In collaboration with architect Edwin Chan, artist Piero Golia completely transformed the Nasher’s Corner Gallery into a luxurious gathering space that integrated architecture, entertainment, and works of art by Pierre Huyghe, Mark Grotjahn, Jeff Wall, and Christopher Williams.
The Naples-born, Los Angeles-based artist Piero Golia has been described as a mastermind of monumental gestures and precise orchestration. In 2013 he opened Chalet Hollywood, arguably the most radical and ambitious representation of this characterization. Working with architect Edwin Chan, Golia transformed a storage area off of Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles into a gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art, integrating architecture, entertainment, and works of art by Pierre Huyghe, Mark Grotjahn, Jeff Wall and Christopher Williams. Golia’s intent was to create a space of rare beauty that would gather visitors from the vast reaches of L.A. to meet in a luxurious environment that encouraged interaction and led to a more developed sense of community. For over a year on select evenings, Golia opened the Chalet to friends and visitors for gatherings that ranged from extravagantly large-scale to quiet and intimate. Golia designed these evenings with an unpredictable structure, mingling artists and celebrities, as a way to build a mythology around the Chalet and encourage meaningful interactions between visitors united by their shared experience in the space. After sixteen months of operation, Chalet Hollywood closed November 3rd, 2014.
With the help of the Nasher Sculpture Center, Golia was able to resurrect the Chalet and bring it to Dallas in an effort to extend his utopian idea of community building through carefully orchestrated social gatherings. Again, Golia worked with Chan to reconfigure the architectural elements of the Chalet Hollywood to the Nasher Corner Gallery. Reusing nearly all of the original elements from the Hollywood version, Chan recreated the feeling of Chalet Hollywood in a space that's unique to Dallas, transforming the gallery into a warm and convivial environment with modular white oak furnishings, Venetian plaster walls, and textiles designed by Johnson Hartig.
Also from Chalet Hollywood, Golia included Pierre Huyghe’s aquarium—an ecosystem of crabs and floating rocks; Mark Grotjahn’s painting Untitled (My Beautiful Brother Eric Baboon Face 43.30) of 2011; Jeff Wall’s photograph A Sapling Supported by a Post of 2000; and Christopher Williams’ piano, handed down from generations at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and rumored to have been played by Joseph Beuys, the father of social action as art, during his tenure as professor there in the 1960s.
Chalet Dallas followed a similar structure to its Hollywood predecessor. On certain evenings, it operated akin to a salon, where a wide range of guests and performers met to experience whatever entertainment Golia had arranged for the evening. In addition, the Chalet was accessible during the daytime as a place for museum visitors to gather, view the works of art, and experience the environment. On select Saturdays, public tours highlighted certain aspects of the evening gatherings, providing a sense of Chalet Dallas as not only a physical structure but also a space for myth-making and social engagement.
Chalet Dallas was made possible through the generous support of Christen and Derek Wilson, Nasiba and Thomas Hartland-Mackie, John Morace and Tom Kennedy, and Michael M. Corman and Kevin Fink. Generous support for the Chalet Hollywood was provided by an Anonymous donor, Meridee Williams, Fundación /Colección Jumex, and the Kayne Foundation. The Nasher is grateful to Green House Market /Michael and Robyn Siegel, KAVDRAT, and CentralTrak: The University of Texas at Dallas Artists Residency Program for their support in the form of in-kind donations. The museum also wishes to thank Signature Millwork, Inc., Interior Plaster Design, and Woodwright Hardwood Floor Company.