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1) SantaCon Buffalo, 1:30 to 6 p.m. Dec. 9 in 11 bars in the downtown Buffalo area, mostly on Chippewa. Cost is $11.54 online or $10 in-person at D'Arcy McGee's or VENU. Must be 21+ to take part. Commentary: Few sights scream "the holidays" like hundreds of Santas frolicking around the Chippewa District, bouncing jovially from bar to bar. Each costumed Santa is asked to…

Gusto

Among regional museums, the Burchfield Penney Art Center has distinguished itself by casting an unusually wide net. Since shortly after the time of its founding more than 50 years ago, the center has been driven by the philosophy of its namesake -- one that finds artistic potential in hidden places, or hidden in plain sight. This idea is very much at play in "Stay Go…

Art

1) Polar Plunge, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 2 at Woodlawn Beach State Park (3580 Lake Shore Road, Blasdell). Minimum fundraising amount is $100; further details here. Commentary: The annual Special Olympics New York fundraiser is both a duel with the elements and a rousing good time. One of the day's highlights is a costume contest - the competition is stiff, often both lit…

Art

Buffalo-born billionaire and philanthropist Jeffrey Gundlach has pledged an additional $10 million to fund the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's expansion, and he purchased a house near the gallery that he plans to renovate. The pledge and home purchase, first reported by WIVB-TV and confirmed by Albright-Knox director Janne Sirén, further solidified Gundlach's already histor…

Art

Artists who trained the academic tradition and the American gallery system almost always struggle to connect their work to the broader culture. At the same time, artists who wouldn't be caught dead within 100 feet of an MFA program sometimes aspire to the rarefied environs -- and especially the price points -- a traditional gallery can provide. This paradoxical push and…

Art

Oct. 1, 1942 – Oct. 10, 2017 Sylvester J. Ferrari and his wife, Kathryn, moved from the Buffalo area to Cleveland in 1968, but they never severed their connections to Western New York. Devoted collectors of works by regional artists from Buffalo and Cleveland, they were major donors to the Burchfield Penney Art Center, including loaning their own art work. They also …

Art

For much of the year, art buying can be intimidating affair. Strolling into a stark, white-walled gallery and perusing an eye-popping price list requires its own kind of nerve, and many of us feel unequipped -- and under-resourced. Fortunately for art lovers, this pretense falls away around the holidays, when galleries turn their attention to every retailer's favorit…

Gusto

Buffalo has entered a new golden age of public art. Starting with the installation of Casey Riordan Millard's "Shark Girl" sculpture in 2014, the city has seen a seemingly nonstop infusion of murals, sculptures and community-based public art projects. The new push has been spearheaded by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and its ambitious public art curator Aaron Ott, bu…

Art

Japanese art superstar Takashi Murakami, whose sumptuous, high-decibel paintings are on view in the sculpture court of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, caused a minor local social media sensation last week. Pictures of Murakami -- clothed in a double-breasted jacket of red lamé, a patchwork skirt and a plush headpiece that made it appear as if he was being consumed by a d…

Art

1) UB Distinguished Speaker Series: Jesse Williams, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 in University at Buffalo's Alumni Arena, North Campus. Tickets range from $18-$42 and may be purchased here. Commentary: This visit by the undergraduate student-choice speaker is a big deal, even if the character he plays on "Grey's Anatomy," Dr. Jackson Avery, cannot be trusted because he has two fir…

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In the Central Library's second-floor exhibition space, a wall papered with reproductions of World War I-era posters commands visitors to take a closer look. The posters, drawn from the library's collection of 2,000 pieces of propaganda printed during the war, implore Buffalonians to dig deep to fund the war effort. They urge citizens to conserve food, knit socks and sw…

Art

After facing pressure from preservationists over plans to radically alter a beloved building by Gordon Bunshaft, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery announced Friday that it will consider building on a different site. "The museum and its development team will re-examine an expansion option on the north and northwest side of the campus connected to the 1905 Building to determi…

Art

In 1971 Syracuse’s Everson Museum mounted a Yoko Ono exhibition entitled “This Is Not Here,” complete with an opening attended by ex-Beatle husband John Lennon and a host of musician friends to mark the occasion and concurrently celebrate her husband's 31st birthday. In “Here,” an exhibit at Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum, the questions raised in “This Is Not Here” continue to…

Art

1) Dirty Heads, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12 in Rapids Theatre (1711 Main St., Niagara Falls). Tickets are $24 in advance here or $28 day-of show. Commentary: Rapids Theatre continues its stellar run of bookings with this six-piece reggae band from Huntington Beach, Calif. Dirty Heads' sixth studio album, "Swim Team," was released less than a month ago, drawing praise for the b…

Art

More than two decades ago, the Buffalo-born artist Laylah Ali had her first solo exhibition in Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. She would go on to wider acclaim in the art world, with critics and collectors alike drawn to her narrative-rich paintings and drawings that seem to reflect struggles over identity. Ali, who has remained closely affiliated with Hallwalls …