On a recent, Spring-break visit to Buffalo, we spent a good part of the morning visiting the Theodore Roosevelt Inauguration National Historical Site and then the afternoon and evening at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Buffalo may be a rust-belt city, but there is some real history and culture there!
I had certainly heard the story of TR’s inauguration before, and in fact, have read a biography of him a few years ago. But this was fascinating, because it was the actual site where he took the oath of office in September, 1901. The story, in brief, is that President McKinley was visiting the Pan Am Exposition in Buffalo when he was shot by an anarchist. TR was vacationing in the Adirondacks at the time and made a hasty trip to Buffalo. When it appeared that McKinley would recover, TR headed back to the hills. But a week after the shooting, McKinley took a turn for the worse and perished. TR had to return to Buffalo, and a quick inauguration ceremony had to be arranged. It took place in the home of a lawyer friend, and that home is today the historical site operated by the National Park Service. They have done an excellent job of restoring it and of telling the story. Here’s a newspaper from the day of the event:
The Albright-Knox is a relatively small art gallery, but they have some famous, “modern-art” paintings there. One that I liked is this painting by Jasper Johns of the digits 0 through 9 in a grid:
We were able to enjoy a guided tour, and then in the evening there was live music in the café.
This is the second art gallery that I’ve visited this year. I’m learning that I enjoy looking at “real” art. Also, the novels I’ve been reading (My Name is Asher Lev and The Gift of Asher Lev) are causing me to re-examine what it is that artists do and what it is that they are. Although I know I will never be an artist, I am glad that my appreciation of fine art is growing.