The next chapter is set to begin for the storied Buffalo AKG Art Museum
By Jeff Russo,2023-06-09
A major moment for one of Buffalo's greatest masterpieces the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, formerly known as the Albright Knox Art Gallery, is now just days away.
The gallery was born before the Civil War and undertook its largest renovation project ever just before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The renovation project broke ground in November 2019 using a mix of private and public funding. 7 News has learned the total cost of the project is around $230 million.
When it reopens on Monday it will debut a new name and a whole new look.
"If you think about the campus as it is behind me, it was a surface parking lot, now it is a generous great lawn for our community and for visitors around the world. We had two buildings previously for art displays as well as community activities, now we have three."- Janne Sirén, PhD, Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director
That new building is a state-of-the-art facility named after Jeffrey E. Gundlach, a WNY native who contributed $65 million to the project. The additional 30,000 square feet of space it will provide will allow the AKG to display double the amount of the museum's world-renowned collection.
Another highlight of the expansion is the stunning new Ralph C. Wilson Town Square which will be free and accessible to the public and also the hub for the AKG's community and educational programming. The functional canopy is a work of art in itself.
"This is an art museum so we wanted art to touch every space and every facet of the museum in that space. In the town square is common sky, which was designed by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann of Studio Other Spaces, and in that site-specific artwork are mirror panels so everyone can see themselves reflected in the space."- Callie Johnson, Director of Communications and Community Engagement
The new Buffalo AKG Art Museum, a world-class celebration of contemporary and modern art and a community gathering spot for generations to come.
"Only two other generations in history have had the opportunity to experience this moment for a museum of global repute and connections all over the world. It was a generation of people in 1905 that first opened the campus here, and then it was another 60 years before we did that again in 1962. And now the excitement of this moment belongs to this generation, and I couldn't be prouder to be a part of it."- Jillian Jones, Deputy Director