The Albright-Knox Gallery. Buffalo, NY

Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo NY

Just next to the site of the 1901 World’s Fair site in Buffalo is this rather wonderful Art Gallery. Above you can see the Knox wing of the Albright-Knox Gallery which was built in 1962 by¬†Gordon Bunshaft. You may know him from the Hirschhorn Museum in DC which he designed (1974).

While Bunshaft’s Knox Wing is a masterpiece in clarity, understated grandeur and sympathy with its surroundings, the original Albright Wing is gaudy, overblown and crass:

Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo NY

It was completed in 1905. The intention had been to finish it in 1901, in time for the Buffalo World’s Fair. But they took forever to complete it. It takes time to make something so hackneyed.

Next door is its companion in late Neo-Classical dreariness, the Buffalo History Museum (aka the New York State Pavilion from the Fair). While the History Museum references the Parthenon, the Albright-Knox references the Erechtheion, with its Ionic columns, amorphous shape and obligatory porch of Caryatids (columns in the shape of women). No pastiche of the Erechtheion is complete without a porch of Caryatids. Here’s one of them for your edification:

Obligatory Caryatid on the 1905 part of the Albright-Knox Gallery

It’s not all bad, though. Jaume Plensa used a row of Ionic columns as a striking backdrop to Laura (2012):

Jaume Plensa, Laura (2012), at the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo NY

While I might be down on half of the building, the contents of the gallery is glorious and has a great collection of Abstract Expressionism. If you’re in Buffalo it’s a must-see.

The Albright Wing peeping out behind the Knox Wing of the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo NY

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Richard

About Richard

I am a writer who travels endlessly. Fascinated by how our lives are propelled forward by what's left behind, I thirst to know everything. I read, collect, gather, organise, list. Here are some of the things I read, see and experience. Please make yourself at home: drinks and pretzels will be served shortly. If you'd like to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!

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