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Lucas Samaras in his Room No. 2 in 1966. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York. 

Celebrating the Mirrored Room's 50th Anniversary

December 15, 2016

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Lucas Samaras's Room No. 2 (popularly known as the Mirrored Room), 1966, we look back at the work's unveiling at a special Members' Preview exactly fifty years ago today.

Lucas Samaras visited the Albright-Knox on December 15, 1966, for the Members’ Preview of the newly acquired Room No. 2, 1966. Unveiled in a press preview the night before, the work was praised in local newspapers as a “fabulous bit of contemporary art” and “one of the most popular and controversial acquisitions in the gallery’s history.”

Seymour H. Knox, Jr., was “bowled over” on his first encounter with the work, then waited for approval from Director Gordon M. Smith, who traveled to New York to view the work while Knox, Jr., was in Argentina. “I knew when I saw it that we just had to have it,” Smith said.

The community’s reception of the work was overwhelmingly positive on the night of its opening, and remains so to this day. One writer summarized the encounter as “an experience not soon forgotten. How often can we step into a work of art and become both spectator and participant?”

[Quotes from Jean Reeves's “The Mirrored Room—Is It Art of Future?” (Buffalo Evening News, December 15, 1966), Jean Reeves's “New Dazzler at Albright-Knox: Room with Mirrors to Infinity” (Buffalo Evening News, November 18, 1966), and “Gallery Unveils Mirror Room” (Courier Express, December 15, 1966).]

Visitors in Lucas Samaras's Room No. 2 (popularly known as the Mirrored Room), 1966, on December 15, 1966. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York. 

Visitors in Lucas Samaras's Mirrored Room, 1966, on December 15, 1966

Visitors in Lucas Samaras's Mirrored Room, 1966, on December 15, 1966. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York. 

Visitors in Lucas Samaras's Room No. 2 (popularly known as the Mirrored Room), 1966, on December 15, 1966. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York. 

Visitors outside Lucas Samaras's Room No. 2 (popularly known as the Mirrored Room), 1966, on December 15, 1966. Image courtesy of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Digital Assets Collection and Archives, Buffalo, New York. 

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