A City of Exhibitionists: Art in Buffalo
The reigning jewel in Buffalo’s art scene is the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, rightfully famous for modern and contemporary works, including iconic pieces by Gorky, Pollock and de Kooning. It is currently home to the largest-ever commissioned Sol LeWitt scribble drawing.The Burchfield Penney Art Center, the first freestanding museum constructed in Buffalo in over a century, was designed by architects Gwathmey Siegel. The institution is dedicated to the art of master watercolorist Charles E. Burchfield, and to artists of the region, both historical and contemporary.
Niagara Falls is home to the Castellani Art Museum, with its carefully selected collection, cleverly curated to complement the best of regional offerings. Lockport’s Kenan Center is a charming and off-the-beaten path treasure, where craft artisans come together in a Victorian mansion converted into a gallery.
The University at Buffalo is another powerhouse. Its freestanding Anderson Gallery, endowed with a strong modern collection, includes important works by Karel Appel, Hans Hofmann and Joan Mitchell. It was recently gifted with Annette Cravens’ collection of archaeological and ethnographic objects.
Looking to the south, the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora, a National Historic Landmark, is a hub of history and creativity. The Roycrofters continue to be inspired by Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), a free-thinking craftsman with an eye for quality and simplicity.
Allentown, one of the “artsy-est” of Buffalo’s neighborhoods, has created a lively First Fridays scene, where walkers traverse Allen Street to enjoy frequently changing shows at galleries like Indigo, Studio Hart and Buffalo Big Print.
Artist-run spaces, with Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center and Buffalo Arts Studio at two ends of the spectrum, are a strong part of the region’s artistic weft. Hallwalls, at home in the 1876 church that Buffalo songwriter Ani DiFranco saved, was formed in 1974 by a group of young visual artists that included Charles Clough, Robert Longo and Cindy Sherman. Its focus is interdisciplinary, featuring visual artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, and video and performance artists. Buffalo Arts Studio, located in the hip Tri-Main Center, offers artists-in-residence and curated exhibitions ongoing.
Allentown’s Sugar City, a recent, loosely formed collective that embodies a non-traditional spirit, and Black Rock’s burgeoning gallery scene—anchored by Marcus Wise’s 464 Gallery and BLINK!—are two more spots to watch.