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Albright-Knox Inviting 150 Western New Yorkers to Participate in Creating a Work of Art

March 30, 2012

Buffalo, NY – The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is seeking 150 Western New Yorkers to participate in the creation of a monumental work of art in honor of the Gallery’s 150th anniversary.  Participants will be chosen at random, in a lottery drawing that will take place at the Gallery on Wednesday, April 25, at 10 am.  The lottery drawing will be open to the public and the media.  Those interested in participating should visit www.albrightknox.org to complete a brief application.  Alternatively, interested parties can stop by the Gallery to register for the drawing.  The deadline to register is Tuesday, April 24, at 5 pm. 

In announcing the project today, Gallery Director Louis Grachos commented, “We will be documenting and regularly sharing news about the project as it progresses, so that the entire community will be able share in the creation of this work of art.  Capturing a precise moment in the Gallery’s history, and our contemporary culture here in Western New York, it will essentially become a portrait of our community, and we are working with two great artists, Eric and Heather ChanSchatz, whose unique practice can make that happen.  We are very excited about it.”  

The artists will visit Buffalo to meet with participants beginning on Friday, June 1, at M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY

About the Project
The Albright-Knox is inviting the community to participate in the creation of a work provisionally titled Universals Albright-Knox 150 (Buffalo). Monumental in scale, yet intimate in subject matter, the work will directly involve the Western New York community. Individuals who would like to be part of the project can sign up, and through a lottery drawing process, 150 participants and 50 alternates will be selected. By interacting with the artists and completing a specially designed questionnaire, each participant will become a part of the work, which is conceived to embody the role an organization like the Albright-Knox seeks to fulfill in society and contemporary culture. The final iteration of the work will comprise 150 unique, hand-painted works—one to represent each participant—that the artists hope will bring together “the museum, the community, and artistic methodology in a context of participation, exchange, and collective creation.” The work will be unveiled to the community at the Gallery in early December.

This work is part of a two-part creative endeavor with Eric and Heather ChanSchatz; in 2014, the Gallery plans to acquire a large-scale sculpture by the artists, based on the imagery developed through the project. 

About the Artists
Eric and Heather ChanSchatz (American, born 1968) are based in New York. They have been collaborating for nearly twenty-five years through a creative process that marries traditional approaches to artmaking, including painting and sculpture, with social engagement. In their practice, the artists use a process they developed in the 1990s to create works of art based on information they gather from people who participate in their projects.

Participants are asked to select from an array of images, phrases, and color combinations predetermined by the artists, a unique method that serves as the foundation for ChanSchatz's distinct imagery. The artists have engaged in series of projects with groups including American soldiers stationed in Iraq; Pennsylvanian coal miners; the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; Millennials; and participants in the Egyptian Revolution, based in Cairo. While they may initially appear entirely abstract, ChanSchatz's works are in fact dependent upon specific input from the participants as well as the artists' observations of the participants themselves. Although abstraction is a part of ChanSchatz's visual language, themes of identity, communal relationships, and socio-political networks are referenced throughout their process of creation. The resulting works of art are surprising, colorful compositions layered with meaningful patterns—abstract portraits of a group of individuals at a precise moment.

The Gallery’s website, www.albrightknox.org, will regularly be updated with news and information as the project progresses.

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