Arts & Culture News

Return to the Nasher, But View It As An Outsider

We are always racing to see the next big thing, as humans I think that it's ingrained in us to do so. Last weekend I went to the Elliott Hundley opening at the Nasher and I was reminded how fortunate we are, not only for the new, but also for the old.

Don't mistake my tone, the Hundley exhibition is stunning. Positively breathtaking, in fact. The artist's ability to delve into Grecian mythology at its most macabre is executed in glorious grandeur while also punctuated with alarmingly excessive detail. Dionysus would be pleased. Thousands of tiny acts are retold in his massive, three dimensional paintings and then highlighted with the aid of magnifying glasses so that you cannot simply glance, you must investigate.

His freestanding and suspended works (one of which hangs like a giant chandelier meets a hatchery of dreams, and also revolves) pull you in further by utilizing darker pieces of nature to relay the tale's prose. Wasp nests, hacked down stems from century plants and animal hooves form these massive, almost lurking, structures. Dissecting them visually becomes as much a sport as appreciating them in their entirety.

I've lived in Dallas for only one month so I have the privilege of seeing many of the city's museums and galleries for the first time; while others might be slightly more numb to a museum's permanent collection, to me it's still new and humbling.

Most people view Picasso's work as a painter to be his main voice, but his sculptures are of equal note. Walk through the Nasher outdoor space and his concrete and gravel work "Head of a Woman From 1958" pops up humorously to greet you. To admire this piece in a safe landscape setting while the city bends and folds around you is such a gift. Allowing yourself to get close and inspect it at 360 degrees will only enrich your life.

Stroll further and you'll see a Serra -- not a giant one, that would be entirely out of place in the frame of this intimate outdoor gallery -- instead it's a seductively curvy abbreviated steel segment that beckons you to explore its interior. The friend I was with said it best: "It looks like it was birthed from Middle Earth and pushed itself through the ground." So true.

The famous Turrell is currently out of commission, which even though I knew, still made me sad. So many people have told me about their experiences laying inside, losing themselves in a window of sky. I want that, too. But it gives me an excuse to return, not that I needed one.

The Nasher collection is a respite from the hustle. A sweetly-crafted gift adorned with fantastic works by sculptural heavy-weights. So go for Hundley, but allow yourself time to rediscover the museum's permanent collection, for while it might remain in a fixed location, it is in no way stagnant. It's invigorating.

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Jamie Laughlin
Contact: Jamie Laughlin