Many don’t associate Buffalo in western New York State as a place for the avant-garde in the art world. Yet that is exactly what Hallwalls is, a place of art outside the mainstream. Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo, New York, which was founded in 1974 and is one of the first alternative art centers in the United States.
Hallwalls was begun by art students who attended Buffalo State College in an old warehouse. Some of those artists were Vito Acconci, Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, Charles Clough, Diane Bertolo, Nancy Dwyer, Larry Lundy, and Michael Zwack — decided to transform the hallways between the artist studios there into a gallery — hence the name “Hallwalls.”
Hallwalls was one of the first places to mix it up, that is fine art, film, performance art, video, music, anything visual, from Longo to Clough. You didn’t have to go to New York to experience an art happening, you could see one in Buffalo.
As I lived in Buffalo during the 80s, I remember going with friends to shows at Hallwalls to see the art and the fashion. Young people loved it, because it not just because of its alternative space but the gallery was open to new ideas that you just didn’t see in galleries back then. Back in the late 80s, it organized Buffalo’s first gay and lesbian film festival, and was almost closed down for allegedly displaying lewd material.
Hallwalls has always supportive of the avant-garde and the alternative and still is open to those ideas. You can visit them in Buffalo, NY.
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