It was a little more than a year ago when a couple of impressive yachts pulled into the Erie Basin Marina (see here). It was soon discovered (thanks to my dad), that one of the yachts (named M/Y Tribu’) was owned by United Colors of Benetton’s founder Luciano Benetton.
Fast forward one year later, and that unexpected visit from Benetton has yielded an uncanny fringe benefit. It turns out that while the Benetton was visiting the Albright-Knox, an employee suggested that he also pay a visit to Buffalo Arts Studio (BAS), in order to get a taste of the local art scene. You would think that that suggestion would have fallen by the wayside, but instead the billionaire art collector followed the lead and wound up at the Tri-Main building, where he ultimately threw down $19,000 on a series of works from artist Dennis Bertram.
And if that wasn’t enough, a relationship was struck between Benetton and Buffalo Arts Studio that soon helped to commission four resident BAS artists (Dennis Barraclough, Fotini Galanes, John A. Sargent III, and Hyeyoung Shin) to create new works on mini canvases to be included in the Benetton Collection.
The Buffalo artists were selected by BAS Artistic Director Cori Wolff, and the works were ultimately photographed and published in the catalogue Imago Mundi: Contemporary Artists from the USA. Other noted American artists that were also featured in the catalog included Laurie Anderson, Devendra Banhart, David Byrne, and Swoon. The culminating exhibition called ‘Imago Mundi’ is on view now as part of the Venice Biennale event, running August 27 through October 27, 2013, at Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice, Italy. The show features min-canvases by artists from Australia, Korea, India, Japan, and the USA.