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Albright-Knox Art Gallery
museum in Buffalo, New York, USA
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Albright-Knox Art Gallery
museum in Buffalo, New York, USA
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1285 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, New York
United States

cschuster's picture

Sr. Contributor

With an artistic heritage stretching all the way back to 1862, the Albright-Knox is the poster child for one of the oldest art institutions currently operating in 'Murica.

It's a straight up cultural institution. Sure, Buffalo, New York isn't exactly the first metropolitan area that comes to mind when you ponder the environs of fine art in the US of A. But that wider cultural bias has yet to hinder the museum's stalwart stewards from taking a can't stop, won't stop approach to curating some of the finest examples of modern and contemporary art anyone could hope to get their grubby 'lil paws on.

The Albright-Knox has always been an institution on the cutting edge. If you need proof, just look at the museum's biographic bullet points. For instance, when the museum represented the US at the Venice Biennale (twice!) or became the first museum in the world to buy work from Clyfford Still.

The museum's namesakes are two business mavericks tightly entwined with the city's intense industrial heritage. First up is John J. Albright, who made it big in the railroad game. Specifically by banking on double-dipping shipping: Sending coal out west and bringing grain back east on the railcars' return trip. One of Albright's best railroad partners moved homebase to Buffalo from Scranton, PA (yup, just like The Office). Albright followed and brought his flush pockets and love of art to bear for the city. Establishing the Albright Art Gallery in the 1890s.

Some fifty years later, Albright's left for the big board room in the sky and Seymour H. Knox, Jr. was the big capitalist on campus. Knox was the museum's biggest supporter during the mid-20th century. Biggest financial supporter, that is. He wasn't called Shorty for nothing, people. Knox was a business maven involved in everything from banking, to railroads, steamships, and even the early days of modern retail. After ponying up for a new wing and donating more than 700 works of art to the gallery's coffers, -Knox was appended to the institution's official name.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Albright–Knox Art Gallery

The Albright–Knox Art Gallery is an art museum located at 1285 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, New York, in Delaware Park. The gallery is a major showplace for modern art and contemporary art. It is located directly opposite Buffalo State College and the Burchfield Penney Art Center.

History

The parent organization of the Albright–Knox Art Gallery is the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, founded in 1862, one of the oldest public arts institutions in the United States. On January 15, 1900, Buffalo entrepreneur and philanthropist John J. Albright, a wealthy Buffalo industrialist, donated funds to the Academy to begin construction of an art gallery. The building was designed by prominent local architect Edward Brodhead Green. It was originally intended to be used as the Fine Arts Pavilion for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901, but delays in its construction caused it to remain uncompleted until 1905. When it finally opened its doors on May 31, 1905, it was named the Albright Art Gallery.

Clifton Hall, the third building on the museum's campus, was constructed in 1920 as the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences. Today, Clifton Hall houses the F. Paul Norton and Frederic P. Norton Family Prints And Drawings Study Center, the AK Innovation Lab, working spaces for the Public Art Initiative, and staff offices.

In 1962, a new addition was made to the gallery through the contributions of Seymour H. Knox, Jr. and his family, and many other donors. At this time the museum was renamed the Albright–Knox Art Gallery. The new building was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill architect Gordon Bunshaft, who is noted for the Lever House in New York City. The Albright–Knox Art Gallery is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The museum first began discussing a possible expansion in 2001. In 2012, the board commissioned the architectural firm Snøhetta to produce a master plan for future growth. In 2014, the board voted to initiate a museum expansion and, in June 2016, the museum announced its selection of OMA as the architect for the project. Doubleline CEO and Buffalo native Jeffrey Gundlach has pledged $42.5 million to the project, while businesses, foundations, government groups, and individuals have promised matching funds toward a $125 million goal.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Albright–Knox Art Gallery.