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For two years there have been rumors that the Nasher Sculpture Center plans to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a city-wide public art exhibition. So how will the Nasher tackle public art in car-driven Dallas?

Will the Nasher Sculpture Center Announce Citywide Public Art Program This Afternoon?

For a few years there have been rumors that the Nasher Sculpture Center has been planning to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a massive public art exhibition — a city takeover — that uses sites scattered around Dallas for unique installations. The idea for the project is intriguing for a number of reasons, not least of which is the opportunity to rethink public art in Dallas. How does one approach the issue of public art in a city that doesn’t boast a ton of public spaces or public gathering spots?

Today the media has been invited to a press conference at the Nasher featuring a special appearance by Mayor Mike Rawlings and promising an announcement regarding the museum’s tenth anniversary. I asked a Nasher spokesperson if the press conference was called to launch the public art initiative, and she neither confirmed nor denied the rumor. So I have a hunch that is what today’s event is about.

If so, I’m looking forward to finding out how the Nasher addresses a number of questions surrounding the project: Who will be the artists tapped by the Nasher for the project? What city sites will be utilized? Will the exhibition take a “Northpark approach” to art in the public sphere, namely, placing refined art works in public settings, or will it include new commissions or offer a broad survey of approaches to public art?

Stay tuned for answers. After all, I could be completely wrong about this. In the meantime here are some notable examples of one approach to public work in a car-driven city: billboards, starting at the top of the page with the late-Felix Gonzalez-Torres. “Untitled.” 1991 (via).

Jenny Holzer, ‘Private Property Created Crime’, 1985. Times Square, New York
Bethan Huws
Barbara Kruger, ‘Your Body is a Battleground,’ billboard project for Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, 1990
Work by Banksy on a Los Angeles billboard
Victor Burgin, Possession, 1976
Jeff Koons: ‘Made in Heaven’, 1989
Kay Rosen
Alfredo Jaar, A Logo For America, 1987
Cindy Sherman, Women of the City, 2008
Guerrilla Girls
Mike Mills, “The Cops Are Inside Us”
Irene Anton – Timecode
Joseph Kosuth, Class 4. Matter 1. Matter in general, 1969

3 comments on “Will the Nasher Sculpture Center Announce Citywide Public Art Program This Afternoon?

  1. If this is what they announce let’s hope the end product is more impressive that the lost bowler hat in the Cedars or the metallic Twitter logo et al. near the Deep Ellum DART station.

  2. And Peter, I love the examples you have included but expecting the city to do something along the lines of Koons’ Made in Heaven billboard or the Guerrilla Girls’ protest is a bit of a reach. Dallas isn’t known for challenging the preconceptions of art or the status quo. Let’s just hope we don’t get banal abstracts or kitschy figures.