The Albright-Knox Art Gallery (AK) is launching a new public art initiative that seeks community involvement. Artist Stephen Powers (American, born 1968) will be embarking upon a county-wide project titled ‘Emotional Wayfinding’. Powers is setting out to install 100 signs throughout the region that mimic the shape of “No Parking” or “One Way” street signs, throughout the summer.
As part of the art project, the Gallery will be distributing tear-away postcards around the city. People are asked to fill out the comment cards, which pose the question: What do you like, and what do you dislike about Buffalo. People can also submit their comments at albrightknox.org/stephenpowers.
The artistic exercise is essentially an open conversation about Buffalo, which will be broadcasted for all to see on the screen-printed and hand-painted signs that will be adhered to metal posts along roadsides. The thought-provoking works of art will be on display over the next several years, according to the AK, as part of its Public Art Initiative that has hatched a number of significant public works throughout the city in recent years.
Powers began his art career as a graffiti artist in Philadelphia in 1984 (under the name ESPO), before gaining notoriety as a studio artist, with works shown at Venice and Liverpool Biennials, as well as New York City’s Deitch Gallery. His first solo museum show was in 2007, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he displayed some of his sign and guidepost artworks. It was at that same time that “ESPO” graced the cover of art magazine Juxtapoz, which included the following statement pertaining to the artist:
“Stephen ‘ESPO’ Powers’s name will reside next to Crumb, Robert Williams, Basquiat, McGee, and Warhol as those who truly changed the way art is defined and displayed.”
The Public Art Initiative was established and is supported by leadership funding from the County of Erie and the City of Buffalo.