Nasher Sculpture Center Announces ‘The (Re)Making of Robert Irwin’s Portal Park Slice at Carpenter Park,’ a Panel Discussion in Partnership with Parks for Downtown Dallas

Conversation with Carpenter Park’s landscape architect, Mary Margaret Jones, and Robert Irwin scholar Lawrence Weschler will be moderated by Mark Lamster, Dallas Morning News architecture critic

DALLAS, Texas (April 11, 2022)—The Nasher Sculpture Center announces a public discussion in celebration of the opening of Carpenter Park, downtown Dallas’s newest public green space, and the installation of the reimagined 1981 sculpture by renowned contemporary artist Robert Irwin sited at the location. Presented in partnership with Parks for Downtown Dallas, ‘The (Re)Making of Robert Irwin’s Portal Park Slice at Carpenter Park’ discussion will take place on Saturday, April 30 at 11:30 am at the Nasher Sculpture Center between Mary Margaret Jones, of the landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Jones, which redesigned the park, and acclaimed art historian and Robert Irwin scholar, Lawrence Weschler. The conversation will be moderated by Mark Lamster, Dallas Morning News architecture critic.

Robert W. Irwin (born 1928) is one of the most significant American artists and theoreticians working today and is renowned for his innovative site-conditioned artworks that explore the effects of light through interventions in space and architecture. His original 1981 sculpture in Carpenter Plaza, then called Portal Park Piece (Slice), was removed from its longtime north-south position in the Plaza in 2016 and, steered by the nonprofit group Parks for Downtown Dallas, Irwin, cut the original piece into more segments, as well as added new segments of filigreed steel, bringing new energy to the sculpture. He then worked with the Mary Margaret Jones at Hargreaves Jones to reconfigure the assembly of forms to sit on an east-west axis, the only time in his career that he has agreed to alter a work. Irwin renamed the work Portal Park Slice. 

At nearly 6 acres, Carpenter Park is soon to be the largest in downtown Dallas, hosting the first ever downtown public basketball court, as well as a water play area, beautifully landscaped native plant life, and access to food trucks. It opens to the public on May 3.


About the Speakers

Mary Margaret Jones is President and CEO of Hargreaves Jones, the international landscape architecture and planning ?rm behind the visionary 2004 Downtown Parks Master Plan and 2013 update that laid the groundwork for transformational Downtown Dallas green spaces. She leads the ?rm’s offices in New York City, San Francisco, and Cambridge, MA. Mary Margaret has over 30 years of experience, demonstrating the power of investing in the public realm to transform cities, institutions, communities, and individuals. Mary Margaret’s work with Hargreaves Jones has been recognized nationally and internationally, including the prestigious Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and the Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize.

Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News, a professor in the architecture school at the University of Texas at Arlington, and a Harvard Loeb Fellow. His biography of the late architect Philip Johnson, The Man in the Glass House (Little Brown, 2018), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography.

Lawrence Weschler is the author of Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees (1981), his mid-career biography of Robert Irwin (originally excerpted in the New Yorker, where he became a staff writer, and then expanded in 2007 to include 30 years of conversations with the artist). Following fifteen years as director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU (now emeritus), Weschler's twentieth and latest book was And How Are You, Doctor Sacks?, a biographical memoir of his 35-year friendship with the late neurologist Oliver Sacks. Up next, due out later this spring, a true-life comic romp, The Trove of Zohar.


About Carpenter Park

Carpenter Park is a 5.75-acre park located at 2201 Pacific Avenue on the eastern edge of Downtown Dallas. The project is an expansion and renovation of Carpenter Plaza, a City of Dallas public park originally built in 1981. The new Carpenter Park embraces neighboring Deep Ellum and helps establish the east-west connection between Old East Dallas and Downtown. This public land has been reimagined into a neighborhood park that welcomes people into Downtown Dallas. Award-winning landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Jones, who authored the 2004 Downtown Parks Master Plan and its 2013 Update, led the design team for the new park which features a broad range of new amenities including a dog play area, basketball court, open and shaded lawns, interactive fountain, environmental play elements for kids, gardens, walking paths, and public art. The new park showcases two significant pieces of public sculpture. Robert Irwin’s Portal Park Piece (Slice) has been reconceptualized and retitled by the artist for the new site conditions in the renovated park. The new title of the sculpture is Portal Park Slice. Robert Berks’ statue of John W. Carpenter has also been reinstalled. Carpenter Park is the third of four Downtown parks to be constructed as a result of a public-private partnership between the Dallas Park and Recreation Department and nonprofit organization Parks for Downtown Dallas.

Nasher Sculpture Center
2001 Flora Street
Dallas, Texas 75201
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