I was in Dallas last week to speak about Spark at the Dallas Museum of Art. With any new city, I love to explore on foot, but walking is definitely not fashionable in most of downtown Dallas, in fact it’s rather unpleasant.
Thank goodness the newly expanded Dallas Arts District has been developed to encourage pedestrians -- especially after the new park is completed. You can easily spend a day walking from Edwin Larabee Barnes’ barrel-vaulted gallery filled with contemporary art at the Dallas Museum of Art at one end to Norman Foster’s vivid red Opera House at the other.
To fill up my imagination before my talk, I visited some of Dallas's museums on a pleasant, late winter morning. In the beautiful Nasher Sculpture Center Garden, I couldn’t resist walking through Richard Serra’s My Curves are Not Mad, and thought about something he says in Spark about how sculpture has changed since it came down from the pedestal. Serra says that with his sculptures, we're the subject:
“This is you’re your experience, in relation to your walking. You don’t have to know anything about anything. In fact, if you don’t know anything about sculpture it’s probably better.”
I loved entering the mysterious space of My Curves are Not Mad. As if she had heard Serra, too, a young girl darted in between the ominous headless figures Magdalena Abakanowicz’s Bronze Crowd, her nervous parents asking her to move away from the statues. I think the girl had the right idea.
The surprise for me, though, was that the most magnetic figures in the garden were not the sculptures, but the curvy, bare trunks of a grove of crape myrtle, planted on a terrace at the back of the garden. Stunning!