Vicki Meek's Nasher XChange Project Puts Black Dallas' Past in the Present

She's known as much for her rebel rousing as her art work, so we're excited to learn about Black & Blue: Cultural Oasis in the Hills, Vicki Meek's Nasher XChange contribution. Meek is the only local artist creating a solo work for the series, which runs from October 19, 2013 to February 16, 2014.

The South Dallas Cultural Center Manager will focus on the historical legacy of Bishop College, South Dallas' once-treasured educational cornerstone. Many only know of the institution in its darker years, when it was allowed to unceremoniously decay, then finally close its doors in 1988. Bishop's earlier reputation for exceptional higher education has since picked up by the hilltop's current occupants, Paul Quinn College. Meek will use her public art platform to channel one through the other.

She's made a series of commemorative historical markers, reminders that before its fall from power, Bishop was a vibrant salon for international idea exchange. She'll use both physical and digital artwork to tell a rarely heard story: how Bishop College brought in the world's brightest minds, like Maya Angelou, Alex Haley and Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks as part of its speaker series. That it spurred the creation of treasured city assets Dallas Black Dance Theatre and the African American Museum. And most of all, how it lifted up the city's post-segregation Black community and ushered in a new era of public service, dialogue and activism.

On her blog, Art & Racenotes, Meek says this of the project:

I have for over 35 years spent my creative energies reclaiming African American history in installations that both invoke memory and emotion. I have researched my community's past hurts and slights, its horrors and abominations, its beauty marks and its warts, all with the purpose of making my audience face history without apology. This latest project will help Dallas, particularly Black Dallas, face the truth about one aspect of Bishop College's history, and hopefully place Bishop at the center of Black cultural development, a place it has rightfully earned.

Meek has been making art in Dallas since 1980 and her work has been collected by the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the African American Museum Dallas.

See Also: Rick Lowe's Nasher Project Will Turn Vickery Meadow into an Open Air Market


Before Meek's announcement last Friday, we'd seen six other plans for public art. Also from-here collective Good/Bad sets the dial for performance art during a one-night-only television show, the final product of which will air on your upper dial, so set that Tivo. Alfredo Jaar plans to build a baby scream pavilion at the Nasher. Up in Vickery Meadow, Rick Lowe is at work to unite a disjointed neighborhood through cultural cross-pollination and pop-up public markets; at the site of UT Dallas' new ATEC building, where a shared art and technology curriculum launches in 2014, Liz Larner will install a mirror-polished steel sculpture representative of the merged practices; Swedish-raised artist Ugo Rondinone has chosen to build a simple pier into Fish Trap Lake and paint it brilliantly, luring visitors out for unadulterated reflection; and Ruben Ochoa will build from the Trinity River Audubon's own soil to create a series of construction site mounds reminiscent of birds in formation.

Nasher Xchange runs from October 19, 2013 to February 16, 2014.

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