Nasher Sculpture Center Exhibition, Nasher XChange, Featuring Ten New Commissions, Opens to Commemorate Museum’s 10th Anniversary

Public sculpture exhibition features local, national and international artists responding to local community, October 19, 2013 to February 16, 2014.

To celebrate its 10th  anniversary, the Nasher Sculpture Center presents Nasher XChange, a dynamic art exhibition consisting of 10 newly-commissioned public sculptures by contemporary artists at sites throughout the city of Dallas from October 19, 2013 to February 16, 2014. Covering a diverse range of neighborhoods and approaches to sculpture, Nasher XChange represents the first citywide, museum-organized public art exhibition in the United States. 

“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 practice of sculpture in the public realm. Nasher XChange will extend the museum’s core mission beyond its walls and into Dallas’ diverse neighborhoods, alongside key community partners, to present advances in the rapidly expanding field of sculpture, raise the level of discourse on the subject within the city, and contribute to broader national and international conversations on public sculpture,” said Nasher Director Jeremy Strick.

The Nasher has commissioned artists representing a range of practices in contemporary sculpture, including artists with years of experience working in the public realm as well as those for whom the Nasher commission would represent the first opportunity to present art outside the physical space of museum and gallery: Lara Almarcegui, Good/Bad Art Collective, Rachel Harrison, Alfredo Jaar, Liz Larner, Charles Long, Rick Lowe, Vicki Meek, Ruben Ochoa, and Ugo Rondinone. The Nasher’s curatorial team has hosted visits to Dallas for each of the artists, who have selected a variety of geographical, social, historical, environmental, and aesthetic settings around the city, and met with community partners to develop collaborations.

Nasher XChange celebrates the Nasher’s 10th anniversary by referencing the history of the Nasher Collection itself: from the time of its early formation, major works from it were displayed in an unconventional public space – NorthPark Center, an indoor shopping mall created in 1965 by Nasher Sculpture Center founder Raymond Nasher. In addition to commissioning these significant new projects throughout the city, the museum’s plans include a scholarly publication and educational programs for the public. Nasher XChange will also serve as a model for future commissions and collaborations with community partners, and establish a precedent for other museums and communities looking to engage in similar activities.

Nasher XChange represents an evolution in the museum’s exhibition program, which began with historic exhibitions focused primarily on artists in the Nasher Collection and, in recent years, has expanded to include contemporary sculpture through exhibitions featuring such artists as Ken Price, Ernesto Neto, Tony Cragg, and Jaume Plensa. The Nasher has also created its Sightings series, which invites contemporary artists such as Martin Creed, Eva Rothschild, and Diana Al-Hadid, to create installations responding to the architectural setting of the Nasher’s Renzo Piano building. 

The Nasher has developed a mobile app, available for free on the App Store, which provides maps and directions to each of the ten sites, as well as background information on the artist and the commission. Visitors are also invited to upload their own photos of each piece.

The Nasher has also organized several bus tours of all of the sites throughout the run of the exhibition: November 23, December 21, January 18, and February 1.

Nasher XChange has received support from the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Dallas Foundation, the Eugene McDermott Foundation, and the Hoblitzelle Foundation, as well as The Nasher Foundation.

Nasher XChange Commissions

Lara Almarcegui (Rotterdam, Netherlands): Buried House, SouthDallas
Almarcegui’s project for Nasher XChange, entitled Buried House, involves working with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity on a house in South Dallas already slated for demolition.  Following  the demolition, she buried the house’s remains on the property, creating a sort of memorial site that nonetheless retains the building’s actual substance and providing a “free space” for reflection on the neighborhood’s past, present and future. Almarcegui is working in Oak Cliff Gardens, a neighborhood in East Oak Cliff, part of an area with a history almost as old as Dallas itself.  Near the site of the first stop for stagecoaches headed out of Dallas for central Texas, the area surrounding the intersection at Lancaster and Ann Arbor roads became the small town of Lisbon, which was in turn annexed by the city in 1929.  Today, Oak Cliff Gardens is a neighborhood in transition.  Many derelict, often vacant, homes will undergo renovations, thanks to the help of organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.  These transitional sites in the neighborhood embody a significant historical moment—a time of possibility when anything might happen. Almarcegui hopes to draw attention to this area and make people in Dallas aware of often overlooked places amidst our changing surroundings.  “This project is a sculptural work that is about the construction that used to stand, the history of the house and how it was erected,” said artist Lara Almarcegui.  “However, it’s not just about the house, but about the past of the terrain and the future of the terrain. It is a work about construction and urban development,” said Almarcegui.

Good/Bad Art Collective (Denton, Texas): CURTAINS, Bryan Tower, Downtown Dallas
Good/Bad Art Collective is a Denton, Texas-based group of artists that created well over 250 events in Texas and New York from 1993-2001.  For the Nasher XChange exhibition, the Good/Bad Art Collective is creating a project entitled Curtains that will be part one-night event, part exhibition and part television broadcast exploring notions of viewership and interaction. The Collective’s XChange project will be their ?rst major project in more than 10 years, and coincides with the 20th anniversary of the group. In the months leading up to the opening of XChange, the Collective will produce a 28-minute infomercial, which will be filmed in a newly created television studio on a floor of Bryan Tower, a downtown Dallas highrise managed by Spire Realty Group LP. At the opening event on Saturday, October 19, 2013, attendees will be given the opportunity to participate in the filming of the infomercial. Visitors throughout the run of XChange will be able to walk the space in which the infomercial was filmed and see sculptural elements used as props during the opening and in the finished infomercial, as well as select edits of video documenting the one-night event. The finished infomercial will be broadcast on late night and early morning television timeslots in local, regional, and national markets. The experience of each of these aspects of the project will be distinct—the fun and excitement of participating in the filming during the opening; the uncanny experience of the installation with its static surrogates from the filming animated only by clips of the opening event; and the bemused surprise of insomniac viewers who happen to catch a work of art masquerading as a late night infomercial. At turns humorous and interactive, dark and thought-provoking, CURTAINS uses the dying medium of the infomercial to highlight the transience and ephemeral nature of the human experience.

Rachel Harrison (New York, New York): Moore to the point, Dallas City Hall, Downtown Dallas
On a visit to Dallas City Hall, Harrison was surprised to see Henry Moore’s The Dallas Piece surrounded by metal barricades much like a museum or gallery would place stanchions around an artwork. This experience triggered anidea of developing a project for the plaza that would encourage visitors to be more engaged with the artwork as Moore had intended. Although the barricades have been removed, most visitors to the plaza still walk around the sculpture, rather than through it. Harrison has designed a bright pink arrow for the monochrome plaza that will be placed next to the Moore and point to "what is already there.” Harrison’s XChange project represents her first public art commission.

Alfredo Jaar (New York, New York): Music (Everything I know I learned the day my son was born), Nasher Sculpture Center, Downtown Dallas Arts District
Jaar’s project is inspired by what it means for a museum to celebrate an anniversary: what does it mean to be born, grow, and then reflect back on ten years of life? Most importantly, how can an institution like the Nasher Sculpture Center acknowledge the community it is a part of? Instead of reflecting on important institutional moments, Jaar celebrates the births of newborn citizens and the limitless possibilities of their futures. Inside a pavilion designed by Jaar and located in the Nasher garden, visitors will hear recordings of the first cries of babies born in Dallas between October 1, 2013 and February 1, 2014. In collaboration with Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, Methodist Dallas Medical Center and Parkland Health & Hospital System, the sounds of the first few moments of life will be recorded and uploaded in the pavilion. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, the time-stamped recordings will be played each day at the times of their births and new recordings will be added continuously allowing for a space inside the museum where the voices of the city can be heard. The diversity of voices and their intermittent occurrence within the space create an ever-changing musical composition that provides simple yet profound reminders of our city’s continuing growth. For the hundreds of families who choose to become a part of this artwork, the Nasher Sculpture Center will provide special memberships to the museum – a one-year Giacometti Level Membership for the participating families and the first ever Lifetime Membership for the babies. 

Liz Larner (Los Angeles, California): X, University of Texas at Dallas, Far North Dallas
Liz Larner is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work has been characterized by a sustained examination into the nature of sculpture. For Nasher XChange, Larner has created two sculptures for the new Edith O'Donnell Arts and Technology Building that can be seen as figures enacting the exchange of ideas between these disciplines. The innovative X-shape of the sculptures, described by the artist as continuing her “investigation into the open form and the use of line to create volume,” has been developed over several years and could not have been realized without the use of digital modeling technology. Larner’s experience working both with and without technology intrigued faculty at UT Dallas, and made this pairing a natural fit as the program progresses through its first year. A wood version of the sculpture, on view inside the building, embodies the intersection of traditional sculpture media and new technology. The stainless steel version, being made for the outdoor courtyard, evokes the futuristic and technological, providing a fleeting succession of colors and flashes of light and shadow reflecting the activities and experiences of the building’s occupants and visitors.Arts and Technology is a new interdisciplinary curriculum at UT Dallas that fosters collaboration at the intersection of arts and humanities, science and engineering and is a partnership between the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Arts and Humanities.  

Charles Long (Los Angeles, California): Fountainhead, NorthPark Center, Near North Dallas
Long’s project, Fountainhead, is an irresistible contribution to the tradition of artist-made fountains. Relying more heavily on technology than anything Long has produced thus far, the installation performs every function of a traditional fountain, only virtually. Projected images of sheets of dollar bills move serenely over the surface of a sculpted, head-like form, flowing like water, instantly adapting to every nook and curve, accompanied by an elegant soundtrack of moving water and paper. It also updates the role of the public fountain as a source of well-wishing and charitable giving. Three kiosks topped with iPads surround the form and offer an opportunity for visitors to donate money to one of three Dallas charities: Bookmarks, a branch of the Dallas Public Library, Dallas CASA and the North Texas Food Bank.  After payment is tendered, visitors are encouraged to flick a virtual coin on the iPad screen toward the form, resulting in an exuberant splash. 

Rick Lowe (Houston, Texas): Trans.lation, Vickery Meadow, East Dallas
Rick Lowe’s social sculpture is planned for the Vickery Meadow neighborhood, a three square-mile area that makes up one of the most culturally diverse sections of Dallas. The project, entitled Trans.lation, will kick off a series of Pop-up Markets open to the public on October 19, November 23, December 21, January 18, and February 22 that will enable the Vickery Meadow community to share their artistic talents and cultural traditions with each other and the greater Dallas community. Lowe is working with an eclectic group of artists, community organizers, designers, and residents to highlight the cultural diversity of Vickery Meadow. Through a series of workshops and gatherings with residents, Lowe and the Trans.lation team are identifying residents’ creative strengths and connecting them with local artists for collaboration and mentorship to ultimately engender opportunity and entrepreneurship.  Trans.lation will facilitate a new vision of what public space and interaction could look like in Vickery Meadow. Lowe has visited Dallas multiple times to hold community meetings with residents and property owners, who have shared an overwhelming desire to feel more connected to each other and to the city outside of Vickery Meadow. Lowe considers the research process by which he connects with and learns about a community to be an integral part of his art. As many as 27 languages are spoken by almost 30,000 people in this small but diverse neighborhood. Refugees from around the world are settled in the area by organizations such as the International Rescue Committee, Refugee Services of Texas and the resettlement services of the Catholic Charities of Dallas. 

Vicki Meek (Dallas, Texas): Black & Blue, Cultural Oasis in the Hills, Paul Quinn College, Southern Dallas
A nationally recognized artist residing in Dallas, Vicki Meek desires “to reclaim African American history, restore our collective memory, and illuminate critical issues affecting the Black community through visual communication.” For Nasher XChange, Meek celebrates Bishop College, a historically black college founded in Marshall, Texas, in 1881 that moved to southern Dallas in 1961 and closed in 1988. Meek has created a series of markers on the grounds of Paul Quinn College, which occupies the former Bishop campus, commemorating important people and events from its role in the intellectual and cultural life of Dallas. Significant cultural institutions such as the African American Museum and the Dallas Black Dance Theatre started on the Bishop campus, and important figures like musician Nina Simone and author Alex Haley attended the college in Marshall. Meek developed the project with help from former Bishop College faculty and alumni, members of the nearby Highland Hills and Singing Hills neighborhoods, and Paul Quinn College. An interactive website and app component featuring photographs, a timeline and video interviews with former alumni complements the historical markers. 

Ruben Ochoa (Los Angeles, California): Flock in Space, Trinity River Audubon Center, South Dallas
Ruben Ochoa has created a unique body of work that transforms common materials into breathtaking sculptures. For this commission, Ochoa is responding to the origins of the Trinity River Audubon Center as an illegal dump site in Southeast Dallas, which now serves as a beautiful nature center at the edge of the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States. Ochoa has installed a group of concrete and steel sculptures derived from post footings in chain link fences rising from the ground. In conversation with Brancusi’s Bird in Space, he envisions his installation as man-made forms morphing into organic movement, reminiscent of a ?ock of birds taking flight.  By evoking the site’s change from urban dumping ground to place of scenic beauty, Ochoa’s work reflects the malleability and resiliency of nature. A primary theme in Ochoa’s work has been the exploration of the ideas of inclusion and exclusion throughout urban areas and how class and labor have been contextually impacted and neglected by the built environment. He uses materials and objects that could be seen to signify demarcation in urban spaces, such as galvanized fence poles, concrete retaining walls, and wooden pallets, and then extrapolates them from their original context to shift their meaning for viewers. This will be Ochoa's first sculpture commissioned for the public realm.

Ugo Rondinone (New York, New York): dear sunset, Fish Trap Lake, West Dallas
Ugo Rondinone, a Swiss artist based in New York, has built an international reputation for a body of work that is endlessly inventive and poetic. For his Nasher XChange project, Rondinone constructed a multicolored pier that extends into Fish Trap Lake, blending the experience of the Texas sky, the brightly hued structure, and the water. The site was part of the La Réunion colony, a utopian community of French, Belgian, and Swiss artists and intellectuals who settled here in the 1850s.  The lake was created in 1958 with water redirected from the Trinity River.  Rondinone, who grew up near a lake in Switzerland, hopes to provide poetic, romantic and contemplative moments. Uniting the artist’s longstanding interests in liminal spaces, nature, and the human mark upon the natural world, Rondinone’s pier recasts Fish Trap Lake as a site of transcendent experience.

About the Nasher Sculpture Center

Established in 2003, the Nasher Sculpture Center is home to one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary sculpture in the world, the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, featuring more than 300 masterpieces by Calder, de Kooning, di Suvero, Giacometti, Gormley, Hepworth, Kelly, Matisse, Miró, Moore, Picasso, Rodin, Serra, Shapiro, and Turrell, among others. The longtime dream of the late Raymond and Patsy Nasher, the museum is an urban oasis in the heart of the downtown Dallas Arts District. 


Occupying a 2.4-acre site, the Nasher is comprised of a 55,000 square-foot building designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano and a 1.4 acre garden designed in collaboration with landscape architect Peter Walker. The building is enclosed by glass facades that create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor galleries. An innovative sunscreen of cast aluminum, specifically designed for the Nasher, floats above the glass roof and allows controlled natural light to filter into the galleries, eliminating the need for artificial illumination much of the time, creating a “roofless museum”. In addition to the indoor and outdoor gallery spaces, the Center contains an auditorium, education and research facilities, a cafe, and a store.  

Conceived for the exhibition, study, and conservation of modern and contemporary sculpture, the Nasher Sculpture Center features rotating exhibitions drawn from the Nasher Collection as well as special exhibitions in its indoor and outdoor galleries. The Nasher Sculpture Center also presents a diverse array of educational and cultural programs, including Sightings, a series of small-scale exhibitions and installations that explore new work by established and emerging sculptors; the highly-acclaimed Soundings series that introduces new music to Dallas audiences; and 360: Artists, Critics, Curators, a lecture series featuring art-world visionaries in conversations focused on sculptural themes.
 
The Nasher Sculpture Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm, and from 10 am to 5 pm on the first Saturday of each month.  Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for students, and free for children 12 and under and members, and includes access to special exhibitions. For more information, visit www.NasherSculptureCenter.org.

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Nasher Sculpture Center Presents Nasher XChange