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The Nasher XChange Paints a Better Picture for Dallas

by Gail Sachson 27 Nov 2013 10:53 AM

Guest blogger Gail Sachson give thanks for what works in the Nasher Xchange have taught her.


Gail Sachson owns Ask Me About Art, offering lectures, tours and program planning. She is leading the Nasher XChange community and private bus tours through February.. The next tour is December 21.

I am a better person because of the Nasher XChange. I was lured first by color and fun and shopping. By a rainbow painted pier, a bubble-gum pink arrow, a game of giving and a food and art festival. I critiqued the art, researched the artists and tasted the food, but I was hungry for more. I found that this hunt of ten public art projects really did offer a treasure.

The XChange seduced me with the fun of the hunt. With my map and Nasher XChange APP, I searched for the installations of the ten commissioned artists who were invited by the Nasher to help celeb rate the Center’s tenth Anniversary. The artists chose sites compatible with their practice and with the community’s history.

I realized, to paraphrase artist Alfredo Jaar‘s title of his XChange work (video above) installed in the Nasher garden, “Music (everything I know I learned the day my son was born), that ..many good things I know I learned from the Nasher XChange. After spending much inspiring time at the Jaar exhibit, listening to the cries of newborns, I now know that perhaps we spend too much attention on the last breath, and we should pay more attention to the first breath. And I am reinforced with the belief that the children of the world, whose cries do not reveal color or gender, are our future, and much else is of lesser significance.

nasher bridge

“dear sunset” by Ugo Rondinone

I am a better person now knowing the tumultuous history of West Dallas, the plight of the housing dilemma of the disadvantaged and the resources provided by the Dallas Housing Authority, owners of Fish Trap Lake, where Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone chose to install his  Nasher XChange work, “dear sunset”, a colorful rainbow painted pier to peace, a remembrance  of wrongs righted and an indication of that pot of gold at the end of  a rainbow.

And I will be revisiting  artist Charles Long’s”Fountainhead“, which seems to refute  Fountainhead author Ayn Rand’s premise that man can be independent and stand alone.  Long’s virtual 21st century waterless fountain, installed in NorthPark Shopping Center, midst the conspicuous consumption of diamonds and designer gowns, compels us to pause and pay the piper for our good fortune …with a credit card. The computerized fountain emits a virtual splashing sound when a donation is made. No funding. No fooling. No splash. I will return to assuage my guilt and give.

And I will give my time and clothing and canned goods to Vickery Meadow, where a multitude of service organizations and religious institutions help with food, clothing , shelter and schooling for the 30,000 immigrants who speak 27 different  languages in the 3 square mile area.  Nasher XChange  artist, Rick Lowe’s project, “Trans.lations” , a continuing community conversation, has created a dialogue within that diversity and organized monthly Vickery Meadow street festivals to share and sell, encouraging outsiders to help.. by shopping.

The NasherXChange has seduced me with Art to look to the past and help paint a better picture for the future.