In their sculptures, installations, and performances, they re-interpret familiar designs and spatial structures that surround us in our everyday lives with criticality and subversive wit. From their permanent, site-specific installation of a forever-closed Prada boutique in the West Texas desert to their contributions to the Danish and Nordic Pavilions at the Venice Biennale in 2009, to their conception of a faux art fair in Beijing in 2016 or their giant upright swimming pool Van Gogh’s Ear at Rockefeller Plaza the same year, Elmgreen & Dragset have consistently devised new possibilities in the way art is presented and perceived, and how we use and organize public space.
At the Nasher Sculpture Center, the exhibition focuses on Elmgreen & Dragset’s sculptural production, presenting together for the first time a large selection of sculptures that illustrate the artists’ use of multiple aesthetics and working methods, and show entry points from Minimalism, conceptual strategies, and the figurative sculpture tradition. The artists’ diverse approaches to making often incorporate performative and narrative elements on subjects that encompass the personal, the social, and political, such as youth and aging, gay rights, and the privatization of public space. Organized by Nasher Associate Curator, Dr. Leigh Arnold, the exhibition provides a long overdue look at the work of two of contemporary art’s most dynamic and multifaceted artists.
In addition to the exhibition, the Nasher co-published with Hatje Cantz Verlag the first-ever dedicated study of the duo's sculptures. This extensive publication covers the artists' production in the field of sculpture from the mid-1990s through the present day. Included are extensive photographic documentation of 112 of their works in 198 color illustrations, with essays by Dr. Arnold, Dr. David Getsy of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ms. Anita Iannacchionne formerly with Studio Elmgreen & Dragset, Dr. Joan Kee of the University of Michigan, and Dr. Alex Potts of the University of Michigan. The publication Elmgreen & Dragset: Sculptures is available for purchase at the Nasher Store and online at store.nashersculpturecenter.org
Elmgreen & Dragset: Sculptures is made possible with leading support from the Texas Commission on the Arts and Perrotin. Major support is provided by Garance Primat, Domaine des Etangs and The New Carlsberg Foundation, with additional support courtesy of Lora Reynolds and Quincy Lee, Leigh Rinearson, Sharon and Michael Young, The Danish Arts Foundation, Lucilo Peña and Lee Cobb, and The American Scandinavian Foundation.