Best Concrete Jungle (2004)
Nasher Sculpture Center
There is an oasis from the musty-smelling air grates and urine-soaked corners of downtown. A place where the grass is always greener, the sunlight is diffused, the honking traffic is muffled and water runs clean and cigarette butt-free. Even ink pens are prohibited; sketch artists beware. Thanks to Raymond D. Nasher, this rectangle of downtown Dallas is neither downtownish nor Dallas-like with its 1.5-acre garden, an "outdoor museum" of contemporary sculpture complemented by foliage, walls, stairs, stones and fountains. The indoor gallery space is an extension of the garden with clear glass walls and cast aluminum sunscreens, allowing outdoor views and natural light to pour in. Even those who don't know Henry Moore from Sherwin-Williams or who think Alexander Calder is one of the guys from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy can take a relaxing stroll through the concrete and metal, meditating on the skyline and forgetting about the 9-to-5 world outside.