At the entrance of the new “Martha Jackson Graphics” exhibit on the first floor of the University at Buffalo Anderson Gallery is a large version of the logo Jackson used on the materials she and her son, David Anderson, sold and published.
The accessible and engaging exhibit chronicles the impact that Jackson, the legendary art dealer, gallery owner and Buffalo native, had on post-World War II art through artist prints published by her gallery.
Show posters, publication ephemera and lithographs from a recent gift from the David K. Anderson Charitable Remainder Trust provide a valuable look at the taste, appreciation and eye of Jackson, who was one of the art world’s renowned dealers. The square blind stamp or chop mark designed and carved by Anderson is on two prints in the exhibit, located on one of the bottom corners, unobtrusive to the work.
On display are 12 artists’ works providing an overview of the post-war art Jackson and Anderson supported through the Martha Jackson Gallery, giving viewers a small glimpse into the impact they had in developing the post-war art market as one of the first galleries to sell and distribute artist prints.
Committed to showcasing contemporary art, the gallery hosted a number of fascinating exhibits, and soon began showing international artists such as Antoni Tàpies, who had his first New York City solo show at the gallery. The gallery also exhibited the first stateside Guitai (the first Japanese post-war art group) show, and was one of the first commercial galleries to represent women, including abstract expressionist Alma Thomas, who would be the first African-American woman to hold an exhibition at the Whitney Museum.
In Buffalo, Jackson worked with Seymour Knox Jr. to include works from Sam Francis, Louise Nevelson and Tàpies, among others, in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s collection.
After Jackson’s death in 1969, work from her personal collection were donated to the Albright-Knox, while a collection of prints from her and Anderson’s galleries and the Martha Jackson Gallery archives, make up a significant portion of the Anderson gallery collection.
Co-curated by Robert Scalise, assistant director of Collections and Exhibitions, and Sandra Olsen, director of UB Art Galleries, the exhibit opens with the full series of Jim Dine’s “Crash,” and then moves through some of the earliest lithographs from Sam Francis, as well as his later, more experimental prints, like the animated “Bright Jade Gold Ghost” and the down-to-earth “Demeter.” As the exhibit continues, the work becomes more experimental and eventually moves from abstract expressionism into more representational pieces. Claire Falkenstein’s “Struttura Grafica” series of intaglios hang opposite Tàpies “Suite Catalonia” and massive “Triptych.”
The back half of the gallery includes colorful geometric prints from Julian Stanczak, whose 1964 show at the Martha Jackson Gallery resulted in the coining of the term Op Art by Time magazine. John Hultberg’s prints are more in the realm of abstract realism, with his signature spectral landscapes, with odd perspectives and a dark mood that contrasts Stanczak’s and Karel Appel’s lithographs hanging on either side.
While still impressive, Scalise admits that the show may hold fewer dimensions than other exhibits (Like last year’s “Art=Text=Art”) in the gallery. However, “Martha Jackson Graphics” uses these lithographs to remind or inform viewers of the impact and opportunities Jackson provided to artists through her gallery, and to discover the other ways Jackson left her mark on these prints and the art world.
What: “Martha Jackson Graphics”
When: Through Aug. 16
Where: UB Anderson Gallery, 1 Martha Jackson Place