|CEPA Gallery is proud to present Showing the Grain, a large exhibition, curated by Gerald Mead, that offers multiple perspectives on Buffalo’s industrial heritage as it relates to the mighty grain elevators and their impact on Buffalo’s history and its present. Made up of 3 separate exhibitions, Showing the Grain offers tribute to these feats of modern engineering, insight into the men who worked them, and examples of the many ways artists have interpreted them in the decades since they have become monuments of the past. Scheduled to coincide with the National Historic Preservation Conference taking place in Buffalo, October 19-22, Showing the Grain will be on view from October 7 through December 17. A reception will be held for the public, artists and conference goers on Wednesday, October 19 from 7-10 pm and is free to all.
BUFFALO’S GRAIN ELEVATORS: Photographs by Jet Lowe
Commissioned by the Industrial Heritage Committee, Inc. of Buffalo, with funding from the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation and the State of New York, the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), a branch of the National Park Service sent staff photographer Jet Lowe to Buffalo in 1990 to document Buffalo’s grain elevators for the Library of Congress. The HAER was established in 1969 to document historic sites and structures related to engineering and industry. Recognizing that Buffalo’s grain elevators make up the largest collection of extant elevators in the United States, and collectively represent the variety of construction materials, building forms and technological innovations that revolutionized the grain industry in this country, the HAER survey recorded via large-format photography the 20 existing grain elevators occupying Buffalo’s waterfront and beyond. These beautiful black & white gelatin silver images are on display along with large architectural renderings of the three types of grain elevators: wood, steel, and concrete.
AGAINST THE GRAIN: BUFFALO’S IRISH GRAIN SCOOPERS Photographs by Mark Maio
Starting in 1988 and continuing for roughly 15 years, Mark Maio—a former Buffalonian, who now resides in Atlanta, Georgia—produced Against the Grain:An American Story, an extensive body of work that traces the journey of grain from Kansas, through Duluth, to Buffalo. A large part of this project is focused on the Buffalo men who, for over 150 years, offloaded the grain from ships by guiding huge shovels via an intricate—and dangerous—system of gears, ropes and pulleys. These “grain scoopers,” who were primarily Irish immigrants, unionized in Buffalo at the turn of the 19th century and passed their jobs down through the generations of their families for the next 100 years until the practice was finally discontinued in 2003. These beautiful photographs speak not only to the scoopers’ incredible story but also to their inextinguishable spirit.
Over the many years Buffalo’s grain elevators influenced and inspired the work of artists, architects, designers, and writers. Multiple Perspectives presents a variety of work that references the grain elevators in unique ways. Photographs by Patricia Layman Bazelon, Michael Horowitz, and Christina Laing offer striking color exterior and interior views of the elevators, while works by Ed Healy and Les Krims go from sublime to surreal. Architect Seth Amman presents a striking stop animation video work that affords the exhibition’s viewers an extensive interior and exterior tour of a grain elevator through the eyes of an urban explorer. Rounding out Multiple Perspectives is a suite of prints by graphic designers and artists who have let the elevators be their muse, including: Allan D’Arcangelo, James Greenwald Design, Hero Design Studio, Richard Kegler, and Jesse Webber.
Jet Lowe - Buffalo's Grain Elevators
Mark Maio - Against the Grain: Buffalo's Irish Grain Scoopers