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Albright-Knox, Richardson Partnership Brings Significant Work of Art Into New Public Space

Monday, July 9, 2018

Buffalo, NY – Recently the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s iconic sculpture, look and see, 2005, by artist Jim Hodges (American, born 1957), was moved from the museum’s outdoor Sculpture Garden, where it has been installed since 2006, into a new public space on the Richardson Olmsted Campus.

“We are delighted by the opportunity, through the museum’s Public Art Initiative, to share this wonderful work from our collection with the broader community thanks to our friends at the Richardson Olmsted Campus,” said Albright-Knox Deputy Director Joe Lin-Hill. “This playful sculpture by Jim Hodges was conceived and first installed as public art, and a more public location within the Elmwood Avenue Cultural Corridor is an ideal location for it. We are thrilled to work with our partners to provide engaging, thought-provoking public artworks for students, residents, and visitors to enjoy.”

“The Richardson Olmsted Campus is very excited to continue bringing exceptional public art to our Olmstedian landscape,” said Richardson Olmsted Campus Executive Director Mark Mortenson. “This historical landscape was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to bring beauty to the site and provide spaces for reflection and healing. By partnering with our friends at the Albright-Knox, we have the pleasure of sharing with our community modern installations that reflect and complement the grounds’ original intentions. We welcome the public to enjoy the harmony between old and new on their next visit to the South Lawn at the Richardson Olmsted Campus!”
Hodges turns to unconventional artistic materials—including lightbulbs, silk flowers, and, as in look and see, mirrors—to create poetic celebrations of life and love that honor the often too-fleeting nature of these joys. In this sculpture, Hodges alternated areas of highly polished, cut-out, and painted stainless steel in a camouflage pattern that does not so much hide as fundamentally transform your perception of this space. Mirrored surfaces, the artist explained “bring the viewer into the experience . . . and your location becomes in question. The images are created by who’s seeing it. It’s always going to be changing.” With this playful shuffling between far and near, real and reflected, Hodges welcomes us, as viewers, into a conversation about our understanding of nature, artifice, and our own identities.
When it was completed in 2005, look and see was the artist’s largest sculptural project, weighing nine tons. Hodges always intended that the work be publicly accessible; it was originally installed at The Battery on the southern tip of Manhattan. However, after being installed in the Albright-Knox’s Sculpture Garden in 2006, access to the sculpture was limited to the museum’s operating hours. This third installation returns the sculpture fully to public view on the grounds of the iconic Richardson Olmsted Campus, designed by celebrated American landscape architecture team Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. This reinstallation not only honors the artist’s original vision for the work but also speaks to the museum’s commitment to sharing major public assets in key public places and imagining innovative collaborations with its Elmwood Avenue Cultural Corridor partners.

Other recent Albright-Knox Public Art Initiative projects include The Freedom Wall, completed by artists John Baker, Julia Bottoms, Chuck Tingley, and Edreys Wajed at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street; Betsy Casañas’s mural Patria, Será Porque Quisiera Que Vueles, Que Sigue Siendo Tuyo Mi Vuelo (Homeland, Perhaps It Is Because I Wish to See You Fly, That My Flight Continues to Be Yours) at 585 Niagara Street; Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez’s mural Welcome Wall at 751 Fillmore Avenue; Bunnie Reiss's mural Magic Buffalo at 1322 Hertel Avenue; Shantell Martin’s mural Dance Everyday at 537 East Delavan Avenue; Daniel Galas’s mural 72 Jewett at 74 Jewett Avenue; Amanda Browder’s Spectral Locus installation at three separate locations throughout Buffalo; Alice Mizrachi’s mural Dream Keepers at the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology; Roberley Bell’s Locus Amoenus installation at the Tifft Nature Preserve; Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn’s mural Noodle in the Northern Lights at Shea’s 710 Theatre; Kaarina Kaikkonen’s installation We Share a Dream at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport; Jenny Kendler’s Milkweed Dispersal Balloons and ReWilding New York (Community Seed Stations), a two-fold work that took place over the summer of 2015; Shayne Dark’s 2015 exhibition Natural Conditions and residency at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens; Jaume Plensa’s Silent Poets at Canalside; Casey Riordan’s Shark Girl at Canalside; Tape Art’s Buffalo Caverns, a massive, temporary mural made with low-adhesive drawing tape on the north wall of the Central Library branch of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library; a billboard- and sticker-based iteration of Matthew Hoffman’s You Are Beautifulproject, made possible in part through a partnership with Lamar Advertising; and Charles Clough’s collaboratively produced Hamburg Arena Painting, which is installed at the Hamburg Public Library. The Public Art Initiative has also distributed 30,000 art kits to students throughout Erie County.

The Public Art Initiative is an innovative partnership between the Albright-Knox and Erie County established in 2013. The City of Buffalo joined the partnership in 2014. The goal of the Initiative is to create spaces of dialogue where diverse communities have the ability to engage, respond, and cooperatively produce great public art that can empower individuals, create stronger neighborhoods, and establish Western New York as a vital cultural center.