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‘Wanderlust’ examines action, exploration outside the studio

Janine Antoni. Still from Touch, 2002. Video installation, edition of 5 + 2 APs. © Janine Antoni; Image courtesy of Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York.

By SUE WUETCHER

Published August 7, 2017

“Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, Journeys 1967-2017,” a 50-year survey exhibition that considers the themes of action and exploration outside of the studio and how artists engage this theme in various ways, opens Sept. 7 at both locations of the UB Art Galleries.

It will be on view through Dec. 31 and then travel to the Des Moines Art Center, where it will open on Feb. 18.

Opening receptions at UB will take place from 5-8 p.m. Sept. 7 in the UB Art Gallery in the Center for the Arts, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 9 in the UB Anderson Gallery, One Martha Jackson Place, off Englewood Avenue near the South Campus.

One of the largest and most ambitious contemporary art exhibitions ever presented by the UB Art Galleries, “Wanderlust” questions and explores the complex nature of artists as voyagers — those who leave their studio to create work outside of the confines of four walls. It is a comprehensive survey of the artist’s need to roam and the work that emerges from this need.

Artwork ranges from drawing, photography, sculpture, installations, film and video to performance and social practice taking place in both urban and rural landscapes, and include works that are narrative, political, performative, and conceptual examples of contemporary art.

Allan Kaprow, “Taking a Shoe for a Walk,” 1989, Activity. Photo: Wolfgang Traeger. Courtesy of Wolfgang Traeger. Copyright / All Rights Reserved by Wolfgang Traeger, Germany

Each work recognizes the walk and the journey as much more than just a basic human act. Writer Rebecca Solnit — the exhibition takes its name from her book “Wanderlust: A History of Walking” — observes that walking replicates thinking, but adds that “the motions of the mind cannot be traced, but those of the feet can.”

The exhibition encompasses a broad spectrum of artists working in this particular way, demonstrating that those who step outside of their studio have a shared sensibility, yet approach art-making in a variety of ways.

“‘Wanderlust’ showcases work by more than 40 artists, with under-recognized and emerging artists alongside pioneers in the field of contemporary art,” says Rachel Adams, curator of “Wanderlust” and senior curator of exhibitions at the UB Art Galleries. “Beginning with Richard Long’s ‘A Line Made by Walking’ and Michelangelo Pistoletto’s ‘Walking Sculpture,’ this exhibition has work representing every decade from the last 50 years and includes artists from the Western New York region and the United States, as well as internationally, including Canada, Italy, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, Palestine and Poland,” she says.

“This exhibition will not only be a learning experience, but promote much-needed discourse for students and the greater Buffalo community.”

Artists featured in “Wanderlust” include Vito Acconci, Bas Jan Ader, Nevin Aladag,

Francis Alÿs, Janine Antoni, John Baldessari, Kim Beck, Roberley Bell, Blue Republic, Sophie Calle, Rosemarie Castoro, Cardiff/Miller, Millie Chen, Zoe Crosher, Fallen Fruit, David Hammons, Mona Hatoum, Nancy Holt, Kenneth Josephson, Allan Kaprow, William Lamson, Richard Long, Marie Lorenz, Mary Mattingly, Anthony McCall, Ana Mendieta, Teresa Murak, Wangechi Mutu, Efrat Natan, OHO, Gabriel Orozco, Carmen Papalia, John Pfahl, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Pope.L, Teri Reub, Michael x. Ryan, Todd Shalom, Greg Stimac, Mary Ellen Strom and Guido van der Werve.

Among the highlights of the exhibition are the previously mentioned “A Line Made by Walking,” Richard Long’s first walking work; Vito Acconci’s “Following Piece”; and 12 photographs from Ana Mendieta’s “Silhueta” series.

The exhibition also features several new commissions. “The Grass is Always Greener” is a collaboration with art collective Fallen Fruit that began last May with “Endless Orchard,” the planting of more than 20 fruit trees in Buffalo’s Fruit Belt neighborhood, and will continue with the design and installation of fruit flags in the Anderson Gallery and possibly other sites in the community. Anyone who has or knows of fruit trees that have been planted in public spaces are encouraged to map them on the Endless Orchard app.

Marie Lorenz’s “Gyre” is a series of found objects from her trip down the Erie Canal last summer that have been cast in porcelain. And “Still Visible, After Gezi” is Roberley Bell’s investigative artwork in which she scoured the streets of Istanbul in 2015 — after the Gezi Park protests of 2013 — trying to find trees she had originally photographed in 2005 and 2010.

Other commissions include a new skywriting performance on Aug. 19 by Kim Beck and “Untitled (Infinity Mirror),” a two-channel video piece by William Lamson.

“Wanderlust” also will incorporate a variety of public programming, allowing visitors to leave the gallery and experience their own form of wanderlust. Todd Shalom will lead a newly commissioned walk through Buffalo’s West Side on Sept. 29, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1; UB media study professor Teri Rueb’s GPS-based sound walk will take place at Times Beach on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor beginning Sept. 9, with a free app available for download; and Carmen Papalia, a visually impaired artist, will lead participants on a new iteration of his eyes-closed “Blind Field Shuttle” at 1 p.m. Sept. 9, starting at the UB Anderson Gallery.

More details on this programming are forthcoming.

“Wanderlust” is accompanied by a fully illustrated, 264-page catalogue with essays written by Adams and art historians Jane McFadden and Lori Waxman.

The exhibition and its publication are supported by a $30,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and UB’s Techne Institute for Arts and Emerging Technologies.

The UB Anderson Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday; the UB Art Gallery in the Center for the Arts is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday.

Admission is free.