Day Trips

The Nasher Sculpture Garden and the Crow Collection of Asian Art are just two excellent reasons to make a short trip to Dallas to enjoy some world-renowned art

Up, up, and away
Up, up, and away (Photo By Gerald E. McLeod)

The Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas inspires, educates, and just plain teases us with a wide range of artistic expression. The garden and museum are a roller-coaster ride of shapes, colors, and feelings.

Soaring 100 feet above the garden lawn, Jonathan Borofsky's Walking to the Sky sums up the boldness of the world's most important private collection of modern art. The artwork's stainless-steel pole at a 75-degree angle seems to be a perfect sidewalk in the clouds for seven life-sized figures. The piece is a tribute to a work of art's ability to tell a story. You can only imagine what that story should be.

Other, more subtle pieces, are no less inspiring. Opened in 2003, the indoor-outdoor art center is built around Raymond Nasher's extensive collection of artwork that includes work by Picasso, Gauguin, Rodin, Matisse, as well as contemporary artists like Calder and Borofsky.

You could say that this collection of fine art that spans the globe began in 1950 when Nasher moved his new bride to Dallas to pursue a career in real estate development. Patsy Nasher, who passed away in 1988, didn't have to push her husband too hard to also invest in art.

When Nasher's NorthPark Center at North Central Expressway and Northwest Highway opened in 1965, critics said that mall shoppers wouldn't appreciate the modern art scattered among the 120 stores. The public's interest surprised even Nasher.

In the 1990s, the Nasher collection was offered a public home in London, New York, and Washington. The Boston native decided that his home of more than 40 years should receive the more than 300 pieces of art. Rather than accept city of Dallas funds and guidance, Nasher built the 2.4-acre site from his own deep pockets.

The result is a needed infusion into what Dallas calls its "arts district." Lost on the northwestern edge of downtown, the district is largely made up of the Dallas Museum of Art and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.

Across the street from the Nasher Center is the Crow Collection of Asian Art. At the base of the Trammell Crow skyscraper, the collection offers a tour of works of art from Japan, China, India, and Southeast Asia. Dating from 3500BC to the early 20th century, the artwork in the exhibit includes precious jade ornaments from China, delicate Japanese scrolls, and rarely seen Indian religious carvings. The office building also incorporates a sculpture garden and reflecting pools around the entrance with many interesting pieces that compliment the Nasher collection.

When you visit the Nasher museum, take a few minutes to notice the building, which is a work of art by itself. The glass roof filters natural light into the galleries. From the inside, the thousands of holes in the ceiling sunscreen allow the sky to peek through at certain angles. The designer, Renzo Piano, used similar innovative lighting techniques when he built the Menil Colection in Houston and the Pompidou Center in Paris.

The Dallas sculpture museum is made up of three galleries – a room for items from the Nasher collection that compliment the traveling exhibits that occupy the main gallery and a smaller gallery downstairs for special exhibits. The building also houses a small cafe, classrooms, offices, and a state-of-the-art conservation lab.

Through April 9, the Nasher Sculpture Center will be showcasing "The Women of Giacometti." Many of the 48 pieces by Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) have never been shown together before. The artwork ranges in style from the naturalistic to surrealistic and cubist.

The Nasher Sculpture Center is at 2001 Flora St. between Olive and Harwood streets, a couple of blocks off of the Woodall Rogers Freeway (Spur 366). The museum and garden are open Tuesday through Sunday, 11am to 5pm and until 9pm on Thursday. General admission is $10, but well worth the experience. For more information, call 214/242-5100 or go to www.nashersculpturecenter.org.

The Crow Collection of Asian Art, 2010 Flora St., is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm and until 9pm on Thursday. Admission is free with guided tours on Thursdays and Saturdays. For more information, call 214/979-6430 or go to www.crowcollection.org.


764th in a series. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of Day Trips 101-200, is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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