DALLAS, Texas (June 4, 2019)—The Nasher Sculpture Center announces Elmgreen & Dragset: Sculptures, an exhibition that will mark the Scandinavian duo’s first major museum presentation in the U.S., on view September 14, 2019 – January 5, 2020, providing a long overdue look at the work of two of contemporary art’s most dynamic and multifaceted artists.
Artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have worked together as Elmgreen & Dragset since the mid-1990s. In their sculptures, installations, and performances, they reinterpret 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 consistently devise new possibilities in the way art is presented and perceived, and how we use and organize public space.
“We are delighted to present a unique look at Elmgreen & Dragset’s sculptural practice for the first time in a museum exhibition,” says Director Jeremy Strick. “Knowing the standards of wit and ingenuity that they regularly deploy, we can expect them to find compelling ways of engaging their work with—and offering new insight into—the museum’s environs, its history, its permanent collection, and indeed the long tradition of sculpture.”
At the Nasher Sculpture Center, the exhibition will focus on Elmgreen & Dragset’s sculptural production, presenting together for the first time a large selection of works that illustrate the artists’ use of multiple aesthetics and working methods, and show entry points from post-Minimalism, conceptual strategies, and the figurative sculpture tradition. The artists’ diverse practice often incorporates performative and narrative elements on subjects that encompass the personal and the political, such as youth and aging, sexual identity, institutional structures, and issues in relation to public space.
The exhibition will include sculptures from the beginnings of Elmgreen & Dragset’s collaboration as well as new work created for this presentation. The artists will also restage two new versions of works from their past oeuvre: in the Nasher Garden, Elmgreen & Dragset will install a second edition of Traces of a Never Existing History/Powerless Structures, Fig. 222—their iconic sinking/emerging contemporary art museum, originally commissioned for the 7th Istanbul Biennial in 2001. And in the Nasher Galleries, alongside their sculptural works, the artists will stage the fourth iteration of their Diaries series of durational performances. Originally presented at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris in 2003 as Paris Diaries, the artists have subsequently presented the performance in Istanbul (2013) and Hong Kong (2015). Dallas Diaries will feature three young men, seated at specially designed writing desks, keeping diaries in the gallery throughout the run of the exhibition.
In his essay for the accompanying exhibition catalogue, art historian and curator David J. Getsy comments: “Across these three main genres of sculpture—the modernist sculptural object, the statue, and the monument—Elmgreen & Dragset have drawn on dominant conventions only to contest them from within. While their work in relation to architecture and to performance has more often been discussed, sculpture is also a recurring and important reference.” The artists engage with and draw on the history of sculpture while continually reimagining what sculpture can be and embody.
In conjunction with the Elmgreen & Dragset: Sculptures exhibition, the Nasher Sculpture Center will publish a fully illustrated scholarly catalogue that will include an introductory essay by Curator and Project Director, Dr. Leigh Arnold and three scholarly essays by Drs. David Getsy, Joan Kee, and Alex Potts, as well as the first overview of the artists’ public sculpture, co-authored by Arnold and writer and editor, Anita Iannacchione. As the first publication in the world devoted to their sculptural works, it will provide a visual and scholarly overview of their sculpture, from the artists’ early career up to today. Through essays and extensive visual documentation—approximately 250 color and 30 black and white images of artworks—readers will have access to the variety of sculptural approaches and artistic languages, aesthetics, and topics Elmgreen & Dragset engage with in their work.
Elmgreen & Dragset: Sculptures is made possible with leading support from Perrotin. Major support is provided by The New Carlsberg Foundation, with additional support from The Danish Arts Foundation, and The American Scandinavian Foundation.
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About the Nasher Sculpture Center:
Located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District, the Nasher Sculpture Center is home to the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary sculpture in the world, featuring more than 300 masterpieces by Calder, de Kooning, di Suvero, Giacometti, Gormley, Hepworth, Kelly, Matisse, Miró, Moore, Picasso, Rodin, Serra, and Shapiro, among others.
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.