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