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DECADE: Contemporary Collecting 2002–2012 on View August 21, 2012–January 6, 2013

August 14, 2012

Buffalo, NY Together with its accompanying events and performances, DECADE: Contemporary Collecting 2002–2012 will explore the multifaceted scope of materials and methods utilized by contemporary artists in the twenty-first century. Surveying key acquisitions that have entered the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Collection over the past ten years, the exhibition will include an exemplary array of signature works by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists, organized thematically to explore essential threads woven through contemporary art.

DECADE contains more than 100 works by more than 90 artists, including Teresita Fernández, Liam Gillick, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jim Hodges, Sol LeWitt, Matthew Ritchie, and Rachel Whiteread, as well as a host of other international artists. The Gallery has acquired nearly 1,200 works by more than 450 artists in the last 10 years.

Some of the thematic highlights of the DECADE exhibition follow:

Film/Photography/Fiction looks at the increasingly blurred line between the reality and fantasy of an image, exemplified by Gregory Crewdson’s and Jeff Wall’s seemingly mundane yet striking photographs of everyday events. At first glance, the viewer would never imagine that these works were, in fact, created with the support of lighting technicians, set and costume designers, and camera operators, with the artists fulfilling a more directorial role. Taking this notion to an extreme is Matthew Barney, whose project DRAWING RESTRAINT 9, 2005, plunges the viewer into a rich, idiosyncratic fantasy through film, photography, and sculpture.

The artists featured in the Insidious Humor section of the exhibition occupy nuanced ground within unpredictable territory, creating works that are alternately wry, witty, playful, biting, ponderous, melancholy, and dark. Kai Althoff’s sculpture Untitled (for Lionel Maunz), 2008, exemplifies this contrast by presenting an aesthetically playful image that masks a melancholy scene, as a Day-Glo lion with a lush mane made of yarn solemnly gazes out at the viewer through prison bars featuring the outline of a jailer, keys in hand.

The exhibition also looks at several important developments in the rich history of contemporary art in Los Angeles. The middle of the twentieth century marks the rise of artists such as Ed Moses and Robert Irwin, part of a thriving arts community surrounding the Ferus Gallery. Moses and Irwin—creating abstract works using color and light—became part of the original Cool School of L.A. artists. Iconic L.A. art has extended to include works in all mediums, from Jim Isermann’s Untitled (0397), 1997, a rainbow ellipse crafted from yarn, to the advanced fabrication of Liz Larner’s massive geometric sphere 2001, 2001.

“Sculpture in the Expanded Field” highlights the Albright-Knox’s outdoor campus, which extends the exhibition, and the Collection, into the public sphere. Nancy Rubins’s striking assemblage of approximately sixty silver canoes and rowboats, Stainless Steel, Aluminum, Monochrome I, Built to Live Anywhere, at Home Here, 2010–11, has transformed the Gallery’s main entrance, greeting and enticing visitors. New to the Gallery’s campus will be Jason Middlebrook’s sculpture Underlife, 2012, a gigantic tree stump and root structure made of steel and encrusted with tiny mosaic tiles.

Additional themes include Shape of Space, examining the interplay between art and architecture; What Happened to Painting?, exploring new directions in painting today; “Language Is a Virus from Outer Space”; Psychology of Space; Social Space/Private Ritual, and The Wayward Line.

DECADE: Contemporary Collecting 2002–2012 is organized by Albright-Knox Chief Curator Douglas Dreishpoon, Director Louis Grachos, and Curator Heather Pesanti. It will be accompanied by a major catalogue featuring an essay by curator and critic David Pagel, essays on each of the exhibition’s themes by Pesanti, and a conversation between Grachos and Dreishpoon exploring the growth and dynamism of one of the world’s foremost collections of contemporary and modern art.

A special fundraising weekend of events, performances, and discussions relating to the exhibition is scheduled for October 26 and 27, 2012, and will include performances by artists Janine Antoni and Jill Sigman, John Bock, and gelitin, as well as the premiere of a new work by Susan Philipsz. Events will also include a series of artist and curator discussions and a panel, moderated by Douglas Dreishpoon, exploring the exchange between commerce and creativity in the world of contemporary art.

DECADE: Contemporary Collecting 2002–2012, and its associated fundraising events, is presented by M&T Bank as part of the continuing celebration of the Gallery’s landmark 150th anniversary year.

This exhibition has been made possible, in part, through the generous support of Peggy Pierce Elfvin. Additional support has been provided by Mark McCain and Caro MacDonald, Deborah B. and Brian J. Lipke, and The Watt Family Foundation. Janine Antoni and Jill Sigman’s performance is a project of Creative Capital.

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