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Buffalo's influence on display at the Met

Art Pictures Generation 

"Untitled Film Still #7, 1978," a gelatin silver print by artist Cindy Sherman. Part of "The Pictures Generation," an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery's former sculpture "Artemis and the Stag" (whose latest official title is "Bronze statue of Artemis and a deer") isn't the only piece of Buffalo's storied art history currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Our fair city's contributions to contemporary art also factor heavily into "The Pictures Generation," a show about the small but prolific group of New York-based artists known as the Pictures Generation that opened April 21. (Read an Associated Press review of the show here.)

Two seminal figures in the Pictures movement were Cindy Sherman and Robert Longo, both students at Buffalo State College in the mid-70s and key contributors in the founding and early development of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, along with Charles Clough. Buffalo's contribution, as well as that of the CalArts School of Film and Video in Los Angeles, were major influences on this minor but important movement that got fully under way when Sherman, Longo and the entire gang mixed together in the New York City art world of the late '70s. 

Hallwalls gets its own section in the extensive exhibition catalog, of which this is a small excerpt:

"As opposed to the image-driven, media-oriented photo-Conceptualism of the CalArts crew, the hallwalls artists started out with a funkier, materials-based style of shared references to childhood, heroes, any myth -- and made their self-consciously marginal status in relationto the downstate New York art world part of their cheerfully fervent group persona."

And, just out Monday in The New Yorker (where you can see an audio slideshow about the show for free, but have to subscribe to read the review), art critic Peter Schjeldahl writes:

"It was plainly heaven, in the SoHo of the late nineteen-seventies, to have been a student at the California Institute of the Arts or the State University of New York at Buffalo."

Check out the Met's info page on the show and if you happen to be in New York, drop by and let us know what you think.

--Colin Dabkowski

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