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Historypin: Charles Clough's The Arrow, 1972

December 1, 2016

Charles Clough's The Arrow, 1972. Photograph by Tom Loonan.

Charles Clough's The Arrow, 1972, was featured in the Albright-Knox's 2012 exhibition Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avant-garde in the 1970s, which explored a creative ecology that flourished in Buffalo in the 1970s comprising collaborative pockets of artistic communities in the visual arts, film, video, performance, literature, and music. 

Its installation for Wish You Were Here was actually the second time this work graced the Albright-Knox’s 1905 Albright Building. On October 31, 1972, acting as a merry Halloween prankster, Clough constructed a DayGlo red plywood sculpture of an arrow and placed it on the museum’s grounds without its knowledge. With fellow Hallwalls artists Joe Panone and Linda Brooks, Clough came in the dead of night and installed the arrow so that it looked like it was shooting through the wall of limestone at the northeast corner of the 1905 Albright Building.

This guerilla gesture was both a sly Pop reference—the arrow mimicking the Sunoco gas station logo—and a sincere nod to the Minimalist artist Tony Smith, whose iconic sculpture Cigarette, 1961–67, is on the museum’s front lawn.

The Arrow was documented by a photograph in The Buffalo News on November 1, 1972, and removed by the museum that same day. It was re-created in its original location for Wish You Were Here, according to instructions from the artist.

For more historical information, visit the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's Historypin channel.