Tony Cragg has been widely hailed as one of the leading sculptors of our time. From 1979—the year of his first solo exhibition—to the present, his work has received exceptional recognition, and the artist has been bestowed with the art world’s most prestigious awards. Over the past decade, the momentum of recognition for Cragg has only accelerated, with numerous exhibitions, especially in Europe. In the United States, Cragg’s work has been avidly acquired by museums and private collectors—including Raymond and Patsy Nasher—while the pace of exhibition has been somewhat slower. Indeed, Cragg’s last museum exhibition in this country took place in 1990.
Tony Cragg: Seeing Things, organized by the Nasher Sculpture Center, sought to redress that imbalance. Featuring approximately 30 large- and moderately-scaled sculptures, the exhibition surveyed the scope of Cragg’s production over the last twenty years, including a selection of drawings, integral to the artist's process and rarely seen in this country. During that span, Cragg engaged in an intensive investigation of the associative potential of sculpture. His work was lauded for its formal, thematic, and material diversity and drew upon the artist’s broad intellectual interests in science, philosophy, history, sociology, politics, psychology, and poetry, as well as an intuitive and emotional response to form and material.
Cragg has been prolific over the last twenty years. He prefers to work on several sculptures at once, the sculptures in process often varying considerably, each with its own formal basis, material, and artistic aim. Groups or families of related objects—which he categorizes variously as Micro/Macrostructures, Organs and Organisms, Vessels and Cells, Early Forms, and Rational Beings— develop over several months or years, often connecting and interrelating in fascinating ways. “There are,” he said recently, “thousands and thousands of other forms that don't exist yet. And they are valuable because they could still provide meaning, they could still be used as metaphors, they could still be used as language, and they could still be used in thoughts and fantasies and dreams.” Tony Cragg: Seeing Things showcased examples across this great diversity.
Arrayed throughout the Nasher Sculpture Center, the exhibition occupied most of the interior galleries and garden, as well as engaged the public on the sidewalk in front of the Nasher. The exhibition was accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalogue featuring a new scholarly essay by Nasher curator Jed Morse.
Tony Cragg: Seeing Things was presented by The Dallas Foundation. Additional support was provided by Amy and Vernon Faulconer, David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher, Marianne Holtermann, Joanne and Mark Giambrone, Resolution Capital, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, The Rosewood Foundation, and Patrick and Sara Sands.