Gundlach Donates $42.5 Million to Buffalo’s Albright-Knoxby
Largest private gift in contemporary art museum’s history
It’ll be renamed the Buffalo Albright-Knox-Gundlach Art Museum
Investor Jeffrey Gundlach will add his name to the venerable Albright-Knox Art Gallery with a $42.5 million gift to the Buffalo, New York, institution.
The gift, the largest in the museum’s 154-year history, will go to an expansion and renovation project, the museum said in a statement Friday. Its board voted to rename the institution the Buffalo Albright-Knox-Gundlach Art Museum. Gundlach, a renowned bond investor, is a native of the Buffalo area.
Gundlach’s donation was part of a matching challenge that helped the museum, which specializes in modern and contemporary art, raise $103 million in 11 weeks.
“It completely changes the future of the institution,” Gundlach, chief executive officer and co-founder of DoubleLine Capital LP, said in a telephone interview. “For Albright-Knox, $42.5 million that motivates more than $100 million is truly, without any hyperbole, transformational.”
The funds will enable Albright-Knox to realize an expansion, with a design by Shohei Shigematsu of the architectural firm OMA, and to enhance its campus in Frederick Law Olmsted’s Delaware Park. The capital campaign will also bolster the museum’s endowment. The project is expected to receive $15 million from the state of New York.
“The museum will be known as the Buffalo AKG Art Museum,” Gundlach said. “The name change takes effect when we cut the ribbon on the new building. My guess, it’s five years away.”
Gundlach said he is much more excited about Buffalo being in the new title than his name.
“Now the city will be in the name,” he said about the museum, which is located about 18 miles from Niagara Falls. “Attendance will go up.” The Falls attract about 12 million visitors a year.
Rich benefactors are increasingly making large donations to cultural spots -- and getting their names on the door in the process. Last year billionaire entertainment mogul David Geffen’s planned $100 million donation to Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York resulted in it being renamed David Geffen Hall. In April, he donated another $100 million to the Museum of Modern Art in New York for a renovation and expansion. Three floors of new galleries will be renamed the David Geffen wing.
“The museum is old,” Gundlach said of Albright-Knox. “The original building is 111 years old. It needs renovation.”
It also needs adequate space to show its impressive collection of modern and postwar art, he said, listing artists such as Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. “They are also desperately lacking space in which to show these great treasures,” he said.
Gundlach’s flagship DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund has taken in $12 billion this year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. It had total assets of $61.9 billion as of Sept. 22, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.