Nasher Public

Nasher Public

A public art initiative for North Texas.

Nasher Public is a year-long, two-pronged public art initiative called which aims to generate access to public art by North Texas artists at the Nasher and throughout the greater Dallas community. The project will launch first at the Nasher in a newly formed gallery, presenting monthly exhibitions over the next year, followed by an ongoing series of off-site exhibitions in partnership with area businesses.

Inspired by the success of the summer 2020 series Nasher Windows, which safely presented art to the public in the Nasher Sculpture Center’s vestibule while the museum was closed due to the pandemic, Nasher Public will comprise a series of monthly exhibitions, each presenting work by emerging and established artists in a newly constituted gallery space formerly occupied by the Nasher Store (which will reopen in late 2021). The new gallery fronts Flora Street and is directly accessible from the Nasher’s entrance foyer. For the duration of the project, the space will be open to the public free of charge during the museum’s public hours, and viewable through the windows during off hours.

Exhibitions

Nasher Public: Vicki Meek

at the Nasher

January 7 - February 14, 2021


Taking its title from a lyric of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” the Black national anthem, Vicki Meek’s Nasher Public installation Stony the Road We Trod offers a contemporary shrine dedicated to the Black community. Drawing upon the culture of Yoruba belief, Adinkra symbols of Ghana, and other metaphorical elements, Meek has transformed the Nasher Store Gallery into an uplifting space of healing and encouragement.

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Nasher Public: Vicki Meek

Nasher Public: Nyugen E. Smith

at the Nasher

December 10, 2020 - January 3, 2021

The work of artist Nyugen E. Smith examines the universal human experiences of memory, trauma, and spirituality through the multifarious impacts of colonialism on the African diaspora.  A first-generation Caribbean-American born in Jersey City, New Jersey, to Haitian and Trinidadian parents, and a Lecturer on Interdisciplinary Art at SMU in Dallas, Smith uses performance, found object sculpture, mixed media drawing, painting, video, photography, and writing to connect past upheavals with present political struggles.  For Nasher Public, Smith presents fourteen Spirit Carriers, a series of found object constructions that the artist began in 2016.  Suspended from the ceiling, the sculptures seem to float in the space, like eccentric, improvised air balloons.  Their characteristic shape derives from the crowns of Yoruba chiefs, whose beaded headdresses featured veils to shield the monarch’s visage from the public, thus also protecting viewers from the chief’s power.  Smith made the Spirit Carriers as vessels to carry and protect the spirits of unarmed people of color killed by the police, until, as the artist says, “the spirits can go where they need to go.”  This body of work can be seen as a conceptual and formal outgrowth of a larger series the artist began in 2005 called Bundlehouses—multimedia drawings as well as small- and large-scale found object sculptures—that recall the temporary shelters built by migrants with whatever resources they have at hand (usually what they manage to bring with them or find where they camp).  Both the Bundlehouses and Spirit Carriers speak powerfully and beautifully to the capricious circumstances and tenuousness and fragility of life in the contemporary world.

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Nasher Public: Nyugen E. Smith

Nasher Public: Giovanni Valderas

at the Nasher

November 12 - December 6, 2020


In the second exhibition for Nasher Public at the Nasher Store gallery, Dallas-born artist Giovanni Valderas’s Grit/Grind takes its point of departure from the American dream of freedom, mobility, and success that owning a car has traditionally represented. Valderas has placed a single object in the gallery—a large, brightly colored piñata he created as a full-scale replica of the 1986 Nissan Sentra that was the first car his Guatemalan mother bought and in which she learned to drive. Valderas’s project draws upon his memories of the independence having a car of their own granted to his family but offers reflections as well upon the more sobering consequences of life among working poor families. For these communities, a car may be emblematic of a transitory life of frequent moves when the rent becomes too high or may even serve as a possible dwelling itself when other options are exhausted. These layers of meaning are apparent in the work’s title, Grit/Grind, as Valderas explains: “The grit that we all have coming from working class families, we get it done no matter what. Our bills need to be paid, so we are going to figure out a way to do that. But it is also the grind that takes a toll on us through constantly driving or constantly working low paying jobs, and we see that reflected in our health and our socio-economic status. We have brown and black families that have shorter life expectancies than say a white family in North Dallas.”

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Nasher Public: Giovanni Valderas

Nasher Public: Bernardo Vallarino

at the Nasher

October 15 - November 8, 2020


For the first installation of Nasher Public in the Nasher Store gallery, Fort Worth artist Bernardo Vallarino will present an iteration of an ongoing project called Pedacitos de Paz (Little bits of peace), which combines installation with video and addresses the persistence of violence in our society. The central element—hundreds of white ribbons looped in the style of advocacy movements and installed as a pile on a table—speaks to the sentiments of  “thoughts and prayers” that often follow such atrocities as mass shootings yet remain empty refrains without concrete actions for change. Several times throughout the duration of the exhibition, the artist will sit at the table within the installation to make these ribbons, a performance the public may witness through the exterior windows of the Nasher building. Inspired by Vallarino’s childhood experiences in Colombia  and in the US, where his family emigrated in the 1990s, Pedacitos de Paz will continue to grow as a body of work as long as the violent issues that spurred it into being persist.

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Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
214.242.5100
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