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Director’s Lecture Series 2016–2017, Lecture 1: Lucas Samaras’s Room No. 2 (popularly known as the Mirrored Room), 1966

By Dr. Cathleen Chaffee, Senior Curator

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

6:30 pm - 8 pm EDT

Lucas Samaras (American, born Greece, 1936). Mirrored Room, 1966. Mirror on wood, 96 x 96 x 120 inches (243.8 x 243.8 x 304.8 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1966 (K1966:15). © Lucas Samaras, courtesy Pace Gallery. Photograph by Tom Loonan.

5:30–6:30 pm, Reception
6:30–7:30 pm, Lecture
7:30–8 pm, Questions & Conversation

$85 general admission 
$65 for Members (FREE for Members at the Andy Warhol Circle and higher)
$35 for students (with valid student ID)
Series Tickets and Scholarships


The Albright-Knox acquired Lucas Samaras’s groundbreaking Room No. 2 in 1966, the same year it was created. Room No. 2 (popularly known as the Mirrored Room) was one of the earliest installation artworks designed for viewers to walk into, rather than simply to look at from a distance, and it was the first such immersive environment to enter a museum collection. Before its creation, Samaras had become well known for a series of small Box sculptures encrusted with materials atypical in 1960s art, such as yarn, bones, pins, synthetic hair, pencils, razor blades, and taxidermy birds. These mysterious boxes referred to the human body and also contained autobiographical elements, in the manner of reliquaries. The Mirrored Room represented a departure from these fetish boxes, to a room-sized cube that contained little except a mirrored table and chair. Fifty years later, the Mirrored Room remains a treasured example of the Albright-Knox’s long tradition of acquiring challenging new work by emerging artists. This lecture will provide greater insight into the work’s importance and trace the vital precedent it set for installation-based practices in contemporary art.

About the 2016-2017 Director's Lecture Series 

This year’s Director’s Lecture Series presents the story of six timely—and timeless—works of art that help define the continuing greatness of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The series is designed by Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Dr. Janne Sirén and presented by Dr. Sirén, Deputy Director Dr. Joe Lin-Hill, and Senior Curator Dr. Cathleen Chaffee. Learn More and View Series Schedule

Program Sponsors

The Director's Lecture Series is made possible, in part, through the generous support of HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Additional support has been provided by WSF Industries, Inc.