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Arts / Museums

Getting Nasher With It

Worldwide Celebration of a French Art Star Hits Home in Texas

BY // 05.24.17

After a year’s worth of events around the world, from Dallas to Mexico City to Berlin, the second annual Nasher Prize was awarded to French artist Pierre Huyghe during a starry gala held in the Nasher Sculpture Center garden.

“His expansive view of sculpture so wonderfully embodies the goal of the Nasher Prize, which is to champion the greatest artistic minds of our time,” pronounced Nasher Sculpture Center director Jeremy Strick.

More than anyone today, Huyghe represents a quintessentially modern approach to the future of sculpture. In homage to his otherworldly work, the Nasher Sculpture Center draped the dinner tent in a canopy of greenery, branches, and leaves, as if we had stepped inside Huyghe’s jungle-like art event-installation at the Sydney Opera House, A Forest of Lines (2008).

Adding to the surrealist nature of the evening was Jane Magnolia Jane, a band comprised of Danny Skinner, Greg Ruppe, and Jeff Gibbons, whose haunting electronica-Zen music came by way of a vintage film projector-recording device, an unpeeled orange, a sewing machine, hundreds of electrical wires, and dozens of other unusual objects.

For the event, the Nasher installed two of Huyghe’s immensely poetic and captivating works: Untitled, 2013-2014, which drew attention in the Nasher’s lobby during cocktail hour, with its floating rocks and hermit crab, and outside, La déraison, 2014, on loan from the exceptional Rachofsky collection.

Huyghe creates ever-changing eco-systems that will never stop intriguing, amusing, and stimulating the audience, challenging the three-dimensionality of sculptures with esoteric concepts such as time, narration, and his unique sense of humor. All was encapsulated masterfully by the Nasher for this one-night affair.

A glamorous crowd gathered to honor Huyghe and pay tribute to the enduring vision and legacy of Ray Nasher, the Nasher Sculpture Center’s founder, which is continued today by his formidable daughter, Nancy Nasher. New York dealer Paul Kasmin, L.A.-based Italian artist Piero Golia, gallery owner Frank Elbaz, and last year’s laureate Doris Salcedo were among guests who flew in for the evening.

Nasher Prize jurors Yuko Hasegawa and Pablo León de la Barra also made the trip to Dallas to salute its laureate. Event chairs Deedie Rose and Sharon Young were joined by the city’s cultural icons: Nasher Sculpture Center founding director and Nasher Prize juror, Steve Nash; NSC chief curator Jed Morse; Cindy and Howard Rachofsky (Cindy, elegant in a couture creation by her favorite designer, Adam Lippes, who sat by her side); Christen and Derek Wilson; the sparkling Elaine Agather, who always puts a smile on my face with her witty sense of humor; Emily Summers; Marguerite Hoffman; Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who was atypically fashionable in a golden bow-tie, and on the arm of his artist daughter, Michelle Rawlings; Nancy Dedman, who observed that the hole in the gala-tent floor next to her was no mistake.

“It’s for the sculpture!” she said, pointing down to a spot carved out for a work of art. The belle of the ball, however, was surely the charming Margaret McDermott, wearing her signature white and (as always) extremely generous with her smiles.

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