Nasher Sculpture Center launches ambitious project to turn all of North Texas into an outdoor museum
As the Nasher Sculptor Center nears its 10th anniversary in October, the landscape of Dallas’ art scene will change dramatically … and literally.
The center’s dynamic art exhibit, Nasher XChange, will feature 10 different public, outdoor works commissioned from different international artists, with installations in areas throughout North Texas. The official opening, set for October 19, will conclude the center’s yearlong project marking its decade in Dallas.
“[Public art] has generally been on the minds of the Dallas arts world for a while,” says Jed Morse, the Nasher’s curator, of the center’s desire to orchestrate this massive artistic and community-wide undertaking, which seeks to engage every community in Dallas, while offering diverse and insightful interpretations of contemporary sculpture. “We wanted to contribute to the greater conversation of public art in general and it was a way to get beyond the walls of the sculpture center and engage the broader community in public conversation.”
The citywide, museum-organized public art exhibition is the first of its kind in the nation.
“As the only institution in the world exclusively dedicated to collecting, exhibiting and researching modern and contemporary sculpture, the Nasher Sculpture Center is uniquely positioned to investigate this growing aspect of practice of sculpture in the public realm,” adds Jeremy Strick, the director of the Nasher.
The projects and the artists represent a range of sculptural practices in contemporary sculpture locally, nationally and internationally to create diverse and engaging pieces, says Morse. Among the artists invited to participate in the exhibit are Denton-based Good/Bad Art Collective, Lara Almarcegui, Rachel Harrison, Alfredo Jaar, Liz Larner, Charles Long, Rick Lowe, Vicki Meek, Ruben Ochoa and Ugo Rondinone. Those names have been known for months.
But in keeping with the drama associated with all good art, project names, descriptions and locations have been doled out throughout the summer.
The seventh release, announced just this week, identified artist Charles Long’s piece Fountainhead, which will be placed at NorthPark Center. (NorthPark Center was founded by the late Raymond Nasher, who also started the museum named after him.)
The Long installation virtually performs every function a traditional fountain does. Kiosks topped with iPads will surround the form and visitors can donate money to designated charities. After a donation, visitors can toss a virtual coin on the iPad screen toward the form, resulting in a splash.
Other projects include a wooden pier by Ugo Rondinone placed on the shores of West Dallas’ Fish Trap Lake, a site owned by the Dallas Housing Authority. Another, Trans.lation by Rick Lowe, will enable the Vickery Meadow neighborhood — a three square-mile area that makes up one of the most culturally diverse sections of Dallas — to share their artistic talents and cultural traditions with each other and the greater Dallas community.
Another project, entitled Curtains, will be exhibited at the Bryan Tower office building in Downtown Dallas. Created by Good/Bad Art Collective, the project will be part one-night event, part exhibition and part television broadcast exploring notions of viewership and interaction.
Liz Larner’s work will be X, a mirror-polished stainless steel sculpture, that will be placed in the courtyard of the new Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building at The University of Texas at Dallas.
While all the projects have different techniques and approaches by the artist, Morse says the works have universal themes that will resonate with every Dallasite.
“I think a lot of these projects will speak to everybody,” he says.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 23, 2013.