Building the Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Aerial view of the Albright Knox Art Galley expansion project.

Details of the plans and their impact on WNY

Dr. Janne Sirén

Dr. Janne Sirén.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Noon-1 p.m. EST

For more than a decade the Albright-Knox has explored the possibility of expanding and upgrading its facilities. These enhancements are urgently needed to properly house the museum’s growing collection of modern and contemporary masterworks, mount rotating special exhibitions, and present a dynamic array of complementary educational programs. In 2014, the museum’s Board of Directors unanimously resolved to launch its ambitious AK360 Campus Development and Expansion Project. This expansion is intimately tied to Buffalo’s twenty-first-century renaissance and will more than double the number of works the museum can display at any given time, including adding state-of-the-art space for presenting special exhibitions. 

Join Albright Knox Art Gallery director, Dr. Janne Sirén, to hear about the progress of the expansion since the initial ground-breaking in late 2019 and how this will impact the future of Western New York.

About Dr. Janne Sirén
Dr. Janne Sirén began his appointment as director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in April 2013. Prior to this, he served as director of Finland’s Helsinki Art Museum—one of the largest cultural institutions in the Nordic region— overseeing an active program of exhibitions, acquisitions, and museum development. Sirén received his PhD in 2001 from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. Sirén served as director of the Tampere Art Museum in southern Finland from 2004 to 2007. He also worked in the Department of Art History at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2000–2004), teaching courses in modern and contemporary art, aesthetics, museology, and critical theory. At the Albright-Knox, Sirén has initiated and co-organized several major exhibitions, each attracting tens of thousands of visitors, including Anselm Kiefer: Beyond Landscape; Monet and the Impressionist Revolution, 1860–1910; Picasso: The Artist and His Models; Out of Sight! Art of the Senses; and We the People: New Art from the Collection, which featured some of the most imaginative and dynamic artists working today and their explorations into what it means to be a twenty-first-century citizen. Sirén has demonstrated experience in community growth and development. He served on Helsinki’s Tourism Advancement Group as a representative of the cultural and museum field, helping to strengthen the tourism industry in the city while identifying strategic principles for future development. Sirén is a passionate advocate for the active role of the museum and the arts, particularly when related to the growth of communities. In partnership with the County of Erie and the City of Buffalo, he has spearheaded a community-wide public art program, the Albright-Knox Public Art Initiative. In 2015, Sirén launched the AK Innovation Lab, a unique, active space for the development of new thinking and ideas for museums in the twenty-first century. In October 2015, Sirén announced AK360, a major new initiative to revitalize and expand the Albright-Knox’s Elmwood Avenue campus and position the museum to take a leading role in a resurgent Western New York. He oversaw the hiring of the renowned international architects OMA/Shohei Shigematsu as the museum’s architectural partner for the project. In the summer of 2016, Sirén launched the AK360 Capital Campaign, which was energized by an anchor challenge gift of $42.5 million, the largest in the museum’s history, from Buffalo native Jeffrey Gundlach. In June 2018, the museum announced its plan to create a new work of signature architecture on the north end of its historic campus, which will make a twenty-first-century addition to Buffalo’s remarkable architectural legacy.