: Highlights of the Collection, available in Shop AK.

Art’scool Docent Story: Kate SoudantWhat’s Your Vision?
Art can be interpreted in numerous ways. While looking at James Ensor’s Fireworks, 1887 (above), during a recent M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY “What’s Your Vision?” tour, a mixed-age group responded with eight different viewpoints to the question “What is going on in this picture?”
In this type of tour, information about the artwork is not revealed until after viewers respond. As always, the youngest was the first to offer an opinion: “It’s a volcano!” he shouted. After the others in the group spent a minute more looking at the work and developed a bit more confidence, they too began to express their opinions: fireworks, a big fire, a bomb blast, a sunrise, a meteor hitting the earth, a beautiful sunset. One person even said, “I don’t know what it is but it scares me; and why are those people at the bottom not doing anything?!”
Looking at art takes time, and when someone notices something, it often triggers a thought in another viewer’s brain. The last comment focused the group on the people at the bottom, who some viewers had not even noticed at first. The colors are not bright and the figures are not clear—what are they doing? Some thought they were running away, but then, on more careful inspection, someone else noted that it appeared they weren’t doing anything unusual; in fact, many aren’t even looking at the large, bright explosion of color.
Did they all agree? No, but that’s what makes looking at art fun—seeing other people’s viewpoints, engaging our own imaginations, and getting a richer, fuller appreciation of the work.
James Ensor’s Fireworks, 1887, is currently on view in the 1962 Knox Building. Come and see the work in person to discover your own vision.

Art’scool Docent Story: Kate Soudant
What’s Your Vision?

Art can be interpreted in numerous ways. While looking at James Ensor’s Fireworks, 1887 (above), during a recent M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY “What’s Your Vision?” tour, a mixed-age group responded with eight different viewpoints to the question “What is going on in this picture?”

In this type of tour, information about the artwork is not revealed until after viewers respond. As always, the youngest was the first to offer an opinion: “It’s a volcano!” he shouted. After the others in the group spent a minute more looking at the work and developed a bit more confidence, they too began to express their opinions: fireworks, a big fire, a bomb blast, a sunrise, a meteor hitting the earth, a beautiful sunset. One person even said, “I don’t know what it is but it scares me; and why are those people at the bottom not doing anything?!”

Looking at art takes time, and when someone notices something, it often triggers a thought in another viewer’s brain. The last comment focused the group on the people at the bottom, who some viewers had not even noticed at first. The colors are not bright and the figures are not clear—what are they doing? Some thought they were running away, but then, on more careful inspection, someone else noted that it appeared they weren’t doing anything unusual; in fact, many aren’t even looking at the large, bright explosion of color.

Did they all agree? No, but that’s what makes looking at art fun—seeing other people’s viewpoints, engaging our own imaginations, and getting a richer, fuller appreciation of the work.

James Ensor’s Fireworks, 1887, is currently on view in the 1962 Knox Building. Come and see the work in person to discover your own vision.

Book AK—The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

During World War II, Adolf Hitler made it his personal mission to seek out Europe’s greatest works of art. His intent was to both build a personal collection of the best art in the world and destroy all works that he considered to be “degenerate” art.

Stopping Hitler was not an easy task. The Herculean effort was the result of a group known as the Monuments Men, a special force of American and British art historians, museum directors, curators, and soldiers who worked together to prevent the appropriation and destruction of Europe’s great art. In The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, author Robert Edsel details this period in history through the moving personal accounts of six of these brave men.

Learn more about this historic effort by becoming part of the museum-hosted book club Book AK. The Book AK discussion about The Monuments Men will take place on Saturday, December 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register

Art from Latin America
The Albright-Knox has a long history of acquiring modern and contemporary art from around the world, including works from Latin America. Many of these works are by artists who worked primarily in the styles of Minimalism and Op art, including Martha Boto (Argentine, 1925–2004), Sérgio de Camargo (Brazilian, 1930–1990), Julio Le Parc (Argentine, born 1928), Josefina Robirosa (Argentine, born 1932), Jesús Rafael Soto (Venezuelan, 1923–2005), and Luis Tomasello (Argentine, born 1915).
Former Buffalo Fine Arts Academy president and Albright-Knox benefactor Seymour H. Knox, Jr., played a key role in bringing many of these works into the museum’s Collection.  In 1969 alone, he gave the Gallery eight paintings by artists from Argentina. These works were part of the 2006 exhibition Formal Exchange: The Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Latin America, which celebrated cross-continental exchange of ideas. 
Come and see Julio Le Parc’s Serie 14 No. 2, 1970, and Jesús Rafael Soto’s Bois-tiges de fer (Wood-Iron Rods), 1964, both of which are currently on view in the 1962 Knox Building.
IMAGE: Josefina Robirosa’s Forasteros II, 1969

Art from Latin America

The Albright-Knox has a long history of acquiring modern and contemporary art from around the world, including works from Latin America. Many of these works are by artists who worked primarily in the styles of Minimalism and Op art, including Martha Boto (Argentine, 1925–2004), Sérgio de Camargo (Brazilian, 1930–1990), Julio Le Parc (Argentine, born 1928), Josefina Robirosa (Argentine, born 1932), Jesús Rafael Soto (Venezuelan, 1923–2005), and Luis Tomasello (Argentine, born 1915).

Former Buffalo Fine Arts Academy president and Albright-Knox benefactor Seymour H. Knox, Jr., played a key role in bringing many of these works into the museum’s Collection.  In 1969 alone, he gave the Gallery eight paintings by artists from Argentina. These works were part of the 2006 exhibition Formal Exchange: The Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Latin America, which celebrated cross-continental exchange of ideas. 

Come and see Julio Le Parc’s Serie 14 No. 2, 1970, and Jesús Rafael Soto’s Bois-tiges de fer (Wood-Iron Rods), 1964, both of which are currently on view in the 1962 Knox Building.

IMAGE: Josefina Robirosa’s Forasteros II, 1969

The Gallery for Small Sculpture is currently home to an exhibition that explores artworks of a particular shape. Over the next few months, we’ll take a closer look at some of the enigmatic works featured in Cubes and Rectangles, Boxes and Containers.

Weight and Permanence
Eric Tillinghast (American, born 1974) is known primarily for creating works in which he uses water as a sculptural element. In many of his sculptures, Tillinghast uses steel bases and forms to house the water, holding it in certain shapes. His goal is to make the viewer question their perception of water as a natural element and a resource.
In Cubes and Rectangles, Boxes and Containers, however, a different sort of Tillinghast work is on view. Not Titled, 1996, is composed of twenty-five steel cubes, with no water element. Here, the artist has created something of weight and permanence, quite the opposite of the lightness and fluidity that water evokes.
IMAGE: © 1996 Eric Tillinghast

The Gallery for Small Sculpture is currently home to an exhibition that explores artworks of a particular shape. Over the next few months, we’ll take a closer look at some of the enigmatic works featured in Cubes and Rectangles, Boxes and Containers.

Weight and Permanence

Eric Tillinghast (American, born 1974) is known primarily for creating works in which he uses water as a sculptural element. In many of his sculptures, Tillinghast uses steel bases and forms to house the water, holding it in certain shapes. His goal is to make the viewer question their perception of water as a natural element and a resource.

In Cubes and Rectangles, Boxes and Containers, however, a different sort of Tillinghast work is on view. Not Titled, 1996, is composed of twenty-five steel cubes, with no water element. Here, the artist has created something of weight and permanence, quite the opposite of the lightness and fluidity that water evokes.

IMAGE: © 1996 Eric Tillinghast

Big Tables (Really, Really Big Tables)
Robert Therrien’s outsized tables, two of which are on view in his current exhibition at the Albright-Knox, were originally inspired by a series of black-and-white Polaroid photographs the artist took of the underside of his kitchen table. Fascinated by the table’s craftsmanship, and by the dynamic lines this vantage point created, he went on to enlarge the original objects, allowing all of us the opportunity to appreciate what we might not otherwise see.
This story offers one explanation for the scale of Therrien’s works, but what about his imagery in general? Tables, snowmen, hats, bows, pitchers, stacks of plates, and oilcans—what makes these objects art? Albright-Knox Director Janne Sirén offers an opinion in his foreword to the exhibition catalogue: “Therrien’s inclusion of familiar items from daily life offers viewers an immediate handhold, allowing each one of us to see something unique, perhaps even something personal. His explorations of scale, symmetry, and form further capture our attention, causing us to ask fundamental questions about our daily lives, our memories, and what such objects might represent to the artist, and to others. In this way, his work becomes a window on the world outside our everyday experiences and a pathway to understanding.”
Robert Therrien is on view at the Albright-Knox through October 27.
IMAGES: Details of Robert Therrien’s No title (table leg), 2010, and No title (folding table and chairs, beige), 2006. © 2013 Robert Therrien / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photographs by Pam Hatley, AKAG Staff.

Big Tables (Really, Really Big Tables)

Robert Therrien’s outsized tables, two of which are on view in his current exhibition at the Albright-Knox, were originally inspired by a series of black-and-white Polaroid photographs the artist took of the underside of his kitchen table. Fascinated by the table’s craftsmanship, and by the dynamic lines this vantage point created, he went on to enlarge the original objects, allowing all of us the opportunity to appreciate what we might not otherwise see.

This story offers one explanation for the scale of Therrien’s works, but what about his imagery in general? Tables, snowmen, hats, bows, pitchers, stacks of plates, and oilcans—what makes these objects art? Albright-Knox Director Janne Sirén offers an opinion in his foreword to the exhibition catalogue: “Therrien’s inclusion of familiar items from daily life offers viewers an immediate handhold, allowing each one of us to see something unique, perhaps even something personal. His explorations of scale, symmetry, and form further capture our attention, causing us to ask fundamental questions about our daily lives, our memories, and what such objects might represent to the artist, and to others. In this way, his work becomes a window on the world outside our everyday experiences and a pathway to understanding.”

Robert Therrien is on view at the Albright-Knox through October 27.

IMAGES: Details of Robert Therrien’s No title (table leg), 2010, and No title (folding table and chairs, beige), 2006. © 2013 Robert Therrien / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photographs by Pam Hatley, AKAG Staff.

Spotlight on Gregory Crewdson
We take a closer look at Gregory Crewdson in our AK Contemporary series as part of M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY this evening. Assistant Curator of Education Jessica DiPalma will give a lecture at 7:30 pm and a screening of the documentary Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, 2012, will follow at 8 pm.
Crewdson considers himself to be an “American Realist Landscape Photographer.” He often uses American small-town domestic life as the backdrop to images that blur the distinction between reality and fiction and that seem slightly surreal, unsettling, and, at times, even foreboding. Crewdson begins with a story in his head and then creates an image of one moment in the life of that story. These “frozen moments” are highly staged, down to the smallest detail. The artist doesn’t actually take the photograph himself, but assumes a directorial role, overseeing the creation of the set, costumes, and props, as well as the actions of his assistants. 
Crewdson often finds inspiration in the work of legendary directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch. However, unlike when watching a film that provides an entire story, viewers of one of Crewdson’s highly cinematic works are left to narrate for themselves what happened before and after the moment captured in the photograph. 
Learn More about Tonight’s Event
IMAGE: Gregory Crewdson’s Untitled (Ophelia) from the “Twilight” series, as featured in Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, a film by Ben Shapiro. A Zeitgeist Films release. Photo © Gregory Crewdson

Spotlight on Gregory Crewdson

We take a closer look at Gregory Crewdson in our AK Contemporary series as part of M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY this evening. Assistant Curator of Education Jessica DiPalma will give a lecture at 7:30 pm and a screening of the documentary Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, 2012, will follow at 8 pm.

Crewdson considers himself to be an “American Realist Landscape Photographer.” He often uses American small-town domestic life as the backdrop to images that blur the distinction between reality and fiction and that seem slightly surreal, unsettling, and, at times, even foreboding. Crewdson begins with a story in his head and then creates an image of one moment in the life of that story. These “frozen moments” are highly staged, down to the smallest detail. The artist doesn’t actually take the photograph himself, but assumes a directorial role, overseeing the creation of the set, costumes, and props, as well as the actions of his assistants. 

Crewdson often finds inspiration in the work of legendary directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch. However, unlike when watching a film that provides an entire story, viewers of one of Crewdson’s highly cinematic works are left to narrate for themselves what happened before and after the moment captured in the photograph. 

Learn More about Tonight’s Event

IMAGE: Gregory Crewdson’s Untitled (Ophelia) from the “Twilight” series, as featured in Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters, a film by Ben Shapiro. A Zeitgeist Films release. Photo © Gregory Crewdson

Behind the Work:Do Ho Suh’s Karma, 2010
Korean artist Do Ho Suh’s sculpture Karma is a representation of a human figure that carries, on his shoulders, a series of crouching figures, one on top of the other, each one smaller than the one below. By depicting each figure holding his hands over the eyes of the figure below him, Suh is making a statement about humans’ reliance on each other. The work also illustrates how we figuratively and, in this case, literally, stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.
The process of designing, creating, and installing this work on the Albright-Knox’s campus involved detailed planning. The figures are based on computer-generated three-dimensional drawings created by the artist. Measuring twenty-three feet tall and weighing 1,300 pounds, the freestanding sculpture is anchored only at the base and arcs slightly. The two largest figures at the base of the sculpture are made of stainless steel with copper plate, while the other figures are composed entirely of bronze.
Karma made its debut on the museum’s grounds on the north side of the 1905 Albright Building along Iroquois Drive in fall 2010, as part of the exhibition Beyond/In Western New York 2010: Alternating Currents. On August 3, 2012, the work was relocated, with the help of a crane, to the museum’s Delaware Stairs on the east side of the 1905 Albright Building, where it remains today.
IMAGE © 2010 Do Ho Suh

Behind the Work:
Do Ho Suh’s Karma, 2010

Korean artist Do Ho Suh’s sculpture Karma is a representation of a human figure that carries, on his shoulders, a series of crouching figures, one on top of the other, each one smaller than the one below. By depicting each figure holding his hands over the eyes of the figure below him, Suh is making a statement about humans’ reliance on each other. The work also illustrates how we figuratively and, in this case, literally, stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.

The process of designing, creating, and installing this work on the Albright-Knox’s campus involved detailed planning. The figures are based on computer-generated three-dimensional drawings created by the artist. Measuring twenty-three feet tall and weighing 1,300 pounds, the freestanding sculpture is anchored only at the base and arcs slightly. The two largest figures at the base of the sculpture are made of stainless steel with copper plate, while the other figures are composed entirely of bronze.

Karma made its debut on the museum’s grounds on the north side of the 1905 Albright Building along Iroquois Drive in fall 2010, as part of the exhibition Beyond/In Western New York 2010: Alternating Currents. On August 3, 2012, the work was relocated, with the help of a crane, to the museum’s Delaware Stairs on the east side of the 1905 Albright Building, where it remains today.

IMAGE © 2010 Do Ho Suh