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Anthony Bannon remembers Bruce Kurland

Bruce Kurland (1938-2013), Self Portrait, 1972; oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 20 1/4 inches (Frame: 24 1/4 x 20 1/4 inches); Given in Memory of Joseph T. Suchan by his Mother, 1996

The gifted Western New York painter Bruce Kurland died on Dec. 11 after a long and prolific career. He was 75. On the Burchfield Penney Art Center website, director and former Buffalo News critic Anthony Bannon has a moving remembrance of Kurland. Here is an excerpt:

Kurland was a dark presence, down toward the end of the Hall, the first hall that connected artists’ studios and supplied the walls for Hallwalls, which now is a venerable artist-run alternative space in a different building in Buffalo. It was alright that many did not notice him over there. He was older.

Kurland also could be found toward the end of the gallery space Ran Webber operated 40 years ago at the high end of the funky area called Allentown, closer to downtown Buffalo. Webber’s place was called Gallery Wilde. Ran was aware of the double meaning.

The two spaces -- Hallwalls and Wilde -- were much different. That is a part of Kurland’s measure, that he sat at both places. Kurland was different, too. People were attracted to him because he was a rough enigma, quiet and handsome -- compelling, unknowable, coming out of the mists of marijuana, sitting there with his wine and cigarettes.

Death hung over him. So did life, but dangerously.  He didn’t speak a lot. But the people knew he was very smart about art. People knew he had done well in New York City, and for some reason now he chose to live up here, out in the country, outside of Arcade, in a hamlet called Couriers. Not many had seen his work. People said he painted still lives...

Read Bannon's full remembrance here.

--Colin Dabkowski



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