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Robert De Niro, Sr. and Irving Feldman: Painter and Poet at UB in the late 60s


September 11 through October 24, 2015
Opening reception September 11, 7-9pm

UB Anderson Gallery presents Robert De Niro, Sr. and Irving Feldman: Painter and Poet at UB in the late 60s

August 19, 2015, Buffalo, N.Y. ----The University at Buffalo Anderson Gallery and The Poetry Collection, University Libraries, University at Buffalo are pleased to present a collaborative exhibition, Robert De Niro, Sr. and Irving Feldman:  Painter and Poet at UB in the Late 60s.  The exhibition is co-curated by Sandra H. Olsen, Director of the UB Art Galleries and Michael Basinski, Curator, The Poetry Collection of the University Libraries.

In 1962, the private University at Buffalo joined the burgeoning State University of New York system and established its reputation as a major public research institution of higher learning by assembling a group of progressive and innovative artists from across all the artistic disciplines.  Creativity was the focus. In 1964 Jan Williams, a percussion soloist and conductor, was invited by Lukas Foss and Allan Sapp to become a Creative Associate in the newly formed Center of the Creative and Performing Arts at UB. That same year, Irving Feldman, renowned poet and a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, arrived in UB's English Department.  Novelist John Barth was also a member of the English Department. In a recent gift to UB's Poetry Collection Barth's inscription reads, "To the UB libraries with fond memories of my time there in the "High 60s."

By the late 1960s, UB emerged as a leader in the arts and a destination for many of the best practicing artists in the country.  The University organized 1967 Summer,a three-month program featuring faculty and visiting artists in film, literature, poetry readings, music, dance, drama, and art. The sole visual arts presentation was an exhibition of paintings by visiting artist and poet Robert De Niro, Sr., who was recommended to the Art Department by his good friend and esteemed poet, Irving Feldman. 1967 was the first of six years that Robert De Niro, Sr. taught Summer Sessions at UB.

By 1967 UB's English Department was a well-established and renowned center for literary scholarship and creativity in poetry.  It was an era when "Poets Ruled the Earth", as poet and editor and then UB student Michael Anania recently noted.  Notable poets on campus included John Loban, Robert Creeley, as well as a host of students that were drawn to Buffalo to study with Charles Olson (who left Buffalo in 1965).A rich group of poetry scholars such as Albert Cook, Carl Dennis, and William Sylvester, were among many other faculty members.  Many of the faculty and student poets of this era embraced the New American Poetry, publishing their own literary magazines and running their own presses. Buffalo exported poetics.  Renowned poets and radical burgeoning poets from around the globe visited Buffalo, contributing through to teaching, lecturing, and reading from their work.

Buffalo's cultural organizations and universities worked together to organize Arts Festivals (1965, 1968), which brought the best contemporary visual and performing artists to Buffalo and attracted enormous audiences. 

Sandra H. Olsen, has organized a concurrent exhibition of paintings, drawings and poetry by visiting artist Robert De Niro, Sr. that will feature a series of Buffalo landscape paintings.  Initiated during his first summers in Buffalo, 1967-68, they illustrate the powerful impact of Buffalo's urban scenery, which stimulated a breakthrough in De Niro's use of color, light, and space. Irving Feldman, Emeritus Distinguished Professor in UB's English Department selected excerpts and lines from his poems that are integrated within the exhibition's installation. Co-curator Michael Basinski selected books of poetry, literary magazine publications, broadsides from the Poetry Collection, and ephemeral materials (posters, photographs and reportage) from the University Archives.

Like many visiting artists at UB, Robert De Niro, Sr. forged friendships at the university and within the community that supported him for the remainder of his career. Several paintings and drawings are included from Buffalo private collections and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's collection. Two students in Robert De Niro, Sr.'s 1967 painting class, Barbara and Dennis Insalaco, documented their lifelong friendship with their teacher and mentor in a series of photographs, and drawings that will be on view. Nancy Weekly, Head of Collections and The Charles Cary Rumsey Curator, Burchfield Penney Art Center, has selected drawings and paintings from Barbara Insalaco's well-known Buffalo Waterfront series of the 1990s for installation in UB Anderson Gallery's beautiful atrium.  

UB and Buffalo directed artistic geography from 1964-1968. A celebration of this moment reveals when UB and Buffalo developed the foundation for the arts that continues to play a significant role in academic, artistic, and global culture.

On October 8 at 7pm, the UB Art Galleries presents An Evening with Irving Feldman. Feldman is the recipient of a National Institute of Arts and Letters award, as well as fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and The MacArthur Foundation.

Prismatic Illusions by Brooklyn-based artist Amanda Browder will also be on view at the UB Anderson Gallery from September 10-14, 2015. Located on the façade of the old elementary school, Browder's installation will move to the UB Art Gallery in the Center for the Arts as part of the fall exhibition Splitting Light. 



About the UB Art Galleries
The University at Buffalo is privileged to have 2 art galleries dedicated to the university's mission for academic excellence and service to the community. Each gallery presents a year-round series of exhibitions, providing students and the broader community easy access to thought-provoking art, visiting artists, and stimulating educational programs. In addition, the UB Art Galleries provide professional training for graduate and undergraduate students through internships and curatorial opportunities, and support faculty and student research.

UB Anderson Gallery Hours:
Wednesday–Saturday: 11–5PM and Sunday: 1–5PM
Admission is FREE:

For more information call: 716-645-0568 or 716-829-3754

For additional information and to request media images, please contact:
Rachel Adams
Associate Curator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Image: Irving Feldman (left) and Robert De Niro, Sr.
Washington Square Park, NYC, May 1954
Courtesy of Fernando Feldman and Irving Feldman

The UB Art Galleries are funded by the UB College of Arts and Sciences, the Visual Arts Building Fund, and the Seymour H. Knox Foundation Fine Arts Fund.

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