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Take Home a Piece of Art from the Nasher


by Stephen Becker 19 Aug 2011

Have you ever been to a museum and been allowed to take home a piece of art? Visitors to the Nasher Sculpture Center on Sunday will have that opportunity.

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Creed-Balloons-NasherHave you ever been to a museum and been allowed to take home a piece of art? Visitors to the Nasher Sculpture Center on Sunday will have that opportunity:

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“Sightings,” an exhibition of work by conceptual artist Martin Creed, is possibly the most interactive show the Nasher has ever staged.

Jed Morse is a curator at the Nasher.

MORSE: “In this case, you not only are able to touch things, but you’re able to be completely submerged within a work of art – which is a pretty extraordinary experience.”

Creed transformed the center’s lower level into a wonderland for kids and adults alike. The experience begins with a walk down a flight of stairs. Step on a stair and it plays a note along the chromatic scale. A group of kids checked it out Wednesday morning.

MORSE: “I remember sitting in my office and suddenly hearing – instead of the chromatic scale – “Ode to Joy.” Some girl had figured out how to play the “Ode to Joy” on the steps, and it was really extraordinary.”

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Artist Martin Creed inside the balloon room. Photo: Jerome Weeks

The stairs lead to room filled with nearly 9,000 orange balloons. Once inside, your entire world becomes orange, squeaky and staticky. Since March, visitors have played, gotten lost and even written messages on some of the balloons. About a thousand balloons are replaced each week. Morse estimates the museum has gone through about 30,000.

MORSE: “Yeah, we bought in bulk.”

Thanks in part to “Sightings,” the Nasher expects its attendance numbers to be slightly up this summer.

The exhibition closes Sunday, and the Nasher had to figure out what to do with all those balloons. The solution – let people take them home.

And for those balloons that don’t find a good home on Sunday? They’ll be meeting the business end of a needle.

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  • nmlhats

    I loved the IDEA of this installation, but because I am claustrophobic, it was a pretty horrible reality once I set foot amongst the balloons. I accompanied a summer camp group and had to go into the room with the kids to “chaperone” them, and it was all I could do to paste myself against the glass next to the door and desperately wait, while the kids went berserk…