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Favorite sons
Armand Castellani, who is the great benefactor of the Castellani Art Museum and has been a force in the Western New York art community for many years, has taken his first turn at being a curator.

With the help of his wife, Eleanor, Castellani has gone deep into the collection of the museum to create the exhibition "Personal Preferences," a selection of favorites cutting across all sorts of styles and media. Some of the pieces the curating couple have picked have never been shown before -- for instance, drawings by Charles Burchfield and Burchfield's compatriot from earlier in the century, Reginald Marsh. The traditional and the modern are mixed freely, with a recently restored still life from 1888 by fool-the-eye American painter John Peto included along with a big sculptural installation by Buffalo artist Andrew Topolski.

The Castellanis will also include a fair share of big names of old and recent modernism, artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Pablo Picasso. The exhibition begins Sunday and continues through Oct. 17. The Castellani Art Museum is on the campus of Niagara University (286-8200).

-- Richard Huntington
Between nations
The new exhibition opening Sept. 18 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is called "0044: Contemporary Irish Artists in Britain." An inquisitive person will wonder right away what that mysterious number is that's stuck on in front. Well, the answer is simple enough: 0044 is the international telephone code between Ireland and Britain. The prefix suggests that the 20 artists who made the work in this 50-piece show are in some way caught between two cultural states.

For centuries Irish artists have been hauling off to Britain, and the migration continues today. Working in one place while holding a profound memory and an awareness of a quite different environment can't but help show in the art.

"Any visitor to '0044' who is looking for familiar or stereotypical views of Ireland is likely to be disappointed," suggests Peter Murray, curator at Crawford Municipal Art Gallery in Cork, Ireland, and the show's organizer. These artists are very aware of social changes and political developments in their home country, and have developed a sometimes paradoxical visual language to express their feelings and attitudes. The exhibition is big and diverse, holding works in painting, photography, sculpture, video, performance and installation.

Murray will be on hand for a panel discussion, "The Question of Internationalism: Identity and Transnationality in the Work of Contemporary Irish Artists Living in England," to be held Sept. 18 at 2:30 p.m. The exhibition will continue on view through Oct. 31 at the gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave. (882-8700).

-- Richard Huntington
From nearby
The Western New York Artists Group, housed in Art Dialogue Gallery, begins its eighth annual "Regional Artists Exhibit" with a reception from 7:30 to 9 p.m. next Friday. The exhibition was selected by Douglas Schultz, director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, from 421 entries sent in by 89 artists. Schultz, working from slides, chose 46 pieces by 33 artists, among them many familiar names in area art.

Among the artists are Susan Copley, a landscape painter with an abstract bent; figurative artist John Novelli, and Norine Spurling, known for her delicate pencil rendering of objects and people. Other artists include Andrew Sanders, who recently had a wide-ranging retrospective exhibition at Art Dialogue; Edward G. Bisone, a figurative expressionist, and Jeanette Blair, a watercolorist devoted to fresh, unspoiled landscapes. The exhibition will continue on view through Oct. 23 at Art Dialogue Gallery, One Linwood Ave. (885-2251).

-- Richard Huntington

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