DALLAS, Texas (August 31, 2020) – The Nasher Sculpture Center announces the acquisition of two works: Xxavier Edward Carter’s Start Livin in the New World and fare well by Kristen Cochran. The works were recently part of the Nasher Windows series, a program developed to present art in the Renzo Piano-designed museum vestibule, viewable from the street, while the museum was closed due to the pandemic.
“We began Nasher Windows as way to continue showing art in the museum, even if from a distance, believing that it could serve as a balm to the city during this time of deep anxiety and isolation,” says Director Jeremy Strick. “The project has provided a platform for some of the best emerging and mid-career artists in North Texas, many of whom had exhibitions cancelled due to the shutdown, and we have been overwhelmed by the quality of the work by them, as well as the outpouring of appreciation for it by the public. These gifts to the museum of Carter’s and Cochran’s work are especially timely contributions to the collection, as each pay tribute to the experience of loss, and the growth and change that may come from it.”
A gift of Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger, Xxavier Edward Carter’s installation Start Livin in the New World has as its focal point a large paper tapestry created, as Carter explains, by collaging together “receipts, mail, federal paperwork, exhibition flyers, museum papers, and other scraps of paper found or given to the artist.” While this tapestry recalls the practice of marking territory with banners or flags, its execution from remnants and souvenirs partakes of modern traditions of collage mingling art with commerce, nature, and labor. Taking its title from a song by Philadelphia Hip Hop group The Roots, Start Livin in the New World draws out tensions implicit in these associations by suspending the tapestry from a tree limb with paper magnolia blossoms in what is ordinarily a transitional space—the vestibule of both a museum and its shop. In the Nasher vestibule, closed off by the pandemic, his installation was both a window display incorporating natural elements as well as a somewhat foreboding scene of abandonment.
Carter comments on the work: “The scene created is a kind of terrarium or bonsai world of plastic, dead limbs, fake flowers, and a banner showing not only a journey in its material presence but a record of consumption, in other words the suburban dream. This space surveils the viewer being set inside of the institutional glass façade of the Nasher Sculpture Center during a global pandemic, echoing the words of the song, ‘It ain’t nowhere to run, it ain’t hardly nowhere to hide,’ at a time where communities of color are being disproportionately affected by a crisis that is being exacerbated by the consumption of capitalist living and a government that continues to adhere to corporate safety and racial divisions rather than investing in the people.”
Made possible with gifts from friends of the late Donald Fowler, the Nasher’s beloved Director of Retail, Kristen Cochran’s neon sculpture fare well addresses loss and the passage of time by adopting the material language of storefronts and shop façades that use neon signage. For the installation, the frame of the Nasher’s vestibule windows acted as a surface for a glowing, imagined farewell. At the same time, the division of the word into its component parts—“fare” and “well”—urged viewers to ‘fare well’ in the present moment and its numerous challenging circumstances.
The artist describes fare well as “a harbinger and herald: it’s a final autographic a-Dios coupled with an admonishment to passersby, [to] fare well in the face of loss, liminality and change.” Cochran’s installation offers a nuanced consideration of moments of transition, departure, and benediction by drawing upon recent events, especially the passing of Donald Fowler on May 3. Cochran has based the script of her sign on Fowler’s handwriting, personalizing the neon sculpture as if, as she put it, “his final act of generosity and kindness was to ‘tag’ the [Nasher’s] façade with a grand and impish goodbye.”
About Xxavier Edward Carter
Xxavier Edward Carter is a transdisciplinary artist born in Dallas, Texas with a BFA from Stanford University and an MFA from Southern Methodist University. His work is often presented as videos, publications, installations, and performances to encompass multi-sensorial, and layered circumstances encountered by the artist. Personal interactions, media bombardment, observed and lived experiences, and material excess/waste influence his work towards a complex revolutionary promise. These ecologically centered works are often heavily linked to the material history of currency in how it relates to the histories of marginalized people. Xxavier is of Black and Native American heritage and views his work as a continuation of the survival and storytelling practices of the cultures he was born into. Broader, he is interested in how these practices have their analogies across cultures worldwide. Stories of origins, the afterlife, superhuman beings, and of love and tragedy are the most compelling for him. Xxavier Edward Carter creates work dealing with what these stories mean in an often violent and oppressive context. His work bravely forges new ground by creating from the links of a chain that is often marked by the destructive history of humanity.
About Kristen Cochran
Kristen Cochran is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Dallas. Originally from Portland, Oregon, she moved to Dallas in 2010 to complete her MFA. at Southern Methodist University. She has exhibited her work locally, nationally, and internationally and has been awarded residencies in Long Island City, NY; Mittersill, Austria; Banner, Wyoming; and The Center for Arts and Medicine at Baylor Hospital’s Sammons Center for Cancer Research, Dallas. Cochran has taught extensively at universities and museums in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including The University of Texas at Dallas; The Nasher Sculpture Center; and The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Recent exhibitions include chroma soma at Barry Whistler Gallery, Dallas; Fold In at Lawndale Arts Center, Houston; GOALS at the Stein Galleries, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio; and Material Intension at ex ovo projects, Dallas. She will participate in the exhibition After Carolee: Tender & Fierce at Artpace, San Antonio and The NARS Foundation International Artist Residency in Brooklyn later this year.
The Nasher Windows series began in May and closes September 1, 2020 and was made possible by generous support from John W. Dayton, given in memory of Donald Fowler. Artist Sara Cardona is on view until September 1.