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Albright-Knox receives 'amazing' donation to modern art collection

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery has long been renowned for its collection of modern art, both purchased in the art market and donated by artists and gallery benefactors like John Albright and Seymour Knox Jr. Gallery Director Janne Siren announced Tuesday that the collection is expanding again with an amazing gift.

Siren said the Latina artist Marisol left her entire art collection and works to the gallery in her will.

"A world-renowned artist (applause), a world-renowned artist whose art developed into maturity during the era of abstract expressionism, pop art and op art," Siren described Marisol, a contemporary and friend of artists like Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg.

Siren said the collection of thousands is so large, it will take years to determine the total number of works and finish cataloging them. Gallery officials have been working in her Tribeca loft in Manhattan, getting a sense of what is there from an artist who did work in everything from sculpture to underwater photography.

"We are one of the great known collections of modern and contemporary art in the world. I think that this is like a booster rocket to our current reputation. It will reverberate throughout the world," Siren said. "I can't think of another mid-century artist who would have given their entire estate to an art museum that otherwise represents the work of many artists. There simply aren't examples such as that."

He said the art world will be coming here to look at her works and study them for scholarship. The gallery director showed media Tuesday a 3-D scan of Marisol's apartment, showing the masses of artworks and boxes of art in the loft.

"Any moment that an art museum becomes the repository of an artist's life work, we have now works that span her six-decade career and various documents that pertain to her life," he said. "Of course, we will be a destination for scholars, for individuals who are passionate about the work of Marisol and I think, also, artists."

Siren said the artist also donated her apartment to the gallery. It will eventually be sold and the money put into the current capital fund drive.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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