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Monumental New Sculpture will Transform Elmwood Avenue; Nancy Rubins to Create Spectacular Work

May 26, 2011

Buffalo, NY – The campus of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery will receive a significant addition this summer. Beginning June 6, the artist Nancy Rubins will be on site at the Gallery to supervise the installation of one of her monumental new works. The sculpture will have an overwhelming impact on the Gallery’s campus and will transform Elmwood Avenue and the City’s museum district. The work is also a significant and important addition to the Gallery’s Collection.

Rubins is known for using everyday objects to make monumental forms. The Gallery’s sculpture will comprise more than sixty used aluminum boats, attached to one another and to a stainless steel armature using the tension of stainless steel wire cable to make the whole stronger than the parts. With this collection of elements assembled together in tensegrity, providing a sense of precarious balance and motion, the final, graceful form will appear to grow upward and outward. Rubins will make many of the final creative decisions for the piece while she is on site. Working with her team and engineer, the artist will closely supervise the installation to create a massive, unique public work for the Gallery, and the entire community. The finished sculpture is expected to measure up to 60 feet x 40 feet x 40 feet high. The artist will name the piece when it is completed in mid-June.

Rubins employs used or discarded materials in the creation of her sculptures. She began working with boats in 2000. For her work at the Gallery, she has chosen the simple, ancient form of the canoe. Visitors to the Gallery will notice that, although the sculpture as a whole appears monochromatic, closer inspection will reveal the used boats’ dents, scrapes, patches and patina.

Speaking about the installation, Gallery Director Louis Grachos said, "This is a spectacular addition to our Collection and our campus. We are delighted to bring the work of such a preeminent American sculptor to Western New York. Nancy’s work has such force and such impact, I think it will be enjoyed by the community for years to come."

Organizing Curator Heather Pesanti states, "Nancy Rubins is an artist’s artist, in terms of creating immense, complex objects with tangible physical presence. This sculpture will transform the landscape while at the same time tying in beautifully with—and offering another chapter to—the museum’s existing collection of modernist masters on the grounds such as Henry Moore, David Smith, and Tony Smith."

Nancy Rubins was born in Naples, Texas, raised in Tullahoma, Tennessee, and studied at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore (BFA, 1974) and the University of California, Davis (MFA, 1976). Her work is included in many major museum collections. She lives and works in Topanga Canyon, California.

The completed sculpture will be dramatically lit at night on the Gallery’s campus. The formal lighting will take place on June 30 at a signature summer fundraising event, atmosphere, presented by M&T Bank and Rich Products. Tickets to the event are $150 and are available from the Gallery.

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