It was on July 20, 2013 that I first learned that an artist named Eric Magnuson was heading to Buffalo to take a position at the Albright-Knox. Through a series of what might be described as “uncanny and clairvoyant moments,” I was asked to help find Eric a suitable live/work space arrangement in the city. It was merely a matter of sending out some signals on Facebook before I had the perfect location for the New Yorker (and Californian before that).
It wasn’t long before Eric arrived in Buffalo, and I was invited to sit down to lunch with the Buffalo newbie. Before long we had struck up a friendship and I found myself intrigued with a fellow who, it turned out was originally from Detroit. “Buffalo is how I thought my hometown of Detroit would turn out,” Eric confided in me. “You [referring to me] remind me of a professor that I once had who told me that if we all left Detroit, then who would be there to pick up the pieces? If we all stayed, then the community would hold strong and grow intact. Shortly after that, in pursuit of education and adventure, I packed up my bags and headed out West.”
Today Eric is living in an amazing space (The Castle Tower) in Downtown Buffalo within the Belesario building (the old LL Berger), heading up the installations department at the Albright-Knox, and corralling his friends to come check out Buffalo. “I’ve found something special here that I was missing in NYC,” said Eric. “I want to integrate into the community art scene here, and I’m interested in showing some of my own work in a smart local gallery setting.”
Before long Eric was doing the road show, checking out the different neighborhoods, lifting some rocks and poking around in the snow. “What I really want to do,” he finally decided. “Is to create a show space in the commissary of my building (The Belesario), that would basically second as a gallery. If I can convince the building management that it would be good for the building and the city, we’ll curate shows featuring various international, national and local artists… it will be called The Lavender Hinge Showroom @ The Belesario.”
Little did I know that there was already a fascinating history behind ‘The Lavender Hinge’ – it didn’t take long before I was immersed in a world of characters based around The Horse and The Swan, a Hinge, and a good dose of lavender oil. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself at this point.
As luck would have it, the powers that be at The Belesario were quite open to the idea of Eric hosting shows in what is really a beautiful brick-walled storefront hallway that leads from Main Street to the interior of The Belesario’s lobby. “It’s the perfect space for a gallery,” Eric told me. “It’s only used by the tenants, which means that I can host the occasional art openings and private showings, and when the gallery is not hosting a function it reverts back to a storefront/hallway (with beautiful artwork for the tenants to enjoy).” The showroom will begin ‘by appointment only.’
Now back to the story of The Horse, The Swan and their adventures. The Lavender Hinge is the setting, the world, and dimension in which the two (personas/lovers) revolve around and evolve with each other. The Hinge is the mechanism that continues to draw them together, despite decades of outside forces drawing them apart. For you or me, we might think the same way about poetry, or food, or even a pet. We all have something that radiates between ourselves and the ones that we love.
For Eric, his life’s journey has brought him to Buffalo. The seeds of the dream, romance and the passion that has been termed ‘The Lavender Hinge’ were first sown when he was living in Los Angeles 25 years ago. This is where he and Lisa Z. Morgan first made….. acquaintance. And there are pieces of the story that, to this day, he is still putting and pulling and zipping together that will one day culminate in a gallery opening featuring all of the elements and all of the characters of this real life fairy tale, including/featuring the ever elusive Swan.
If you’re strolling down Main Street and you see the “Coming Soon” sign that signals the arrival of The Lavender Hinge or The Lavender Hinge Showroom, then know that there is a reawakening of the imagination upon us.
Stay tuned for the next installment (feature show) of this inspirational tale that fluctuates from suggestive manipulation of bespoke fabrics and sewn paintings to works that are “Readymade to Measure.”