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A closer look: Christopher Fritton's setting of Dickens' 'The Printer'

Artist: Christopher Fritton // Title: "The Printer" // Western New York Book Arts Center

Christopher Fritton, longtime print shop manager at the Western New York Book Arts Center, has been toiling for years in the center's basement over its various antique presses and boxes brimming with blocks of wood and metal type. He's produced countless gig posters, led innumerable workshops and explained the basics of typesetting and letter-press printing to formerly clueless arts journalists. To say Fritton has a single-minded intensity when it comes to the craft of pringing would be a vast understandment. So it's good to see his latest print, a paper paean to the hardworking printers and pressmen of the world via Charles Dickens.

--Colin Dabkowski

Micah Nathan brings his 'backwards' book tour to Larkin Square


Author Micah Nathan

Micah Nathan, the bestselling author of "Gods of Aberdeen" and a University at Buffalo graduate, will visit Larkin Square on Wednesday to hold an unorthodox book reading. According to a release from the organizers of the Larkin Square Author Series, Nathan is "crowd-sourcing" his latest book-in-progress, "In Search of Absolutely Nothing," by inviting feedback from those who attend his readings as "an excuse to connect with readers, to see how they respond."

The book is based in part on the influence of Andy Warhol and other famous modern artists.

“I've always loved Warhol's art but found Warhol himself unknowable, so when I started writing the book, I found an excuse to dig deeper,” Nathan said in the release.

The reading begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday in The Filling Station in Larkin Square, 745 Seneca St.

--Colin Dabkowski



Felice Koenig in Guelph

Even Fierce (Side Detail) - Low Res - White Background

A detail of "Even Fierce," a new sculptural work by Felice Koenig.

New work by Western New York Artist Felice Koenig work will be featured in an exhibition opening Saturday in Guelph's Renann Isaacs Contemporary Art Gallery at 31 Quebec St. The four-person show, "Systematics," opens with a reception from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday and runs through April 5. Above is a detail of one of Koenig's sculpted pieces. Learn more about her work and process here.

--Colin Dabkowski

Clyfford Still and the Albright-Knox

To help promote its exhibition "1959: The Albright-Knox Art Gallery Exhibition Recreated," Denver's Clyfford Still museum made a video exploring the painter's historic relationship with the Buffalo gallery. That show, which I wrote about in my column last week, will run in tandem with the Denver Art Museum's "Modern Masters: 20th Century Icons from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery."

Here's a look at the Still Museum's video, featuring interviews with former Albright-Knox Director Louis Grachos, Chief Curator Douglas Dreishpoon and Still Museum Director Dean Sobel:

--Colin Dabkowski

A closer look: 'Stroll' by Jesse Walp

Artist: Jesse Walp // // Title: "Stroll" // Exhibition: "Life Forms" // Through March 22 // Buffalo Arts Studio

In the video above, Western New York sculptor Jesse Walp walks about the inspiration behind "Stroll," the largest sculpture in his must-see Buffalo Arts Studio exhibition, and the complex process of creating it.

--Colin Dabkowski

Arts Services Initiative launches cultural awards

The Arts Services Initiative of Western New York, a cross-cultural advocacy organization headed by Tod A. Kniazuk, announced today that it is lanching an annual series of cultural awards.

The new awards program is similar to the yearly honors the Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County handed out until its demise in 2010. ASI is accepting nominations on its website for lifetime achievement, organization of the year, artist of the year, rising star, cultural supporter of the year, cultural advocate of the year, volunteer of the year and DEC program of the year. The ceremony will be on June 25 in the Hotel @ Lafayette.

Read ASI's release on the new awards program here.

--Colin Dabkowski

Jesse Walp talks about 'Life Forms' at Buffalo Arts Studio

On Friday afternoon, I talked with the artist Jesse Walp, whose ongoing show "Life Forms" includes sculptures of imaginary organic life forms meticulously carved out of wood. I'll post an in-depth look at how he created the show's biggest sculpture as part of my next weeky "Closer Look" post, but in the meantime, here's Walp talking about the inspiration for his new work:


--Colin Dabkowski

A closer look: The harrowing history of Degas' 'Mlle. Fiocre'

Artist: Edgar Degas // "Mlle. Fiocre dans le ballet La Source" // "Buffalo's Monuments Men," through April 6 // Albright-Knox Art Gallery

The dark and fascinating history of this painting by the French Impressionist master Edgar Degas, a prized part of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's collection since 1958, was only recently discovered. As Mark Sommer wrote last week in his story about the Albright-Knox's "Monuments Men" exhibition, the painting was one of hundreds of works slated to be shipped out of German-occupied Paris by the Nazis in the final months of World War II. It had been looted from the collection of Jewish art collector Alphonse Kann, who fled Paris for London in 1938 and left much of his collection behind.

In a riveting talk at the gallery last Thursday, collection cataloguer Gabriela Zoller recounted the surprising story of the painting's provenance, which she discovered during some routine research for the gallery's database.In short, Zoller came across a copy of the Nazi catalog card for the painting, which indicated that it had been stolen from Kann's collection, given a new German title and was on its way to Germany when the Allies intervened. As Zoller noted, the Nazis' "documents of theft became the evidence of restitution."

The remarkable full story, transcribed from this video of Thursday's press conference, follows after the jump.

--Colin Dabkowski

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A new arts space on Grant Street?


For the past few days, Jason Lloyd Clement, avowed Buffalover and director of community outreach at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has been sending out cryptic Instagram and Facebook posts about a new project he's working on with Buffalo-born artist Casey Milbrand.

The pair has evidently rented a space next to Sweetness7 on Grant Street (above), where a huge heart with "#Buffalove" hashtag hangs behind windows scrawled with a tic-tac-toe board and an intriguing message: "Can't get enough of this place so we rented a space."

What's in store for the space? Clement, who fell head over heels for Buffalo during the National Trust's conference here in 2011, isn't saying. But keep an eye on the Grant Street space, and this digital one, for more info as he and Milbrand reveal their plans.

--Colin Dabkowski

A closer look: 'C.E.B In His Own Words'

Artist: Charles E. Burchfield // // Every day

Since early last year, the Burchfield Penney Art Center has been featuring a new snippet of text almost daily from its namesake Charles Burchfield, the watercolorist who also happened to be a prolific writer. The feature hsa provided consistently delightful peek into Burchfield's restless mind, his process and his poetic sensibility about the world around him. Today's entry is a perfect example. Here's today's entry, paired beautifully with his 1919 painting "Tree Ghosts":

A heavy snow –
     The snow is intense white
     Brilliant as the sun tho the sky is gray –
     Shadows on the snow pale steel-gray –
     Houses became very intense – What color there is glows like fire, vivid red yellows & blues – Stark brown natural wood becomes a rich velvety black-purple-blue
     Trees against the sky seems to have stubbier thicker branches which are outlines in milky purple
     The snow has slid from some slate roofs in jagged patches so the town is a sharp clutter of black triangles & squares against the vivid white snow.
Charles E. Burchfield, Vol. 33, February 5, 1920

--Colin Dabkowski

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