Deep in the heart of Texas, where visitors are more likely to visit a stock show or look for great barbeque, an outstanding collection of top sculptures reside in a breathtaking 55,000 square foot building. Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano designed the practical but striking building, an oasis in a forest of garish skyscrapers which Dallas is known for. Combined with over an acre of outdoor space, this combination houses the dreams of sculpture collector and real estate developer Raymond Nasher. In an arts community shadowed by the more widely-known western heritage of Texas, the Nasher Sculpture Center showcases impressive works by such artists as Donald Judd, Willem de Kooning, and Paul Gauguin, in its mission to showcase works of modern and contemporary sculpture. Its reputation as an international leader in sculpture demonstrates the importance of sculpture to the international art community.
The Dallas developer and his wife, Patsy, dabbled in art collecting for many years, adding works to their developments when others wouldn’t have considered it. They began focusing on sculpture in the late 1960’s and 1970’s because it was not popular and affordable. They expanded their collection of contemporary and minimalist works to include masterpieces by Picasso and Rodin. After his wife’s untimely death, Nasher continued collecting at a feverish pace, and his reputation among interested museums grew with his assortment of sculptures. Although many museums vied for his works, Nasher, in pure Texas fashion, chose to fund the design of his own facility, spending $70 million on the construction of a private facility next to the Dallas Museum of Art.
Since 2015, proof of the “Self-made” attitude found in Texas, the Nasher Prize is touted by foundation supporters as “the most significant award in the world dedicated exclusively to contemporary sculpture.” Unlike many prizes designed to promote artists in the early and middle of their careers, this award draws attention to artists in all stages of popularity, especially those who have amassed a large compilation of works. Finally, this unique award is not limited to basic sculptures, but encompasses a wide variety of mediums, adding to its reputation as a “not painting” prize, and an influencer of what really represents contemporary sculpture.
In today’s art world, facilities not only display works of art, but also educate visitors of all ages. Nasher Sculpture Center is no different and strives to bring art—and specifically sculpture—to its visitors. The center provides a wealth of programming for children and adults alike. From speakers to workshops, free days to screenings, concerts to festivals, there is more than exhibitions to be found at the Nasher Sculpture Center.
The Nasher Center is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11-5 and admission is only $10, with a variety of discounts offered. An on-site café makes it easy for visitors to spend a day exploring the exhibits, both inside and out, and both guided and self-guided tours are available. As a bonus, The Nasher App offers visitors even more opportunities to explore the facility, with tours, maps, and insights into the works on display. As part of a host of nearby art-focused sights, the Nasher Sculpture Center is a jewel in Dallas’ array of creative exhibitions.