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Nasher Goes Underground For Next XChange Project

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Categorized Under: Public Art, Visual Arts
Monday morning, a bulldozer began tearing down the area around the house. Photo: Stephen Becker

Monday morning, a bulldozer began tearing down the area around the house. Photo: Stephen Becker

The bulk of the materials needed for Lara Almarcegui’s Nasher XChange project will never be seen. That’s because the Spanish artist plans to bury them in the ground.

The project is a joint venture with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. And the materials in question will actualy be the remains of a house on Exeter Avenue in South Dallas that was already targeted for demolition. But rather than let it be torn down and forgotten, Almarcegui wants to create a memorial site and a place where visitors can reflect on a variety of ideas.

“This project is a sculptural work that is about the construction that used to stand, the history of the house and how it was erected,” Almarcegui said in a news release. “However, it’s not just about the house, but about the past of the terrain and the future of the terrain. It is a work about construction and urban development.”

After XChange is complete, Habitat will build a new house where the old one once stood. More details are in the news release:

DALLAS, Texas (August 26, 2013) –  The Nasher Sculpture Center is pleased to reveal the plans for a newly commissioned sculpture by artist Lara Almarcegui that will be located in the Oak Cliff Gardens neighborhood in East Oak Cliff, and will be created in collaboration with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. The work is one of ten commissions for the Nasher’s 10th anniversary, city-wide exhibition Nasher XChange, which will be on view October 19, 2013 through February 16, 2014.

The project coincides with a recently announced Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity Blight Study it commissioned with the University of North Texas. Researchers created a new measurement tool that could help communities around the nation understand the cost of blight and build community support to tackle the issue to engage, empower, and transform the lives of low-income families and long-neglected communities.

Lara Almarcegui is a Spanish artist currently living in Rotterdam. Her work examines processes of urban transformation brought on by political, social, and economic change. She collects historical, geographic, ecological, and sociological data about vacant or abandoned areas in urban spaces that will inevitably change. Her art, intended to generate discussion on the past and future of a place, takes many forms including publications, installations, slide projections, documentary photography, cartography and tours

Almarcegui’s project for Nasher XChange, entitled Buried House, involves working with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity to locate a house in Southeast Dallas already slated for demolition.  After the demolition takes place, she will bury the house’s remains on the property, creating a sort of memorial site that nonetheless retains the buildings actual substance and providing a “free space” for reflection on the neighborhood’s past, present and future.  The area has a history almost as old as Dallas itself.  Originally the site of the first stop for stagecoaches headed out of Dallas for Central Texas, the crossroads became the small town of Lisbon, which was in turn annexed by the city in 1929.

“This project is a sculptural work that is about the construction that used to stand, the history of the house and how it was erected,” said artist Lara Almarcegui.  “However, it’s not just about the house, but about the past of the terrain and the future of the terrain. It is a work about construction and urban development.”

Nasher XChange will extend the museum’s core mission beyond its walls and into Dallas’ diverse neighborhoods, alongside key community partners, to present advances in the rapidly expanding field of sculpture, raise the level of discourse on the subject within the city, and contribute to broader national and international conversations on public sculpture.  As the only institution in the world exclusively dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and researching modern and contemporary sculpture, the Nasher Sculpture Center is uniquely positioned to investigate this growing practice of sculpture in the public realm.

Almarcegui has participated in the Taipei Biennial, Gwangyu Biennial, LIAF Arts Festival, Svoelvaer, Sandretto Foundation, Sharjah Art Biennial, the Sao Paulo Biennial, Seville Biennial, Momentum, and the Nordic Festival of Contemporary Art, Moss. Solo exhibitions include the Gallery Ellen de Bruin Projects, Amsterdam; Sala Rekalde, Bilbao; Gallery Pepe Cobo, Madrid; Malaga Centre of Contemporary Art, Malaga; the FRAC Bourgogne, Dijon; and INDEX, Stockholm. Almarcegui represented Spain at the 2013 Venice Biennale. She has implemented numerous international projects, from the restoration of a market hall slated for demolition in San Sebastián to close studies of derelict lots in Rotterdam, Bilbao, São Paulo, Lisbon, and Amsterdam.

The Nasher has also commissioned Ruben Ochoa, Rick Lowe, Ugo Rondinone, Alfredo Jaar, Vicki Meek, Good/Bad Art Collective, Liz Larner, Charles Long, and Rachel Harrison to create works for Nasher XChange. Details about their works, including the locations of the installations, will be announced throughout the summer.