Wanderlust celebrates art in the outside world
Over 40 artists featured in new exhibit at UB's Center for the Arts
Whether it's repurposed rubbish or dragging a block of ice through city streets, a new art exhibit at the Center for the Arts (CFA) is transcending interior confines.
On Thursday, over 45 people attended the opening of Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, Journeys 1967-2017, a new exhibit in the UB Art Gallery. The exhibit deals primarily with public displays of art and encompasses 50 years of pieces from artists, such as Michelangelo Pistoletto and UB professors like Teri Rueb.
Rachel Adams, senior curator of exhibitions at UB Art Galleries, said the survey of works starts with the late ’60s, when conceptual stylings began to take off in the art world.
“Conceptual art was happening before the late ’60s, but if you look back in art history - the mid to late ’60s is when this type of work started to become more ordinary, leaving your studio in order to make work,” Adams said.
The two works that begin Wanderlust are featured in UB’s Anderson Gallery along with Michelangelo Pistoletto’s “Walking Sculpture.”
Both from 1967, Long’s piece examines a lonesome yet uniting line cut across grass. For Pistoletto’s piece, a giant ball travels through the city of Turin – a black and white depiction of a shape commanding attention from the outside world.
“Both pieces kind of bookend the types of works in this show, one that has artist out by themselves – solitary – and another that has the artist performing for people on the street,” Adams said.
Other works like Kenneth Josephson’s shots bring prints and pictures to their original outdoor settings, which creates a trippy effect.
Francis Alÿs’ “Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing” screens the progress of ice making its way to liquid, with a giant frozen block melting through the streets of Mexico City.
The most eye-catching work in the exhibit is in the gallery’s concluding space, Marie Lorenz’s “Gyre.” The work is a collection of 1,200 porcelain objects – from traffic cones to water bottles – all of which are uniquely beautified in a pale grey tone. The artist hangs garbage from the ceiling to create new meaning.
Roberley Bell, resident of Batavia, is one of the many visualists featured in Wanderlust. Two years after the 2013 protests in Istanbul, the artist searched the Turkish city to find a series of trees she recalled from her time in the city a decade earlier. She found that some of them were compromised or destroyed in the protest.
“What was interesting about was that it wasn’t a project – it was a personal quest of mine,” Bell said.
“It’s evolved over two years, my idea coming to fruition of me seeking out the trees – I’ve been working on it since April 2015. I had no intention of doing anything with it and then it turned into a project for this exhibition.”
UB media studies professor, is featured in Wanderlust and will be leading a GPS-centric soundwalk at downtown’s Times Beach on Sept. 17. It’s her first time leading a walk in Buffalo, previously having talks and works featured in places as far away as Austria and Finland.
“It’s an honor to be considered in the framework of this curatorial vision,” Rueb said. “The unique angle that Rachel [Adams] has taken in thinking about the body and kinesthetic art practices, performative practices outside gallery and museum spaces is a unique one. All of those histories have been well articulated individually but she’s creating intersections that make our interpretations over these practices more complex, so it’s great to be affiliated with artists who have influenced other artists in my practice.”
Rueb’s walk is just one of many activities the UB Art Galleries has in tune with the exhibit, with artists like Todd Shalom leading a walk, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” on Sept. 29 and 30.
The goal, Adams says, is to bring these programs so viewers can begin thinking for themselves through the means of discovery.
“We have projects that are happening or have happened outside of UB, branching out into the city,” Adams said. “UB is a huge community but we also have the greater area of Buffalo, going with the theme of the show; we’re encouraging people to leave the gallery in order to interact with the city.”
Viewers like local artist Alex Feim of Buffalo, said the exhibit impressed her during her first visit to the UB Art Gallery.
“My work has been on public art and seeing site specific art from the 1960s to present time, and seeing artists you would see in New York at UB, is interesting,” Feim said.“With land art and site-specific art, you run the risk of just documenting the site, failing to capture the spirit of it in a gallery. That spirit, however, is very much alive here.”
Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, Journeys 1967-2017 will be on view until Dec. 31. The North Campus gallery is open from Tuesday to Friday – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. – and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
Benjamin Blanchet is a senior arts editor and can be reached at email@example.com.