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Sarah Braman: Finding Room

Saturday, July 30, 2022Sunday, March 19, 2023

Installation view of Sarah Braman's Her House, 2019, in the special exhibition Sarah Braman: Finding Room at Frank Lloyd Wright's Graycliff (July 30, 2022–March 19, 2023). Photo: Jeff Mace for Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Location: Frank Lloyd Wright's Graycliff (Get Directions)

Please note: This exhibition is accessible only during guided tours and special events, including The Market at Graycliff. Art Tours are offered on Fridays and Saturdays at 2:30 pm, with free Art Tours on the first Saturday of the month at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm. Reciprocal admission benefits for Buffalo AKG Art Museum members includes free Standard, Open House, and Art Tours, as well as discounted Extended Tours and events. Advance registration is required for all tours. For questions, please contact Graycliff staff at 716.947.9217. Buffalo AKG members must present their membership card upon arrival.

When we grow accustomed to our day-to-day environment, we may come to believe that the spaces we live in are unremarkable. Artists like Tonawanda, New York, native Sarah Braman (American, born 1970) hope that we can take another look. Braman encourages us to think about the ways in which function, history, aesthetics, and spirituality continually shape our immediate environment. Brought meaningfully to the forefront of our minds when we encounter Braman’s sculptures, we are, at least momentarily, unable to remain indifferent to these spaces.  

Braman makes domestically-scaled indoor and monumental outdoor sculptures that celebrate everyday life. In her indoor practice, she combines found objects like furniture, doors, and pieces of scrapyard vehicles with colorful geometric volumes. Composed by similar means, her outdoor sculptures made from concrete culverts that lie beneath our roads and buildings, are enlivened by the addition of colored glass. Finding Room brings Braman’s indoor and outdoor sculptures together for the very first time.  

Sarah Braman (American, born 1970). Massachusetts, 2017. Found door, found chair, wood, window film, acrylic, and fabric dye. 57 x 80 x 36 inches (144.8 x 203.2 x 91.4 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. © Sarah Braman.

Sarah Braman (American, born 1970). Her Desk, 2019. Found furniture, anodized aluminum, glass, and fabric dye. 42 x 31 1/2 x 26 1/4 inches (106.7 x 80 x 66.7 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.

Sarah Braman (American, born 1970). Blue coffee, 2019. Painted aluminum and glass, 23 x 19 3/4 x 28 inches (58.4 x 50.2 x 71.1 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. © Sarah Braman.

Sarah Braman (American, born 1970). 8 AM, 2017 Glass, steel frames, wood, acrylic. and fabric dye, 65 x 28 x 28 inches (165.1 x 71.1 x 71.1 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. © Sarah Braman.

Sarah Braman (American, born 1970). Cooking (For Phil), 2021. Frying pan, glass, wood, 32 x 21 x 26 inches (83.8 x 53.3 x 66 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. © Sarah Braman.

Situating Finding Room on and within Graycliff, designed by Wright in 1926, places Braman’s work in conversation with this architectural masterpiece. In their practices, Wright and Braman explore the relationship of nature and found elements to humanmade objects, drawing attention to lived experience with deceivingly simple formal gestures. Wright combined glass, wood, and stone taken directly from the site to create the intricate details of the organic style of architecture that became his legacy. Braman uses similar materials to create forms that revere commonly overlooked aspects of daily life. The interaction between natural and humanmade materials and, perhaps especially, the dialogue between light and glass are springboards for both artists.

Braman’s sculptures can be viewed in relationship to the formal legacies of modernism, like Color Field painting and Minimalist sculpture. Instead of the white cube gallery space and what it implies, Braman’s preferred context is domestic, so that the sculptures be experienced as part of one’s everyday life. As such, placing her sculptures in a home that is itself part of the modernist tradition yet also carries the warmth and intimacy of a beloved family home, underscores how Braman’s work both resists and embraces modernist traditions to reconsider our lived environment. 

Frank Lloyd Wright's Graycliff.

Like Graycliff itself, the monumental outdoor pieces on its grounds will respond to and be changed by the seasons: over the course of the exhibition, all of these structures—containers for life—will look out onto Lake Erie, be bathed in the heat of sunlight in the summer, witness to autumn, and be draped with snow in the winter. Changing weather and light conditions will provide varied visual and physical experiences of Braman’s sculptures, inviting multiple visits and fostering an ongoing engagement with this important site. 

Finding Room is the first collaboration between the Curatorial and Public Art departments to take place outside of the Buffalo AKG Art Museum campus. The exhibition will open July 30, 2022. The interior works will remain on view through March 19, 2023, and the outdoor works until October 1, 2023.

To plan your visit to Finding Room, please head to experiencegraycliff.org/visit-graycliff for Graycliff hours, admission, and special event days. Reciprocal admission benefits for Buffalo AKG Art Museum members include free Standard, Open House, and Art Tours, as well as discounted Extended Tours and events. Your membership card must be presented upon arrival.

Check out our virtual guide to Sarah Braman: Finding Room!


About the Artist

A woman of light skin tone and brown hair in two braids sits facing front, behind her an unvarnished wooden wall against which are leaned a number of paintings
Sarah Braman

Sarah Braman (she/her) makes sculptures that serve as monuments to everyday life. Interested in the interplay between sensory experience and emotional resonance, Braman combines elements from scrapyard vehicles, old buildings, or furniture with translucent volumes of color and light. The artist’s distinctive color palette permeates the work, from spray paint on found objects and hand-dyed fabric to the expansive nature of the glass forms. In their formal construction, her works relate to the legacies of Minimalism and Color Field painting. Defying a narrow modernist definition, Braman’s works suggest themes of home, family, and nature, with their joyful immersion in lived experience and emotional life.

About Graycliff

Graycliff, the historic summer retreat of Isabelle and Darwin Martin of Buffalo, New York, comprises structures and grounds designed by Frank Lloyd Wright along with gardens and landscapes designed by landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman. Resting on the shores of Lake Erie in Derby, New York, this home is maintained by the Graycliff Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that strives to share the journey and all the stories of Graycliff, advancing the property as a publicly accessible historic site.


This exhibition is curated by Assistant Curator Andrea Alvarez and Public Art Project Coordinator Zack Boehler

Public Art Initiative Sponsors

The Public Art Initiative was established and is supported by leadership funding from the County of Erie and the City of Buffalo.