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Lucas Samaras: Reflections—New Exhibition to Feature One of AK’s Most Treasured Works

June 9, 2014

Buffalo, NY – One of Western New York’s most beloved works of art will return to public view on June 21 at the Albright-Knox for the first time in five years. The museum acquired Lucas Samaras’s (American, born Greece, 1936) groundbreaking Room No. 2 in 1966, the same year it was created. Popularly known as the Mirrored Room, this extraordinary work of art has become one of the best-known in the AK’s Collection. The room first presents itself as a large cube, covered entirely with mirrors inside and out. Many Western New Yorkers remember the experience of entering the room when they were children, its seemingly endless dimensions and disorienting reflections rapidly became indelible parts of their childhood memories. In addition to this famous, perplexing room, the exhibition Lucas Samaras: Reflections will comprise a selection of Samaras’s prints, sculpture, photographs, and a painting—all drawn from the museum’s Collection.

The Mirrored Room was one of the earliest installation artworks designed for viewers to enter, rather than simply look at, and it was the first such immersive environment to become part of a museum collection. Almost fifty years later, the Mirrored Room remains a treasured example of the Albright-Knox’s long tradition of acquiring challenging new work by emerging artists. Samaras’s works, spanning more than forty years, demonstrate how persistently the artist takes on common things—such as boxes, fabric, furniture, and the human body—only to alter and reinvent them. Here, reflected back to viewers, are Samaras’s visions of a familiar world forever transformed. Lucas Samaras: Reflections is organized by Curator Cathleen Chaffee and will remain on view through November 16, 2014.

A special fundraising event is planned to celebrate the exhibition and the return to public view of the treasured Mirrored Room. Mirror | Mirror will take place on June 20, transforming the AK’s Elmwood façade with a Ferris wheel, pop-up performances, and carnival-inspired cuisine developed especially for the event by the chefs at Rich’s Catering & Special Events. Up to 1,000 guests are expected to join the celebration. Mirror | Mirror is presented by Calspan and Rich’s Catering & Special Events.