Capsule Reviews

Constructions & Architecture This show makes what might otherwise seem like the incongruent forces of art and architecture seamless and fluid. This gathering of things, sounds and interactive sculpture reinforces the turn toward media contamination and full-body sensuality in the art world over the last 30 years. John Frost's walk-through installation, which begins with a drain-cum-peephole and culminates in a room-size hourglass, unites Surrealism and Minimalism. The motion-activated rotary "Mechanical Pencil" and sound-activated "Monotony" and "Variety" by Edward Setina will make you laugh out loud mid-gallery. The best in the show is the small pristine drywall room back in the corner, Tom Hollenback's "White Chamber." The space of Hollenback's disorientingly white walls gives the architectural ramshackle known as the "lean-to" a whole new meaning. Through December 30 at the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art, 2801 Swiss Ave., 214-821-2522. Reviewed this week. (Charissa N. Terranova)

Bodies Past and Present: The Figurative Tradition in the Nasher Collection In this succinct array of sculptural pieces now showing in the two main galleries on the street level of the Nasher Sculpture Center, one is not so much challenged by the figure of the human body but carefully taught by it. Offering a lesson on modern art in the 20th century, this tidy exhibition packs an intellectual punch. In two rooms, from Matisse's "Decorative Figure" (1908) to Oldenburg's "Typewriter Eraser" (1976), we are told a story of intellectual displacement, the exciting unfolding of humanism's transposition in the last 100 years. Through the not so lugubrious game of abstraction and contortion, we are shown how modernism immediately brought with it a dismantling of man as front and center in the universe. This is brought home with the forthright prominence in the front gallery of the vaguely bulbous and modernist amazon figure by Gaston Lachaise, "Elevation (Standing Woman)." While bisected by two rooms, one filled with pre-World War II forms and the other post-World War II forms, the show offers a continuous yet largely nonlinear tale of the fall of traditional humanism in the academy. Ongoing at the Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St., 214-242-5100. (C.T.)