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Albright-Knox ceiling problem forces gallery to move works to safety

A structural problem with the ceiling in one of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's largest exhibition spaces has forced the gallery to make emergency repairs and move several artworks out of the gallery to safety.

The issue, which gallery officials did not specify, has thrown a wrench into its current exhibition, "Introducing Tony Conrad." The problem occurred in the ceiling of the grand east gallery visitors see upon entry into the Albright-Knox's 1905 building.

Repair work on the ceiling is slated to begin Wednesday, according to gallery communications coordinator Andrew Mayer. Gallery staff hopes to reinstall the relocated works and reopen the gallery by April 13.

Most of the pieces in the gallery and a large adjoining space have been been taken off view to protect the artwork from falling dust.

"There was a problem with the ceiling itself," Albright-Knox Communications Director Maria Morreale said. "Of course, as soon as we think there might be a problem, we have the engineers in and we look at it."

The question, she added, was whether to fix the underlying issues now and disrupt the current exhibition, or to wait until later and disrupt another planned show.

"The impact on the schedule was such that we should probably do it now, because the impact on the forward schedule is less," Morreale said.

The deteriorating condition of the Albright-Knox's exhibition spaces, with their cracked marble floors and occasional leaks, has long been a concern of gallery staffers.

It is one of the reasons the institution is embarking on a $125 million expansion, which is designed to shore up its existing buildings and approximately double its exhibition space.

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