Nasher Sculpture Center
Open since 2003, the Nasher Sculpture Center is a museum in Dallas, Texas, that houses one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary sculpture in the world, the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, featuring more than 300 masterpieces by Calder, de Kooning, di Suvero, Giacometti, Gormley, Hepworth, Kelly, Matisse, Miró, Moore, Picasso, Rodin, Serra, Shapiro, and Turrell, among others. Located on a 2.4-acre (9,700 m2) site adjacent to the Dallas Museum of Art, the museum is an urban oasis in the heart of the Dallas Arts District. The mission of the Nasher is to be an international focal point and catalyst for the study, installation, conservation, and appreciation of modern and contemporary sculpture.
The museum was a longtime dream of the late Raymond and Patsy Nasher (Ray was the original owner of NorthPark Center), who began collecting pre-Columbian sculpture on holidays to Mexico in the 1950s. In the mid-1960s, the Nashers made their first significant purchases of modern sculpture: Jean Arp’s Torso with Buds (1961); two major bronzes by Henry Moore, Three Piece No. 3: Vertebrae (1968) and Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 9 (1968, no longer in the Collection); and Barbara Hepworth’s large and powerful Squares with Two Circles (Monolith) (1963, cast 1964). Such purchases set a high standard for acquisitions to follow and excited them about the prospect of surrounding themselves with great art in their home. The Nashers’ guiding principle for acquisitions from the beginning was simple: the works had to move them personally. They together subsequently formed a comprehensive collection of masterpieces by Harry Bertoia, Constantin Brâncuși, Alexander Calder, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Paul Gauguin, Willem de Kooning, Mark di Suvero, Alberto Giacometti, Barbara Hepworth, Ellsworth Kelly, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Claes Oldenburg, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Richard Serra, and David Smith, among others. During the 1980s, the Nashers’ collection grew at an accelerated pace. Outstanding works by virtually all the great masters of modern sculpture were added. Simultaneously, the Nashers became more deeply involved with work by living artists, exhibiting an eclectic and adventuresome taste. Some of the first major acquisitions in this area include Claes Oldenburg’s Pile of Typewriter Erasers (1970-74), Richard Serra’s Inverted House of Cards (1969-70), Donald Judd’s Untitled (1976), and Roy Lichtenstein’s Double Glass (1979). Works by younger artists such as Anish Kapoor, Richard Deacon, Jeff Koons, Scott Burton, and Martin Puryear soon followed.
Ray was asked by many international museums to allow them to house his collection. In 1987-89 the Dallas Museum of Art built a sculpture garden largely in hopes of winning the works. The National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco also courted the collection by mounting exhibitions in 1987 and 1996, respectively. In 1997, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York devoted the entire museum to an exhibition of the Nasher collection, pieces of which had also traveled to exhibitions around the world. The critical and popular success of these exhibitions convinced the Nashers that their collection should be kept together and made available to the public. In 1997, Raymond Nasher acquired a plot of land in downtown Dallas across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art and hired architect Renzo Piano to design the Nasher Sculpture Center. The Nasher Foundation funded the entire $70 million cost of designing and constructing the museum, which includes indoor and outdoor galleries. The Sculpture Center opened in 2003 and features a regularly changing exhibition of works from the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection. By placing the facility on what was formerly part of the old Caruth family farm of circa 1850, Ray Nasher began the realization of the Arts District in Dallas, which has since been enhanced by the construction of the Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theater.
Architecture and Garden
Renzo Piano, winner of the Pritzker Prize in 1998, is the architect of the Center’s 55,000-square-foot (5,100 m2) building; he had been selected after Nasher met him at the opening of the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, Switzerland, in 1997. Piano has designed several critically acclaimed art museums; foremost among them are the Beyeler Museum in Basel, the Menil Collection in Houston, and Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris (in collaboration with Richard Rogers). He has been praised as an architect who has the genius to meld art, architecture, and advanced engineering to create some of the most remarkable museums in the world.
Piano worked in collaboration with landscape architect Peter Walker on the design of the 2-acre (8,100 m2) Garden. Walker has exerted a significant impact on the field of landscape architecture over a four-decade career. The scope of Mr. Walker’s landscape projects is expansive and varied. It ranges from small gardens to new cities, corporate headquarters and academic campuses to urban plazas.
The garden design responds to Renzo Piano’s building, a parallel series of “archaeological” walls that allow views from Flora Street (the main street of the Arts District) through the delicately glazed building and out to the garden. Display spaces are created by live-oak and cedar-elm allées, rows of holly hedges, and a series of stone plinths that serve as seating and pedestals for sculpture. The plinths also hold flexible systems of lighting, sound, security, and irrigation. As a counterpoint to the linear display space, a large cedar-elm grove creates more intimate outdoor rooms for sculptures of different scales. 
The building was constructed by The Beck Group, which also served as associate architect.
The facility opened in 2003 in a 55,000-square-foot building on a 2.4-acre site adjacent to the Dallas Museum of Art. The building is made of parallel stonewalls which create the gallery pavilions. Each pavilion is enclosed by low-iron glass façades and roofs that permit 500-foot long unobstructed view corridors from the street, through the building, and across the length of the garden. The museum has an arched glass roof with a perforated aluminum screen in an egg-crate pattern that directs the sun into the galleries, which were laid out in anticipation of the sun’s daily arc from southeast to southwest (but recently has been an issue as the reflective glare of nearby Museum Tower has penetrated through the roof, putting portions of the collection at risk of damage).
The museum has two levels: the ground level houses three galleries, institute offices, a boardroom and a gift shop. The galleries themselves feature polished stone walls and timber floors. A basement, much larger than the superstructure, houses a further gallery for delicate objects, additional offices, an auditorium, conservation workshops, a kitchen, mechanical services and so on. These, too, give on to the garden, which occupies by far the greater part of the centre's site. The garden terraces downward to the auditorium, creating an open air theatre.
Conceived for the exhibition, study, and conservation of modern and contemporary sculpture, the Nasher Sculpture Center features rotating exhibitions drawn from the Nasher Collection as well as special exhibitions in its indoor and outdoor galleries. Among the major exhibitions organized by the Nasher are Matisse: Painter as Sculptor, the first Matisse sculpture retrospective in the U.S. in 20 years; Tony Cragg: Seeing Things, the first major U.S. museum exhibition of the artist in 20 years; and Variable States: Intention, Appearance, and Interpretation in Modern Sculpture, an exhibition and symposium on sculpture conservation organized in conjunction with the Getty. The Nasher Sculpture Center has also presented Jaume Plensa: Genus and Species; Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy; and Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective.
The Nasher Sculpture Center presents a diverse array of educational and cultural programs, including Sightings, a series of small-scale exhibitions and installations that explore new work by established and emerging sculptors; the highly-acclaimed Soundings series that introduces new music to Dallas audiences; and 360: Artists, Critics, Curators, a lecture series featuring art-world visionaries in conversations focused on sculptural themes.
Monthly events include Target First Saturdays for children and families, Til Midnight featuring Al Fresco dining, twilight strolls, bands and movies, and the NasherSalon series which welcomes distinguished speakers for an evening of discourse on art, architecture, and other cultural topics of interest.
In addition to indoor and outdoor gallery spaces, the Center contains an auditorium, education and research facilities, a cafe, and a store.
- Melvin Edwards: Five Decades
January 31, 2015-May 10, 2015. In January 2015, the Nasher Sculpture Center will present Melvin Edwards: Five Decades, a retrospective of the renowned American sculptor Melvin Edwards.
- Sightings: Anna-Bella Papp
October 24, 2014-January 18, 2015. Continuing its Sightings series of installations and architectural interventions by contemporary artists, the Nasher Sculpture Center will present the work of Romanian-born artist Anna-Bella Papp. Sightings: Anna-Bella Papp will be on view at the Nasher Sculpture Center's Corner Gallery from October 24, 2014 through January 18, 2015.
- Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio
September 13, 2014-January 4, 2015. British designer Thomas Heatherwick has been hailed as a genius, lauded by The New Yorker architecture critic Paul Goldberger for the uniquely inventive nature of his work, and praised by esteemed designer Sir Terence Conran as the “Leonardo da Vinci of our times.”
- Mark Grotjahn Sculpture
May 31, 2014-August 17, 2014. Los Angeles-based artist Mark Grotjahn came to prominence for large, richly worked paintings that evoke aspects of contemporary discourse. Alongside his paintings, Grotjahn has been working privately on sculpture for over a decade. The Nasher’s exhibition, the first presentation of Grotjahn’s sculpture in a museum, highlighted many new, never-before-seen, three-dimensional works.
- Sightings: Bettina Pousttchi
April 12, 2014-August 17, 2014. For her exhibition at the Nasher, German-Iranian artist Bettina Pousttchi expands on the relationship between photography, sculpture, and architecture to create a unique environment that draws on the history of the Nasher Sculpture Center site.
- David Bates
February 9, 2014-May 11, 2014. A retrospective of Bates’s work, the exhibition was installed in both locations with an emphasis on sculpture and works on paper at the Nasher and painting in Fort Worth. The first collaboration between the two museums, the exhibition was organized by Jeremy Strick, director of the Nasher, and Dr. Marla Price, director of the Modern.
- Return to Earth
September 21, 2013-January 19, 2014. In the fall of 2013 the Nasher Sculpture Center presented Return to Earth: Ceramic Sculpture of Fontana, Melotti, Miró, Noguchi, and Picasso, 1943-1963, the first exhibition to explore the increase in interest ceramics received from artists of the avant-garde during this period
- Katharina Grosse: WUNDERBLOCK
June 1, 2013-September 1, 2013. Working with a spray gun, artist Katharina Grosse animated walls, ceilings, and floors with a mélange of vivid colors ranging from the vibrant to the acrid.
- Ken Price: A Retrospective
February 9, 2013-May 12, 2013. A rich selection of artist Ken Price's work from 1959 to 2011 highlighted each of the major styles of his prolific career including slumps, rocks, geometrics, cups, eggs, and mounds. While Price tended to progress in loose series, Ken Price Sculpture reviews his career in a broader and yet more integrated way, establishing connections and linkages across the years, rather than within individual series.
- Rediscoveries: Modes of Making in Modern Sculpture
September 29, 2012-January 13, 2013. This installation of masterworks from the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection traced the roots of several “new” methods of conceiving and making sculpture over the past 125 years.
- Sculpture in So Many Words: Text Pieces 1960-1980
September 29, 2012-January 13, 2013. Idea as work of art: that is the radical proposition examined in Sculpture in So Many Words: Text Pieces 1960–1980. Composed of text sculptures from the 1960s and 1970s, this exhibition shed fresh light on the intellectual foundations underpinning much of contemporary art.
- Ernesto Neto: Cuddle on the Tightrope
May 12, 2012-September 9, 2012. The work made for the exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Kink, continued Neto’s explorations of elevated environments and crochet, but for the first time the artist has added the complex new element of a freestanding, interwoven framework of metal structural supports.
- Sightings: Eric Swenson
April 14, 2012-September 9, 2012. Rendered with a naturalist’s sensitivity and incredible precision, Swenson's works often present fantastic vignettes of animals ensnared in strange, sometimes devastating circumstances, or quietly poetic scenes that evoke the beauty and tragedy of nature, as well as our own human condition.
- Sightings: Diana Al-Hadid
October 22, 2011-January 15,2012. The Nasher provided an ideal foil for Syrian-born American artist Diana Al-Hadid’s sculptural musings on architectural ruins in this installation.
- Elliot Hundley: The Bacchae
January 28, 2012-April 22, 2012. This exhibition by multimedia artist Elliot Hundley, inspired by the ancient Greek tragedy The Bacchae by Euripides, features a recent painting, epic-sized bulletin-board collages, and mixed-media sculptures that create an immersive theatrical environment.
- Tony Cragg: Seeing Things
September 10, 2011-January 8, 2012. Featuring approximately 30 large- and moderately-scaled sculptures, the exhibition surveyed the scope of Cragg’s production over the last twenty years, including a selection of drawings, integral to the artist's process and rarely seen in this country.
- Sightings: Alyson Shotz
October 1, 2010-January 2, 2011. For Sightings, Alyson Shotz created Wave Equation, a group of complex, open, volumetric forms made of stainless steel wire strung with silvered glass beads.
- Sightings: Martin Creed
March 26, 2011-August 21, 2011. In the second exhibition of Sightings, the Nasher Sculpture Center's series of installations and interventions, Turner Prize-winning artist, Martin Creed debuted the site-specific, experiential installation Work No. 1190: Half the air in a given space in the Nasher's Lower Level Gallery.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Nasher Sculpture Center presented Nasher XChange, a dynamic public art exhibition consisting of 10 newly--commissioned public sculptures by contemporary artists at 10 sites throughout the city of Dallas. The exact dates of Nasher Xchange ranged from October 19, 2013 to February 16, 2014. Nasher Sculpture Center Director Jeremy Strick stated that Nasher Xchange is a focus on public art, which engages the people and culture of Dallas. Covering a diverse range of sites and approaches to sculpture, 'Nasher XChange' represents the first citywide, museum-organized public art exhibition in the United States.  The Nasher Xchange exhibition was made possible in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works, and a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.
- Nasher XChange: Moore to the Point
October 19, 2013-February 16, 2014. For Nasher XChange, artist Rachel Harrison fabricated a giant pink arrow that was installed in City Hall Plaza in downtown Dallas. The arrow pointed to an existing sculpture at the site, Henry Moore’s sculpture, The Dallas Piece.
- Nasher XChange: CURTAINS
October 19, 2013-February 16, 2014. For the Nasher XChange exhibition, Denton, Texas-based group of artists, the Good/Bad Art Collective created a project entitled CURTAINS that was part one-night event, part exhibition and part television broadcast.
- Nasher XChange: Buried House
October 19, 2013-February 16, 2014. A 2013 project by artist Lara Almarceui, the buried remains of a house offered an opportunity for reflection on the transition and rebirth of one of Dallas’s oldest neighborhoods: Oak Cliff Gardens.
- Nasher XChange: X
October 19, 2013-February 16, 2014. For Nasher XChange, Los Angeles-based artist Liz Larner created two sculptures for the new Edith O'Donnell Arts and Technology Building that symbolize the exchange of ideas between these disciplines.
- Nasher XChange: Fountainhead
October 19, 2013-February 16, 2014. For his Nasher XChange commission, Charles Long created an interactive, waterless fountain entitled Fountainhead that extends his ongoing investigation into the viewer/ artwork relationship through the use of new technologies.
- Nasher XChange: Trans.lation
October 19, 2013-February 16, 2014. Trans.lation culminated in a series of Pop-up Markets open to the public on October 19, November 23, December 21, January 18, and February 22, 2013 which enabled the Vickery Meadow community to share their artistic talents and cultural traditions with one another and the greater Dallas community.
- Nasher XChange: Black & Blue: Cultural Oasis in the Hills
October 19, 2013-February 16, 2014. With Black & Blue: Cultural Oasis in the Hills, artist Vicki Meek celebrated Bishop College’s role in the intellectual and cultural life of Dallas through a series of historical markers commemorating important people and moments from the college.
- Nasher XChange: dear sunset
October 19, 2013-February 16, 2014. For Nasher XChange, mixed-media artist Ugo Rondinone designed a wooden pier, finished in vibrant colors and installed at Fish Trap Lake in West Dallas.
- Nasher XChange: Flock in Space
October 19, 2013-February 16, 2014. Created by Ruben Ochoa, an installation of 100 concrete and steel “birds” take flight, recalling the industrial origins and environmental resurrection of the Trinity River Audubon Center.
- Nasher XChange: Music (Everything I know I learned the day my son was born)
October 19, 2013-February 16, 2014. An installation by artist Alfredo Jaar that celebrated newborns and their limitless futures as Dallas citizens, brought their voices together in a touching, symphonic experience. Located at Nasher Sculpture Center and three Dallas hospitals.
- Nasher XChange: Through the Eyes of Allison V. Smith
October 19, 2013-February 16, 2014. The Nasher Sculpture Center commissioned photographer Allison V. Smith to document the mounting of Nasher XChange, from the various exhibition sites around the city before the arrival of the works, to their installations and public reception. A selection of the photographs were featured in an exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center to present the scope of this citywide exhibition in one place.
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- Official Nasher Sculpture Center website
- ArchitectureWeek: article about the Nasher Sculpture Center design
- Randy Kenndy (March 20, 2007), Raymond D. Nasher, 85, Dallas Art Collector Who Built a Museum, Dies New York Times'.
- Robin Pogrebin (May 1, 2012), Dallas Museum Simmers in a Neighbor’s Glare New York Times'.
- Jonathan Glancey (July 5, 2004), Oasis, Texas The Guardian.
- Gibbins, Kristen. "NASHER SCULPTURE CENTER ANNOUNCES HISTORIC PUBLIC ART PROJECT NASHER XCHANGE IN COMMEMORATION OF 10TH ANNIVERSARY". Nasher Sculpture Center. Nasher Sculpture Center Press. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- Nasher Sculpture Center. "NASHER XCHANGE 10 YEARS. 10 ARTISTS. 10 SITES. October 19, 2013 – February 16, 2014 CITYWIDE". Nasher Sculpture Center. Retrieved 24 January 2014.