Caught on Camera
Beyond/In Western New York 2010: Alternating Currents
As we welcome Shark Girl, 2013, by Casey Riordan Millard, a product of the Albright-Knox’s Public Art Initiative with Erie County and the City of Buffalo, we highlight past partnerships the Albright-Knox Art Gallery has forged to bring innovative public art to Buffalo.
Beyond/In Western New York 2010: Alternating Currents was an exhibition of contemporary art organized through a curatorial collaboration of twelve regional museums and galleries. More than one hundred artists from Western New York and beyond created works addressing the theme “Alternating Currents,” with its implications of technology, energy, and power.
Many of these pieces were public artworks that were placed temporarily or permanently throughout Buffalo. Highlighted here are three of the amazing public works featured in this exhibition.
—Kim Adams, a Canadian-born sculptural artist, created an intricate and alluring piece titled Optic Nerve, 2010. Adams punched thousands of holes, with no specific design, into a 2010 Ford Transit. Illuminated at night, Optic Nerve enticed viewers to find a pattern in the intentional chaos of light. Adams shows that the industrial/commercial object can be a positive outlet for creativity, innovation, and playfulness. This work was on view in the parking lot of Babeville on Delaware Avenue, home of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center.
—Fastwürms’s work portrays the artists’ affinity with nature and its inhabitants. Kim Kozzi and Dai Skuse, members of the artists’ collective known as Fastwürms, created a large sculpture titled Owl. This work evokes both the naturalistic, being based on the long-eared owl (Asio otus), as well as the commercial, through a flawless paint job reminiscent of muscle cars and speedboats. Owl, standing at a height of six feet, was perched above the entrance to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, peering down at visitors with its LED eyes. The connection of technology to the natural world suggests that a new exploration of sustainable energy systems is needed to harmonize with nature.
—Reinhard Reitzenstein’s To Have a Grip on the Earth So That the Whole of This Globe Can Quiver, 2010, was installed as a public artwork at the edge of Buffalo’s historic Larkin District and remains on view today. Reitzenstein’s sculpture portrays an electrical tower curving back into the earth. Once again, the relationship of industry and nature is examined as the artist alludes to an unfinished idea pursued by Nikola Tesla, inventor of alternating current. Tesla envisioned using the earth as a transmitter for electricity, an idea that is reflected through the merging of the electrical tower with the ground itself. The tower’s stance (with its “head” in the “sand”) could also be interpreted as a statement of avoidance of alternative energy sources.
The Albright-Knox, in partnership with Erie County and the City of Buffalo, will present a variety of public art installations as part of the Public Art Initiative, established in 2013. Shark Girl, 2013, by Casey Riordan Millard, is currently on view at Canalside in downtown Buffalo.
Images courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection, Buffalo, New York. 1. Photograph of Kim Adams’s Optic Nerve by Biff Heinrich. 2. Photograph of Fastwürms’s Owl by Tom Loonan. 3. Photograph of Fastwürms’s Owl by Nancy J. Parisi. 4. Photograph of Reinhard Reitzenstein’s To Have a Grip on the Earth So That the Whole of This Globe Can Quiver by Biff Heinrich.