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Buffalo culture to star in Manhattan

Brace yourself New York, Buffalo culture and cuisine once again will hold center stage in midtown Manhattan over the next few days.

Hundreds of Buffalo expatriates living in the New York metropolitan area and current Buffalo residents who happen to be in the Big Apple will shuffle off to 42nd Street on Saturday for the third annual "Buffalo Takes Manhattan" party sponsored by People United for Sustainable Housing.

A.R. Gurney, the playwright and midtown resident who put his hometown on the theatrical map, will be guest of honor.

The spotlight will shift Wednesday to Christie's auction house, 20 Rockefeller Plaza, where paintings by eight artists whose careers were furthered by Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center will be sold to benefit the cutting-edge Delaware Avenue organization.

It's already been a banner year for Buffalo culture in the Big Apple, where this summer the Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted an exhibition highlighting the city's avant-garde arts scene in the 1970s and showed off objects from Albright-Knox Art Gallery's 2007 deaccession.

Saturday's bash will begin at 8 p.m. at 330 W. 42nd St., overlooking Times Square. Buffalo food favorites, including chicken wings, roast beef on weck sandwiches and pizza, will be served.

Buffalo natives working as professional musicians in New York City will perform, and items from more than 50 Buffalo businesses will be raffled. Proceeds from the event will help fund People United for Sustainable Housing's efforts to revitalize low-income Buffalo neighborhoods.

The venue will be decorated with pictures of sports heroes, media personalities and other figures from the city's past along with photos of Buffalo neighborhoods and industrial sites by Lesley Horowitz and Whitney Crispell.

Gurney, one of America's most-produced playwrights, has written more than 25 works drawing on his youth in the city's blueblood culture, from "Love in Buffalo" in 1958 to "Buffalo Gal" in 2007.

Christie's First Open Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art will include 10 works donated by Layla Ali, Kik Smith, Matthew Barney, Jim Shaw, Sol Lewitt, Nancy Dwyer, Cindy Sherman and Robert Longo, all of whom owe some of their success to Hallwalls.

The New York event follows Hallwalls' 35th anniversary auction Aug. 6 in Buffalo that raised $56,000. Many of the same artists donated works for that sale, and Sherman, Longo and Dwyer also were among the artists featured in the Metropolitan Museum show earlier this year -- a reflection of Hallwalls' importance in contemporary art circles.

The New York auction was organized by Amy Cappellazzo, a Buffalo native who co-heads Christie's international contemporary art department and is "hugely influential in international art circles," said Edmund Cardoni, Hallwalls executive director.

The auction house agreed to waive its costs and commissions on Hallwalls' portion of the sale, which is expected to fetch $75,000 to $110,000.

e-mail: tbuckham@buffnews.com

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