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New Castellani exhibit featuring the work of Cindy Sherman opens in April

LEWISTON – The Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University has been highlighting the diverse work of visual artists with Western New York connections who have gained national and international recognition. The third in this series of exhibitions is “Western New York Collects: Cindy Sherman,” on exhibit today through July 20.

An opening reception will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. April 13.

Sherman, who attended Buffalo State College in the mid-1970s, was one of the founding members of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo.

A photographer and film director, she is best known for her conceptual portraits. She is widely recognized as one of the most influential artists in contemporary art and has become an icon in international art history, as well as a celebrated hometown hero.

The Castellani exhibit, co-curated by Gerald Mead and Michael Beam, is one of the most comprehensive surveys of the artist’s work in Western New York to date and consists of photographs and other archival materials that have been selected from public and private collections in the region, including some that have never been viewed by the public.

Museum Director Kate Koperski said the Castellani’s ongoing series is an effort to honor the role that local collectors play in creating and maintaining an enduring legacy for the region. In the Sherman exhibit, each collector holds unique insights and provenance in their acquisitions. Collectively, these works form a cohesive exhibition and representation of the creative output of each decade of Sherman’s career, Koperski said.

Accompanying the Castellani exhibition will be an “Art Attack” re-creation.

The re-creation is based on a meeting the curators had with James Maynard, associate curator of the Poetry Collection of University Libraries at the University at Buffalo, to view its Hallwalls archive.

Maynard revealed an unexamined document, a graphic rendering of a lip print and a three-sentence explanation of a public art intervention called “Art Attack” that took place at Buffalo State, circa 1975-1976.

It read: “Filling all of Upton Hall’s toilet paper holders with soft, perfumed (like Charmin) colored (varied) toilet paper. Each sheet of toilet paper will be stamped with a rubber stamp that I will have made of the imprint of my lips – blotted lipstick lips. The imprint will be bright red stamp dye or real lipstick” – Cindy Sherman.”

Subsequent communication with Sherman authenticated this document and led to a collaboration with the artist, Maynard said. Sherman graciously lent the museum her original lip stamp and consulted on the re-creation of “Art Attack” for the Castellani, which will be installed in the museum restrooms for the duration of the exhibition.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Hallwalls will present “Office Killer” (1997) directed by Sherman, at 7 p.m. April 24 in the Hallwalls Cinema. A 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception will precede the film in the Hallwalls Gallery, 341 Delaware Ave., Buffalo.


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