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The Nasher Installs Another Room With An Unexpected View

by Gail Sachson 1 Nov 2013 4:15 PM

Guest blogger Gail Sachson on Alfredo Jaar’s piece, part of Nasher Xchange.



Inside Alfredo Jaar’s piece, Music: Everything I know I learned the day my son was born


The view from inside Jaar’s work.














Gail Sachson owns Ask Me about Art, offering lectures, tours and program planning. Sachson leads the Community bus tours to the Nasher XChange Public Art installations throughout the city, celebrating the Nasher’s tenth Anniversary.  (Call the Nasher for info, 214.242.5178.)The Alfredo Jaar work  in the Nasher Garden is one of the 10 commissioned works.


Alfredo Jaar’s Music: Everything I know I learned  the day my son was born, one of the ten Nasher XChange projects, celebrates life and “creation.” It’s installed merely feet away from what is termed a “destruction. Tending Blue is the James Turrell skyscape, which the artist has proclaimed “destroyed” when one saw not only the sky but Museum Tower through its rooftop aperture.

The juxtaposition of Jaar’s work, so close to the shuttered Terrell, could not be a coincidence. Or could it? Jaar — observant, sensitive, philosophical and community-minded in his practice — seems to be commenting on the commotion, the controversy surrounding the Terrell and its unexpected view.

I suggest that Jaar has knowingly erected his work in a similar shape to Tending Blue. The green glow of the plexiglass panels echo the ambient computerized lighting of the Turrell, as does the peripheral seating. In both works we are and were seduced to sit, wait and contemplate. Terrell had us waiting for the clouds to drift, the sky to change colors and our senses to be stimulated. Jaar has us waiting for the cries of newborn babies.

Jaar partnered with three Dallas hospitals to record them. The newborn cries were recorded — and are now replayed daily — at the time of their births.  The number increases through the life of the project (February 1), as does the hope for diverse new visionaries, community activists and artists. But as we wait for the future, our eyes wander to the clear plexiglass panels  at the roof of the Jaar work. We see today what we saw in the past in the Terrell and why it was closed. We see Museum Tower.

Is there a lesson to be learned, as the  work’s title would imply? Or would the artist be as surprised as you or I by the room with an unexpected view . . . again?