And what a good decision that was! The Albright-Knox, which I had never heard of, turns out to be a gem of a museum with perhaps the highest quality-per-picture ratio of any gallery I've ever visited. We walked first into the modern art wing, and it was the Greatest Hits Collection: a Jackson Pollock, a Mark Rothko, a Robert Motherwell, a Willem deKooning, an Agnes Martin, a Clyfford Still, the biggest Robert Rauschenberg I've ever seen, a Jasper Johns, an Arshile Gorky, a Jo Baer, and Arthur Dove, a Georgia O'Keeffe, and all of them fine pictures, not just early or mediocre works.
I've seen a lot of Still's work over the years in one place or another, and he's not an easy artist to like. Many of his shapes are jittery and awkward and you're not sure what you're supposed to be seeing. I am particularly fond of the paintings where little things are happening on the margins, as though the camera was pointed way off to the side and caught only a glimpse of some activity that must forever be a mystery.
Clyfford Still, November 1954, 1954
We walked through a stairwell on our way to the Still exhibit and found it transformed into a workroom where a team is installing a Sol LeWitt wall drawing.
Sarah Sze, Second Means of Egress (Orange), 2004 (with hand for scale)
Alberto Giacometti, Man Walking (Version 1) 1960, and Piet Mondrian, Composition No. 11, 1942
There are also a bunch of very nice European paintings and sculpture, checking off lots of the big names -- Matisse, Picasso, Giacometti, Monet, Cezanne, Schwitters, Mondrian, Van Gogh, as well as my new boyfriend from Berlin Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. But it's the mid-century American art that steals the show. If you're anywhere near Buffalo make a detour and check out this great museum.