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The second annual Nasher Prize will be awarded, to Pierre Huyghe, this month in Dallas. The international award, first given to Doris Salcedo, recognizes artists who are expanding the boundaries of the medium of sculpture. It has helped legitimize Dallas as an international focal point in the contemporary art community, through artist lectures, a new graduate symposium, and family programming. Whitewaller spoke with the director of the Nasher Sculpture Center, Jeremy Strick, about this year’s laureate and elevating the cultural landscape of Dallas.
WHITEWALLER: Last year was the inaugural year for the Nasher Prize, awarded then to Doris Salcedo. This year the winner is Pierre Huyghe, who will be award the prize in April in Dallas. How does the artist represent the mission of the prize, which asks what are the possibilities and limits (if any) of sculpture?
JEREMY STRICK: Huyghe’s expansive view of sculpture so wonderfully embodies the goal of the Nasher Prize, which is to champion the greatest artistic minds of our time. His incorporation of living systems, films, situations, and objects into his sculpture highlights the complexities between art and life and challenges the very limits of artmaking. And at this moment, when the environment and culture are so under threat, Huyghe’s imaginative, uncanny approach to the serious ecological and social issues facing our planet ties his oeuvre to the ancient purposes of sculpture: His work possesses a shamanistic quality which tips the mimetic into life.
WW: Is there a particular recent work of Huyghe’s that you think especially demonstrates this mission?
JS: Huyghe’s aquariums are really wonderful examples of his full project as an artist—contained ecosystems, full of dynamism, conflict, beauty, and chance. Once of these will be on view here at the Nasher through April—an aquarium that was previously on view at the museum as part of Piero Golia’s immersive work Chalet Dallas. In it, a hermit crab has an arrow crab for a companion and nemesis.
WW: On view during the award ceremony for the prize at the Nasher Sculpture Center will be the “Richard Serra: Prints” exhibition. How do you see the artist’s prints relating to his sculpture, which he’s best known for?
JS: These remarkable prints by Richard Serra carry so many of the powerful elements found within his sculptures. The works generate a compelling relationship between the solid black forms within the prints and the viewer’s bodily experience of them, and open up a dialogue with the dense metal surfaces of the artist’s sculptures within the Nasher Collection and beyond.
This article appears in Whitewaller Dallas, out next week.