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Three Special Exhibitions to Open at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery This Month

January 18, 2013

Buffalo, NY –  

Looking Out and Looking In: A Selection of Contemporary Photography
Saturday, January 19–Sunday, May 26, 2013

Looking Out and Looking In: A Selection of Contemporary Photography presents photographic works collected by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery over the past three decades.

The exhibition explores a number of themes, including landscapes, interiors, war, people, and light, allowing visitors to explore the endless range of the medium. Interiors are examined in Andreas Gursky’s large-scale photograph of an Atlanta hotel, a commentary on the impersonality of contemporary life, while landscape is examined by John Pfahl, whose altered images of nature transform simple vistas into The Sublime, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, represented by a compelling series of horizon lines from around the world.

The American photographer Ansel Adams once said, “Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communication, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation, and execution.” For the first decades after its invention, however, photography was viewed simply as a means of documentation. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery was one of the first museums to present the medium as an art form—in 1910’s International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography—and it has continued to uphold this pioneering tradition, collecting a wide variety of photographic works throughout its history.

This exhibition is organized by Curator of Education Mariann W. Smith. Support for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Collection-based exhibitions and installations is generously provided, in part, by the late Peggy Pierce Elfvin; The Seymour H. Knox Foundation, Inc.; The John R. Oishei Foundation; and The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation.

Agnes Martin: The New York–Taos Connection (1947–1957)
Saturday, January 26–Sunday, May 12, 2013

Agnes Martin (American, born Canada, 1912–2004) began painting in New York in the 1940s while studying at Columbia University, but she lived and worked in Taos, New Mexico, for most of her life. Focusing on the work she created in Taos between 1947 and 1957, this exhibition features some of Martin’s early biomorphic paintings, many of which were destroyed by the artist when she developed her geometric-based abstraction. The seldom-seen works in this exhibition provide a rare glimpse into the formative years of Martin’s illustrious career, before the arrival of her iconic grid.

One of the foremost abstract painters of the postwar period, Martin is best known for her elegant yet complex grid paintings and works on paper, which are often labeled as Minimalist. Martin would explain that her work was drawn from meditative and emotional experience. In the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, Arne Glimcher, Martin’s longtime dealer, writes, “The paintings are meditations on innocence, beauty, happiness and love. Martin’s painting invites the viewer to recognize states of perfection already extant within ourselves.”

Works on paper and paintings from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Collection selected by Chief Curator Douglas Dreishpoon will also be on display to complement this special exhibition. These works include a suite of paintings created by Clyfford Still (American, 1904–1980) from 1947 to 1948, exemplifying how another painter, only eight years Martin’s senior, explored abstraction during the same period. The exhibition will also include a brief documentary based on Dreishpoon’s 2000 interview with Martin at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos. 

This exhibition is organized by Jina Brenneman, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, New Mexico. The exhibition tour is made possible through the generous support of Lanny and Sharon Martin. 

Dennis Maher: House of Collective Repair
Saturday, January 26–Sunday, May 12, 2013

Architect and artist Dennis Maher is the second artist to participate in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Artist-in-Residence program. Exploring ideas surrounding construction, demolition, and restoration, he often uses discarded materials to create new environments. About his work and process, Maher has commented, “I’m formulating a practice that combines art, architecture, and civic activism.”

For House of Collective Repair, Maher engaged local tradespeople, asking them to create small sculptures using the materials of their trade. The participating tradespeople are Joaquin Aristizabal, Amecol Construction (Flooring); Dan Farrell, Lost Cities Restorations (Windows and Doors); Joe Galvin, Home Restoration Painting (Painting); Jamillah Green, United Mechanical Contracting (Plumbing); Dave Hill, Bricks, Sticks & Stones (Masonry); Khallidah McQueen, Quality First (Weatherization); Peter A. Szalay and Al Szalay, A&B Light Heat & Power (Electrical); and Chris Ziolkowski, Zee’s Property Services (Roofing).

Maher has placed the final sculptures within a larger installation, in which “rooms” are built around, and inspired by, the tradespeople’s creations. Jamillah Green’s copper home resides as an altarpiece in a copper-gilded section of the installation, while Joaquin Aristizabal’s earthen patio piece serves as the center of what appears to be a lush treehouse—a nod to his Colombian roots. Incorporated in the installation is a documentary by Maher, which includes interviews with the participating tradespeople. Also featured is a video created by Media Studies students from the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, who visited Maher’s residence, The Fargo House, on Buffalo’s West Side.

Maher’s work often focuses on the anatomy of the house; he imagines the walls, floors, and ceilings of The Fargo House as organic communicators. His work has been exhibited at venues such as Black & White Gallery and Project Space, Brooklyn, New York; PULSE Contemporary Art Fair, Miami; the Pittsburgh Biennial; Galeria Antoni Pinyol, Reus, Spain; SUPERFRONT LA, Los Angeles; The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Covington, Kentucky; and Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo. He is also a recipient of the Real Art Ways STEP UP Award (2011), the Black & White Project Space Prize (2010), a NYSCA Independent Projects Grant (2010), and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship (2008). Maher is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University at Buffalo, where he has taught since 2004. 

This exhibition is organized by Associate Curator of Education Nancy Spector. The 2012–2013 Artist-in-Residence program is supported, in part, by generous donations from Margie and Sandy Nobel, Scott and Rachel Stenclik, and an anonymous donor.