From the smeared abstractions of Jackson Pollock to the socio-political works of Ai Weiwei, the art world gets a lot of shine for pushing boundaries.
But actually, the art world can be pretty conservative. While the business world must continuously evolve, the art world has had the luxury of putting off all kinds of digital transformation, with old systems hanging around like broken lawn chairs you keep meaning to throw out.
COVID-19 changed some of that. Organizations that dragged their feet on creating digital offerings suddenly had to become very online. Traditional ways of organizing broke down and more inclusive structures rose up in their place. Artists who struggled to make a name for themselves found fame on social media.
The gallery has two levels, a ground floor and a basement. The ground floor will feature a new art exhibit every two months. The basement level will house four resident artists who will work in the space for four months and exhibit a show at the end of their residency. For its initial opening phase, the gallery has entered into a partnership with both Buffalo Society of Artists and Art Management students from the University at Buffalo. The partnership is aiming to create a space for both established BSA artists and emerging local artists.
BSA president Frani Evedon says these artists were chosen to open the gallery because of both their artistic ability and their ability to put together a show in the span of just a few months – a very tight timeframe.
“Susan Copley and Bunny Leighton are unbelievably dynamic,” Evedon says. “When I first saw Bunny’s work, it took my breath away. I do like abstract work, but I find a lot of it to be meh. Her work showed me what abstraction can be. And Susan Copley’s work is so powerful. You can feel the power coming out of the canvas.”
Just as it affected other arts organizations, the pandemic forced the BSA to become more digital and more online. New online jurying processes for exhibiting artists will allow the BSA to be nimbler and more inclusive.
“(The pandemic) forced us to go to technology,” Evedon says. “It also caused us to talk about creating a new process by which our exhibiting artists could propose an exhibition for this gallery.”
In addition to featuring BSA artists at ground level, the gallery will also have artists regularly at work in the basement level. Gallery manager Christina Buscarino says people should feel free to stop by Wednesdays through Saturdays, when the gallery is open to the public.
“It would be great for people to come by and interact with the artists while they’re working,” she says. “Hopefully, in the summer months, we can have artists working outside and talking to people while they work.”
The gallery was founded by Peter Hunt, CEO and chairman of Hunt Real Estate, and is named after his parents. In addition to inspiring art appreciation, Buscarino says the gallery is meant to inspire art collection as well, especially in young people who got more interested in art during the pandemic.
“The gallery can bring in potential collectors and get them to know local artists, who that they may know from social media or their public murals,” she says. “When you’re collecting art, knowing the artist behind a work gives it more value. For me, I collect from friends or people I meet, and each artwork is tied to a memory. So I think getting to know artists is great for young collectors.”
With the size of the exhibition being somewhat limited, the gallery is asking for attendees to register through the show’s Eventbrite page.
Hours at the time of posting (subject to change): Wednesday to Friday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
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