Buffalo Caverns

We carved out this subterranean mural on the walls of the Buffalo Public Library as the first project of the Albright-Knox’s new Public Art Initiative for Buffalo, NY and Erie County.

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The dark stone surface of the wall, as well as its the length and sloping decent inspired the imagery of the cave system. The color of the wall itself then became the pitch blackness of the underground world of earth’s deepest crevices.

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As visitors to the cavern line up to enter they are handed flashlights (real flashlights cut in half). Once inside the cave, only formations within the circular islands of light produced by the flashlights are exposed. We used these islands as a way of preserving some of the mystery of the caverns. Despite the number of people in the caves, much is still left to be explored.

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Viewers travel down the wall alongside the characters in the mural and discover a series of progressive caves, including one filled with crystals glittering from the light of a Chihuahua’s headlamp.

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This mural took over 200 man-hours to complete with one entire day devoted to nothing but making rain for the cave below.

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At the end of the horizontal wall is a dead end filled with bats, which forces our spelunkers back to the rainy cavern and up a rope ladder, which traverses to the cave’s exit almost 45 feet above. As explorers exit the caverns they leave their flashlights behind in a pile, creating a dizzying display of light in the last and largest cavity.

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The largest cavern read like a rose window that could be seen in sight lines up to a mile away.

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