DALLAS, Texas (October 15, 2021) – The Nasher Sculpture Center announces recent gifts to the collection: five large-scale works by contemporary artists Jeff Gibbons, Nicolas Party, Kathleen Ryan, Arlene Shechet, and Bosco Sodi. Generously given to the Nasher Sculpture Center by various private donors, the group of sculptures expand the museum’s holdings of works by living artists.
Jeff Gibbons is the latest artist based in Texas to join the collection, an important addition to recent acquisitions of other works by artists working in the state, such as Xxavier Edward Carter and Kristen Cochran. The gifts of Kathleen Ryan and Arlene Shechet works expand representation of women artists in the collection, while Bosco Sodi’s piece is the second by the artist to enter the collection. Nicolas Party’s sculpture TBC (Head) builds upon the original Nasher Collection’s exploration of the figurative form, particularly busts.
“The gifts of these important works of sculpture to the Nasher collection are tremendous, as they each enrich the understanding of the future of sculpture while making evident the deep ties to the traditions of the past still at play in current artistic practice,” says Director Jeremy Strick. “We are exceedingly grateful to the benefactors that have made these acquisitions possible, and we look forward to presenting these new works to the public.”
Kathleen Ryan’s sculpture Jackie, an outsized and jewel-encrusted jack-o-lantern, is currently on view in the Nasher Store Gallery until November 28, 2021.
Full information on the five acquisitions follows:
B.O.B.O. (Boat O.A.R. (Oceanic Auto-Reclaimer)), 2020
Air organ, chair, ball, mushroom, foam, digital print, tacks, matchbook, and string
75 x 80 x 17 in. (190.5 x 203.2 x 43.2 cm)
Acquired with generous support from Charles Dee Mitchell
Jeff Gibbon’s B.O.B.O. (Boat O.A.R. (Oceanic Auto-Reclaimer)) offers a potent summation of the artist’s varied artistic pursuits and philosophical perspective, incorporating found objects, movement, and sound in an amusing and engaging sculpture that considers an episode of great personal significance and even greater implications for humanity. Like many of Gibbon’s sculptures, B.O.B.O. (Boat O.A.R. (Oceanic Auto- Reclaimer)) is a functioning machine, composed of a variety of objects oriented abnormally and playfully. The front of the organ sports a rendering of floating ice factories that Gibbons made to illustrate his idea for an invention to help counteract global warming and create more fresh drinking water. The idea expanded on earlier sculptures he had made using refrigeration equipment that grew ice in beautiful forms and patterns. It also serves here as a remnant of a poignant episode in his life when the artist spoke to the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C. and later sought a patent for his invention but was unable to see the process through due to lack of funds and advocacy, only to see someone else develop the same process successfully several years later. The title for the work, B.O.B.O. (Boat O.A.R. (Oceanic Auto-Reclaimer)), is also the name Gibbons gave to his invention and underscores the affection he typically places on inanimate objects, activating and personifying them—cast-off, downtrodden objects as stand-ins for human experiences.
The work by Gibbons continues the Nasher’s acquisitions of important works by Texas artists and its more recent support of artists in the region. The work also expands the lineage of Dada, represented in the collection by the founding presence of Jean Arp, and adds to the Nasher’s growing range of found object constructions from Joan Miró to Elliott Hundley and including Texas artists Jim Love and David MacManaway.
About Jeff Gibbons
Jeff Gibbons (American, born 1982) is an artist, musician, poet, writer, and curator based in Dallas. His work engages a variety of media and forms including painting, sculpture, photography, video, sound, experimental music, and dance. Over the past decade, he has been one of the most innovative artists working in the region, showing independently at Conduit Gallery and at a variety of non-profit art spaces throughout Texas, including the MAC, the Power Station, and the Goss-Michael Foundation, as well as international exhibitions in Guadalajara and Querétaro, Mexico, and Marseille, France. He has also collaborated and performed with a variety of artists and performance groups, including the Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet and in 2018, for the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family SOLUNA International Music and Arts Festival, with fellow artist and musician, Gregory Ruppe.
TBC (Head), 2021
Acrylic and oil on fiberglass shell and high-density polyurethane foam
106 1/8 x 50 1/2 x 62 1/4 in. (269.6 x 128.3 x 158.1 cm)
Acquired with generous support from the Green Family Art Foundation
This oversized, androgynous bust maintains the colorful palette and velvety surfaces of Nicolas Party’s paintings but reflects his interest and experience in 3D animation. Measuring over eight feet in height, TBC (Head) commands a presence, with a direct gaze that confronts the viewer. Despite its size, the sculpture is relatively lightweight. The bust depicts a figure with features resembling that of painted ancient Greek sculpture, with a monumental scale that recalls the Colossus of Constantine. Party has cited ancient Greek and Roman sculpture as influential to his aesthetic, though his work also resonates with the more recent work of artists as diverse as Rene Magritte, Balthus, Christian Schad, or Richard Lindner.
Nicolas Party’s sculpture expands on the holdings of figurative sculpture, including reference to classical Greek statuary and ancient fragments, in the Nasher collection represented by such artists as Auguste Rodin, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Gaston Lachaise, Aristide Maillol, and Alex Israel, while the sense of whimsy and Surrealism resonates with the work of Jonathan Borofsky and Joan Miró.
About Nicolas Party
Nicolas Party (Swiss, born 1980) works across a wide range of media. Primarily known for his color-saturated paintings and murals, he also makes painted sculptures, pastels, installations, prints, and drawings, and he curates exhibitions as well. Nicolas Party lives and works in New York. His work has been exhibited internationally including recent solo exhibitions at FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2019); M WOODS, Beijing (2018-2019); and Magritte Museum, Brussels (2018). A survey of the artist's work opened at MASI Lugano in May 2021.
Azurite-malachite, lapis lazuli, agate, black onyx, breccicated jasper, moss agate, malachite, calcite, labradorite, rose quartz, smokey quartz, ching hai jade, red aventurine, carnelian, citrine, amethyst, quartz, acrylic, polystyrene, fiberglass, nails, steel pins, wood
66 x 90 x 86 inches (167.6 x 228.6 x 218.4 cm)
Acquired with the generous support of the Girlfriend Fund, the Jerry & Terri Kohl Family Foundation, Alvaro and Melanie Leal, John & Jennifer Neff, and Karma, New York
Building on her Bad Fruit series, Kathleen Ryan’s massive two-part sculpture, titled Jackie, is one of the artist’s most ambitious works to date. Comprising tens of thousands of semiprecious gemstones and glass beads meticulously pinned by hand to a polystyrene substrate, Jackie’s glittering and sumptuous materials belie the subject they represent: the decaying and mold-covered flesh of a jack-o’-lantern. Playing on themes of nostalgia and fleeting sensual pleasure and material wealth, Jackie is both kitsch and vanitas. The oversized scale of the sculpture dwarfs the viewer and recalls the children’s fairy tale of Cinderella and her stagecoach that transformed into a pumpkin at midnight. The top of the jack-o’-lantern—overturned on its side nearby—gives viewers a preview of the massive pumpkin’s interior. A veritable grotto of gemstones and glass beads, Ryan reserved the most precious and valuable materials for the internal rot, which is visually accessible through the top cutout and by peering through the jack-o’-lantern’s gaping grin or triangular eyes and nose.
Ryan’s enlargement of everyday things nods to the playful work of Pop artists Claes Oldenburg and Jeff Koons, while her darker take on a whimsical childhood object recalls Paul McCarthy’s similarly sinister remakes of fairytale characters like Snow White or Pinocchio. As much as Ryan’s sculpture fits within these art historical paradigms, her method of making recalls craft approaches. Borrowing and expanding on applique techniques traditionally associated with home projects, Ryan’s replica fruit retain the opulent aspects of their cultural predecessors, while their oversized scale facilitates a remarkable degree of detail and realism. As with Dutch still life paintings, moldy fruit signifies death and decline, which Ryan uses as metaphorical stand-ins for critiques on consumerism and wealth disparity.
In the Nasher collection, Kathleen Ryan’s Jackie expands on the aforementioned holdings of Pop art in the collection—Oldenburg, Koons, and more recent works by Katherine Andrews and Alex Israel, while her technique and choice of materials resonates with the work of Elliott Hundley.
About Kathleen Ryan
Kathleen Ryan (American, born 1984) is a New York based sculptor. After studying archaeology and art as an undergraduate at Pitzer College, Ryan pursued a Master of Fine Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied under artists Charles Ray and Catherine Opie. She has held institutional solo exhibitions at New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK (2019); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, USA (2019); Cc Foundation & Art Centre, Shanghai (2018); and the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2017). Her work is held in public collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Cc Foundation and Art Centre, Shanghai; Arsenal Contemporary, Montreal; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; and Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.
Deep Listening, 2018
Glazed ceramic, wood, and paint
50 x 26 x 20 in. (127 x 66.04 x 50.8 cm)
Gift of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles in honor of Bonnie Pittman
Deep Listening comes from a body of recent work in which Shechet combines different materials, contrasting rough-hewn pieces of wood with intricately glazed ceramic forms. Its composition simultaneously suggests a column, a standing figure, and an oven that might be fueled by one of its components in order to fire the other. Circular ceramic elements implying chimneys or vents are echoed by the roughly carved apertures in the wood that penetrate the sculpture. A dark, formidable object, Deep Listening nonetheless offers a subtly powerful demonstration of Shechet’s talent in glazing; a deep red appears to show through the black, nubby surface of the ceramic, evoking the glow of a fire.
Deep Listening adds an approach to ceramics not represented in the Nasher collection and joins works in clay by artists ranging from Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso to Simone Leigh, Beverly Semmes, Adam Silverman and Nader Tehrani, and Peter Voulkos. Likewise, Shechet’s sculpture also engages with wood in a manner that presents a fascinating continuity and contrast with others who’ve explored this material, including Raoul Hague and Martin Puryear.
About Arlene Shechet
Arlene Shechet (American, born 1951) received her BFA from New York University and MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has been the subject of numerous solo museum exhibitions, including the Phillips Collection, Washington DC; the Frick Collection, New York, NY; the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; and the ICA Boston. Her public art installation Full Steam Ahead was on view at the Madison Square Park Conservancy in New York in 2019. Her work is held in many public collections, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and many others. She lives and works in New York City and Woodstock, New York.
34 1/4 x 31 7/8 x 31 7/8 in. (87 x 81 x 81 cm)
Gift of the artist and Kasmin Gallery, New York, in remembrance of Paul Kasmin
Bosco Sodi’s untitled clay sphere is part of a larger group of various sized spheres that Sodi made last year at his studio in Oaxaca and exhibited under the title Perfect Bodies in an empty lot near his studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Formed only by hand and eye, the spheres are of various dimensions, but most are typically about 30 inches in diameter. The work given to the Nasher is one of the largest of the group, with a pleasing shape that subtly changes its silhouette as one moves around it. It also has some of the loveliest coloration and craquelure of any of the works. All of these details occur by happenstance, highlighting the artist’s practice of subjecting essential geometric forms to the vagaries of handicraft and the alchemy of the kiln.
Weighing hundreds of pounds, the sculpture is a pure expression of mass: in the shape it takes and the matter from which comes, it directly connects the mass of the object with that of the Earth. The work also suggests an enormous egg— perhaps containing a prehistoric creature or some alien species—and recalls similarly elemental forms by Constantin Brancusi. It was made as a gesture of hope during the pandemic and is related to Tabula Rasa, a recent performance in Washington Square Park in New York City in which Sodi gave away 439 small spheres of clay, one for each day of the pandemic, each with two seeds of corn inside. These were handed to passers-by—along with seeds of bean and squash, included with instructions, to form the “three sisters” of Native American agriculture—and planted to represent new life and beginnings.
The Bosco Sodi clay sphere is a significant addition to the Nasher Collection. It provides an illustrative complement to Muro, the stack of clay timbers by Sodi already in the collection. The sculpture also expands on the rich holdings of post-minimalist work in the collection, as well as works in clay by artists such as Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Simone Leigh, Beverly Semmes, Adam Silverman and Nader Tehrani, and Peter Voulkos.
About Bosco Sodi
Bosco Sodi (Mexican, born 1970) creates wall-mounted and free-standing works of dense materiality. Sodi’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at a variety of museums in Europe, Japan, and North America, including The Bronx Museum, New York (2010); Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico (2012); and most recently the Museo Nacional de Arte and the Museo Anahuacalli in Mexico City (2017). His work is in the collection of notable museums, such as the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; the New Orleans Museum of Art; the Des Moines Art Center; the Colección JUMEX, Mexico City, and the Nasher Sculpture Center. The artist currently lives and works in New York, Barcelona, Berlin, Mexico City, and Oaxaca.