Nov 14, 2011

Review | Seeing Things| Tony Cragg | Nasher Sculpture

While in Dallas this past weekend I went some where that I have always wanted to go, The Nasher Sculpture Museum. Being from Dallas and it being a some what new museum I have always heard about it and wanted to go. In 2003 it was opened and was a home for modern and contemporary sculptures. The are either rotating sculptures from the Nasher collection or works from various touring exhibitions. The outside portion of the museum is the Nasher Sculpture Garden. The Garden was my favorite parts, sitting outside under the trees on the clear mid 70's day, looking at these beautiful works was absolutely perfect.
Untitled, Tony Crag, 2001, Wood

When I visited recently Tony Cragg's "Seeing Things" exhibition was being shown from until January 8th,2012.  I learned that this was his first museum exhibition in the United States in nearly 20 years. He had little under 30 sculptures that helped viewers understand more what he did as one of the most popular sculptors of today. After seeing some of his works, it reminds me of works seen in the sculpture room at Texas State and makes me wonder if that is where the fellow bobcat's inspiration was drawn from. Cragg's large abstract statues are new shapes with waves and ridges in the, creating a path that makes our eye never stop following the motion displayed in the piece.
Tony Cragg, Outspan, 2008, Bronze
Cragg's pieces are large and make the eye wander for a very long time.  They were some of the most interesting pieces I viewed as well, so I then understood all the hype about him. Usually using brass or wood, stained or plain, it mades you look at the tiny details of the wood grain in the sculpture as well as the thing as a whole. The newer his pieces , such as the one above, the more contemporary and abstract they seemed. His piece "Outspan" stood about 5 feet tall and its vibrant yellow color made the highlights and shadows even more dramatic. The strong lighting used in the gallery also makes the bright yellow highlights of certain curves the focal points. I found the wave on the top right  to be the mos interesting, but as stated my eye constantly follows the piece in a circle, and Cragg did a very good job of guiding the viewers eyes around the piece.
Stack, Tony Cragg, 1975

After going to the show I was very intrigued by Cragg's works. I then went and researched more of his works on the Tate website. Cragg's older pieces are smaller pieces put together as one, unlike his newer works that are usually one solid medium or material carved or molded to be the sculpture that is is. In the 70's he did many forms like the one above, with various wood objects and clutter in to geometric shapes. Organizing and problem solving being one of the themes in his many series, "Stack" is a prime example of mess to symmetry. I find his Cragg's sculpting to be very interesting and unique. He has been consistently making new modern and contemporary sculptures and works of art for over 30 years. I have never been in to many sculptures. However, after going to this museum and seeing this exhibit it also opened my eyes to the world of sculpture and new possibilites in my own art world.
-Mary E. Gardner


  1. ContributorDec 2, 2011 11:26 AM
    Wow! Thank you for introducing this artist and his exhibition to us! I'm going to make sure I visit the museum when I go home for the holidays. "Stack" looks very interesting to me and I would very much like to see it in person. I thought I was skilled at packing things together like Tetris, but I see I still have MUCH to learn.

    -Blake Williams