Caught on CameraOur new series Caught on Camera highlights visits to the Albright-Knox by notable public figures including artists, celebrities, and musicians."Six featured artists traveled to the May opening from New York, and fortunately a local photographer was on hand to record them in groups and alone in front of their work. There is Philip Guston with his arm around Jimmy Ernst, who stands shoulder to shoulder with Knox, Jr., Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Rothko in front of Gorky’s The Liver Is the Cock’s Comb, 1944.”– Doug Dreishpoon, “Collecting History,” in The Long Curve (2011), 29.The artists were at the museum for the opening of the exhibition Contemporary Art—Acquisitions 1954–1957, in which their artworks were featured. The exhibition consisted of a group of forty works of art presented to the Albright Art Gallery by Seymour Knox, Jr. from 1954-1957. While the major emphasis was on modern American painting, there were also examples of contemporary work by British, French, German, Italian, Mexican, and Spanish artists. The exhibition also featured contemporary sculpture purchased by the Albright Art Gallery during those past three years. The six examples, representing the work of Americans, Italians, and British sculptors, were all created during the 1950s. Image: Philip Guston, Jimmy Ernst, Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko at the May 15, 1957, opening of Contemporary Art—Acquisitions 1954–1957, Albright Art Gallery. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery Archives.

Caught on Camera
Our new series Caught on Camera highlights visits to the Albright-Knox by notable public figures including artists, celebrities, and musicians.

"Six featured artists traveled to the May opening from New York, and fortunately a local photographer was on hand to record them in groups and alone in front of their work. There is Philip Guston with his arm around Jimmy Ernst, who stands shoulder to shoulder with Knox, Jr., Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Rothko in front of Gorky’s The Liver Is the Cock’s Comb, 1944.”– Doug Dreishpoon, “Collecting History,” in The Long Curve (2011), 29.

The artists were at the museum for the opening of the exhibition Contemporary Art—Acquisitions 1954–1957, in which their artworks were featured. The exhibition consisted of a group of forty works of art presented to the Albright Art Gallery by Seymour Knox, Jr. from 1954-1957. While the major emphasis was on modern American painting, there were also examples of contemporary work by British, French, German, Italian, Mexican, and Spanish artists. The exhibition also featured contemporary sculpture purchased by the Albright Art Gallery during those past three years. The six examples, representing the work of Americans, Italians, and British sculptors, were all created during the 1950s. 

Image: Philip Guston, Jimmy Ernst, Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and Mark Rothko at the May 15, 1957, opening of Contemporary ArtAcquisitions 1954–1957, Albright Art Gallery. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery Archives.

Hey, Buffalo: Dr. Janne Sirén (2013–present) On January 14, 2013, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery announced the appointment of Dr. Janne Sirén as its eleventh director and the first to receive the title of Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director. Dr. Sirén is the first director from the Nordic region and believes passionately in the arts, visual literacy, and the idea that the twenty-first-century museum can be an active participant in a vibrant community and can add to its robust growth. He recently launched an exciting new Director’s Lecture Series as well as other community-based campaigns such as the Response Room in the exhibition Anselm Kiefer: Beyond Landscape. By providing visitors with a unique opportunity to learn about the history of museums, he hopes to demonstrate the close bonds between the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Buffalo Niagara region, and continue to increase the museum’s presence on regional, national, and international stages.
For more information on past directors’ numerous accomplishments, check out the Directors of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery timeline, created with Tiki-Toki.  

Hey, Buffalo: Dr. Janne Sirén (2013–present) 

On January 14, 2013, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery announced the appointment of Dr. Janne Sirén as its eleventh director and the first to receive the title of Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director. Dr. Sirén is the first director from the Nordic region and believes passionately in the arts, visual literacy, and the idea that the twenty-first-century museum can be an active participant in a vibrant community and can add to its robust growth. He recently launched an exciting new Director’s Lecture Series as well as other community-based campaigns such as the Response Room in the exhibition Anselm Kiefer: Beyond Landscape. By providing visitors with a unique opportunity to learn about the history of museums, he hopes to demonstrate the close bonds between the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Buffalo Niagara region, and continue to increase the museum’s presence on regional, national, and international stages.

For more information on past directors’ numerous accomplishments, check out the Directors of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery timeline, created with Tiki-Toki.  

Artists as Monuments Men

Several artists in the Fine Art Collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery served in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Section (MFAA) of the United States Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Monuments Men, this group of men and women from several nations contributed their expertise as museum directors, curators, art scholars and educators, artists, architects, and archivists to the fight for humanity. These three men included Louis Dlugosz (American, 1915–2002), William Gear (British, 1915–1997), and Salvatore C. Scarpitta, Jr. (American, 1919–2007). Learn More

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Art and the War at Home

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Buffalo’s Monument Men exhibition (on view through April 6, 2014) celebrates three of our past employees—Andrew C. Ritchie, Charles P. Parkhurst, and Patrick J. Kelleher—who helped recover and return art that had been stolen by the Nazis during World War II.

Newspaper clippings—preserved in scrapbooks in the collection of the museum’s G. Robert Strauss, Jr. Memorial Library—show that the museum also helped fight the war on the “home front” through a series of lectures, initiatives, events and exhibitions  designed to educate and entertain Buffalo’s citizenry. 

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In May 1942, the Albright-Knox was the first US museum to adopt a special war-time schedule. The museum stayed open late to provide much-needed relaxation to Buffalonians who faced food and gas rationing, the labor demands of homeland production, and the general stress of war.

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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: The Vacant Stare
This year we’re celebrating Halloween by featuring works in our Collection that remind us of classic horror films. 
One of the most striking things about Amedeo Modigliani’s La Jeune bonne (The Servant Girl) is the blank, empty look of the subject’s eyes, which are eerily reminiscent of Regan MacNeil’s white eyes in The Exorcist. The servant girl certainly has a neck long enough for her head to spin a full 360 degrees.

A Halloween Mini-Series: The Vacant Stare

This year we’re celebrating Halloween by featuring works in our Collection that remind us of classic horror films.

One of the most striking things about Amedeo Modigliani’s La Jeune bonne (The Servant Girl) is the blank, empty look of the subject’s eyes, which are eerily reminiscent of Regan MacNeil’s white eyes in The Exorcist. The servant girl certainly has a neck long enough for her head to spin a full 360 degrees.

A Halloween Mini-Series: Long, Dark, and Sinister

This year we’re celebrating Halloween by featuring works in our Collection that remind us of classic horror films.

The Shining features many long hallways, with nefarious things happening in the flanking rooms. Seymour Haden’s watercolor Mytton Hall depicts a natural hallway of sorts, created by ominous trees. Haden also made an etching of Mytton Hall, but the building at the end of the path is much more prominent. The desolate path in the watercolor version feels much more sinister, as though Jack Torrance might be hiding behind one of the trees with an axe.

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.