by Doug Sitler

convergenceAfter making a visit to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery to view the newly installed Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940-1976, I not only walked away learning about Abstract Expressionism, but left with a tremendous appreciation and admiration for the gallery’s permanent collection.

Our guide, chief curator Doug Dreishpoon Ph.D. said “To a great extent, this (exhibition) is what we are about. To the world, this (Abstract Expressionism) is what we are known for.”

This is the first major U.S. exhibition in twenty years to reconsider Abstract Expressionism and the art movement that followed. To a frequent visitor of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, it seemed at first that the exhibit showcases many of the important works from the gallery’s permanent collection – Jackson Pollock’s Convergence and Willem de Kooning’s Gotham News to name a few. I was told about 25 percent of this national exhibition actually consists of works owned by the Albright-Knox.

However, once you see the gallery’s feature pieces, next to other great works created by Rothko, Krasner, Oldenburg and Guston it hits you like a ton of bricks – the Albright-Knox Art Gallery cemented its place in art history back in the 1950s by having the guts and foresight to collect these works, quite often with the paint still wet on the canvas. Simply, Buffalo has been the home to Abstract Expressionism long before the importance of these artists were widely recognized.

The exhibition is broken up in four distinct areas: historical perspective on Abstract Expressionism, sculpture, paintings, and an exhibition of Buffalo’s role in the movement. There is a fantastic exhibition guide with something for everyone. From the serious art scholar to children, the guide provides tons of information and fun for all.

You have until June 10th to witness what Buffalo, New York and Abstract Expressionism mean to the art world. Visit www.albrightknox.org to learn more about this exhibition.

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