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Albright-Knox Seeking Shirt Donations for New Public Art Project

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Buffalo, NY  The Albright-Knox’s Public Art Initiative is seeking shirt donations for its newest public art project, a work by artist Kaarina Kaikkonen to be installed at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Kaikkonen is internationally renowned for her use of clothing to produce installations that alter our perception of our shared lives and shared spaces.

The installation will comprise thousands of shirts from Western New York residents. The shirts will be collected in partnership with Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries at the following locations across Western New York:

  • Downtown Central, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo
  • Crane Branch Library, 633 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo
  • Dudley Branch Library, 2010 South Park Avenue, Buffalo
  • Hamburg Public Library, 102 Buffalo Street, Hamburg
  • Julia Boyer Reinstein Library, 1030 Losson Road, Cheektowaga
  • Audubon Branch Library, 350 John J. Audubon Parkway, Amherst

Museum visitors are also encouraged to bring their shirt donations to the AK, where collection bins will be provided. An additional collection site will be located at The Foundry, a creative community space at 298 Northampton Street in Buffalo.

Once the collection process is complete, the shirts will be attached at the sleeves, or “hands,” suggesting human connection even in absence. Daily commutes, the migratory moments of travel, and our formative explorations are all represented in these ties.

For this project, Kaikkonen, assisted by a team of local volunteers, will mount a large work above the main ticketing area in the publically accessible lobby of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The curved wings of the walls, flanking the security entrance in the middle, offer a substantial and dramatic site for the presentation of Kaikkonen’s work. This location is ideal for the dense and colorful installations for which she is celebrated.

Through repeated encounters, travelers establish different yet specific connections with the clothing in the installation. Each individual can relate to the intimate touch and feel of their own clothes, the comfort they provide, and the identity they allow us to embrace. The complexity of the personal history and emotion embedded in each piece of clothing is amplified by the collective nature of the artwork.

The Public Art Initiative is an innovative partnership between the Albright-Knox and Erie County established in 2013. The City of Buffalo joined the partnership in 2014. The goal of the Initiative is to create spaces of dialogue where diverse communities have the ability to engage socially, actively respond, and cooperatively produce great public art that is capable of empowering individuals, creating stronger neighborhoods, and establishing Western New York as a critical cultural center.

Other recent projects by the AK Public Art Initiative include artist Jenny Kendler’sMilkweed Dispersal Balloons at various locations around the county, artist Shayne Dark’s Natural Conditions installation at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, artist Jaume Plensa’s Silent Poets installation at Canalside, artist Casey Riordan's Shark Girl sculpture at Canalside, Tape Art’s 2014 installation ofBuffalo Caverns, a massive, temporary mural-style drawing made with painter’s tape on the exterior walls of the Central Library in downtown Buffalo, artist Matthew Hoffman’s You Are Beautiful billboard campaign throughout Erie County in a unique partnership with Lamar Advertising, and artist Charles Clough’s collaboratively produced Arena Painting, which is installed in the newly constructed wing of the Hamburg Public Library. The Public Art Initiative has also distributed 30,000 art kits to students throughout Erie County.

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