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DESIGN | ART | ARCHITECTURE
WITH GALLERIST MAGGIE KAYNE
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Catherine Marcus Rose and Jennifer Eagle usherin the Nasher Sculpture Centers new prize.
BY SARAH THORNTON PORTRAIT BY ALLISON SMITH
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Jennifer Eagle and Catherine Marcus Rose
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We dont want this to be just another frou-frou party. Itll be a thoughtful event to honor thewinner, says Jennifer Eagle, co-chair of the recentlyinaugurated Nasher Prize. Were calling it acelebration rather than a gala. On April 2, theNasher Sculpture Center, Dallas gem of a museumand art-filled garden, will give Colombian artist DorisSalcedo a prize designed by Renzo Piano and acheck for $100,000. Salcedos win was a nicesurprise, says Catherine Marcus Rose, Eagles co-chair. Her work feels timely in Texas, given ourborder with Mexico, connections with Latin Americaand immigration issues.
Eagle and Rose share a keen interest in artand commit their spare time to philanthropy. Eagle,whose father was a pediatrician and whose motherhails from West Texas cattle dealers, studiedbusiness at Baylor University. She relishes the factthat she and her family are not golfers, so everyvacation is an opportunity for art. She concedes,Art is a great passion and way of life. Rose, whosegreat-grandfather co-founded Neiman Marcus,studied art history at Harvard and is now thepresident of the board of trustees of the DallasMuseum of Art. The mother of three boys who oncejumped rope over a minimalist yarn piece by FredSandback, she collects art, photography andcontemporary jewelry, which she appreciates aspersonal small sculptures.
Having co-chaired Dallas TWO x TWO, afundraiser for the Dallas Museum of Art and TheFoundation for AIDS Research, Eagle and Rose arenow spearheading the development of the NasherPrize. Neither of us are extroverts, but we lovepeople, says Rose. Indeed, good causes can bringwelcome structure and purpose to social interaction.The Prize is not just an event but a year-long initiativeto promote the discussion of sculpture, she adds.
In an art world seemingly cluttered withawards, the Nasher Prize is a clever addition.Remarkably, it is the only international prize forcontemporary sculpture, a medium that has, sinceMarcel Duchamps urinal, arguably led the way in
conceptual art. In the 1990s, medium specificitybecame unfashionable and artists worth their saltwere supposed to be able to make two and three-dimensional works with equal ease. Nowadays, thereality that many great painters are only mediocresculptors (and vice versa) is acknowledged and aprize dedicated specifically to sculpture is relevantand opportune.
Rose loves sculpture because it lives in ourspace, feels more interactive and can existoutdoors and be in dialogue with nature. Eagleconcurs, emphasizing that the physicality ofsculpture and its relationship to our bodies leadsto powerful emotional reactions and another levelof engagement. Arguably, the reduction of ourcultureour books, music, movies, singles barsevento small screens means that sculpture ispoised to increase in importance by offering anirreducible, real-world antidote to digitization.
The Nasher Prize has been conceived andconducted with particular intelligence. JeremyStrick, the director of the Nasher Sculpture Centersince 2009, understood that the success of theprize depended to a large extent on the credibilityof its process. The museum initially soughtnominations from 100 experts consisting of artists,art historians, curators and museum directors. Theywere asked to nominate people in response to onequestion: Which artist, with a substantial body ofwork, has influenced our understanding ofsculpture? Stricks staff then prepared dossiers oneach nominee, which were given to a distinguishedjury that included the likes of Nicholas Serota,director of the Tate; Okwui Enwezor, curator of lastyears Venice Biennale; and Lynne Cooke, seniorcurator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington,D.C. The jury convened in London, a practicallocation for a high caliber group of jetsetters, butalso a symbol of the international ambitions of theaward. Eagle and Rose are quick to praise Strickssteering of the prize. I am a card-carrying memberof the Jeremy Strick fan club, says Rose. He isdeliberate and inclusive; he develops ideas in a way
that gets you invested.The Nasher Sculpture Center was set up in
2003 by the late Ray Nasher, owner of NorthParkCenter, an upscale shopping mall with the addeddistinction of containing sculptures by major 20thcentury artists. Patsy, Rays wife, had studied arthistory and was knowledgeable and passionateabout the subject. Opened in 1965, the mallprovided many Dallas residents with their firstencounter with art. I used to go there as a littlegirl, explains Eagle, and was amazed by piecessuch as Claes Oldenburgs giant safety pin.Neiman Marcus was and still is the anchordepartment store in NorthPark, so Ray Nasher andStanley Marcus, Roses grandfather, were steadfastbusiness associates. Our families have a longhistory here, says Rose.
The Sculpture Center, which enjoys a collectionof more than 300 works by the likes of Brancusi,Calder, Giacometti, de Kooning, di Suvero,Hepworth, Matisse, Moore, Picasso, Rodin andSerra, was an extension of the Nashers desire toshare art with the broadest possible audience. Itsa real gift for the city of Dallas, says Eagle. ThePrize further seeks to elevate the Nasher andelevate the city, explains Rose.
In addition to catapulting the Nasher from alocal initiative into an international art brand, thePrize is also the vehicle by which a private, single-source foundation is shifting into a museumsupported by a larger community of collectors. Untilrecently, the Nasher had never done any significantfundraising (half of the museum was underwrittenby Ray Nasher). However, this year, Eagle and Roseare hoping to raise $1 million for the Prize to put itin a strong position for years to come. Notsurprisingly, Nancy Nasher, Ray and Patsysdaughter, is hugely grateful for their work. Rose andEagle are tireless art advocates who have takenon invaluable leadership roles, she says. Asphilanthropists and art collectors of the highestorder, they bring unique perspectives characterizedby graciousness, style and wit.
Sculpture lives in our space, feels moreinteractive and can exist outdoors andbe in dialogue with nature.
Catherine Marcus Rose
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The Nasher Sculpture Centerone of themost comprehensive collections of modernand contemporary sculpture in the worldincludes Richard Longs Midsummer Circles,among other large-scale installations.
Landscape architect Peter Walkerdesigned the Nashers outdoor gallery,
featuring Mark di Suveros 22,500-pound sculpture, Evviva Amore.
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