A 1987 bronze work has been gifted to the City by AT&T. The two-piece bronze sculpture named “Eden”, by prolific artist Judith Shea, was donated by the Corporate Art Collection of AT&T. The work of art was also made possible through a public art initiative conducted by the Buffalo Arts Commission and the Albright-Knox.
“Buffalo is rich with artistic works and I encourage residents and visitors to enjoy Buffalo’s growing ‘Outdoor Museum’,” said Mayor Brown. “Buffalo’s public art collection is a reflection of our city’s diversity and vibrant cultural identity. I thank AT&T for its commitment to Buffalo and helping us further promote public artwork, a highly cost-effective way of driving and expanding our economic revitalization efforts.”
The artist attended an unveiling of the work of art moments ago at Elmwood, Bidwell and Potomac. Judith Shea is widely respected for her series of works which portray bodiless articles of clothing with no forms to fill them. Her history as a fashion designer has influenced her works for over 30 years.
This is the single highest priced art donation from AT&T’s corporate art collection (established in 1985) in NYS. The art collection continually donates to communities, nonprofits, etc., around the country. In the last five years, AT&T has donated 200 works of art ($750,000). The value of the “Eden” work was not provided.
“AT&T is proud to present this original work of art to the City of Buffalo – a sculpture from which we hope residents and visitors will draw enjoyment and inspiration,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York president, AT&T. “Eden complements the various magnificent statues and sculptures that are found throughout the city, while contributing to the momentum of the robust public art movement in the region. Public art is an essential component of enhancing great cities such as Buffalo and we couldn’t be happier that Eden has found a home in the Queen City. ”
According to Buffalo Arts Commission Chair, Catherine Gillespie, this is the first time in 30 years that the City has added a work of art of this nature, that does not commemorate or memorialize an individual or group. This public art initiative is simply art for art’s sake. The effort came about when external affairs director for AT&T, Kevin Hanna, bumped into Mayor Brown a couple of years back. The Mayor inquired whether the company’s Corporate Art Collection had a sculpture in its collection that they would be interested in donating to the City. It was soon learned that, indeed, there was an impressive work of art by Shea, whose work is also featured in MOMA and The Whitney.
It turns out that there is strange little Buffalo twist that fated the “Eden” sculpture to wind up in Buffalo. In her early works, such as the one that we see here, her hollow figure compositions were created using heavy industrial felt, which was purchased from the Buffalo Felt Company.
“The Buffalo Arts Commission is pleased to have such a fine piece of work be added to the City of Buffalo Art Collection through the generosity of AT&T,” said Catherine Gillespie, Chair of the Buffalo Arts Commission. “As Buffalo continues its magnificent recovery, it is especially important that public art has prominent visibility. This project has been underway for several years and involved the cooperation of many different city departments. The Arts Commission has been grateful for the supportive efforts of the Mayor’s office and the Department of Public works.”