Beauty from Blight

9th Nasher Xchange project will transform East Oak Cliff rubble into art

9th Nasher Xchange project will transform Oak Cliff rubble into art

Nasher Xchange house
Demolition on the house started on August 26; the project will be finished with the Xchange program starts on October 19. Photo by Alex Bentley
Nasher Xchange house
This house at 2226 Exeter Avenue will soon be nothing but a pile of rubble that artist Lara Almarcegui will transform into artwork Photo by Alex Bentley
Nasher Xchange artist Lara Almarcegui
Almarcegui has done similar work with the remains of buildings around the world. Photo courtesy of Nasher Sculpture Center
Nasher Xchange house
Nasher Xchange house
Nasher Xchange artist Lara Almarcegui

As the Nasher Sculpture Center has revealed its projects for the upcoming 10th anniversary Xchange program, an important theme has emerged: This public arts initiative aims to help Dallas communities.

That's once again the case with the ninth project, a sculpture titled Buried House by Spanish artist Lara Almarcegui that will be made out of the remains of a demolished house in the Oak Cliff Gardens neighborhood in East Oak Cliff.

 Artist Lara Almarcegui is working in conjunction with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity.

The Nasher and Almarcegui are working in conjunction with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity on the project. The house, at the corner of Exeter Avenue and Calder Street, was one that was already scheduled to be demolished.

Following the demolition, which started Monday morning, Almarcegui intends to bury the house on the site where it sits, allowing residents and visitors a chance to reflect on what was and on what the future may bring.

Almarcegui has done similar works around the world, focusing on vacant or abandoned areas in urban spaces that will inevitably change. In a statement, Almarcegui says she hopes the sculpture is one of inspiration, not of blight.

“This project is a sculptural work that is about the construction that used to stand, the history of the house and how it was erected,” Almarcegui said.  “However, it’s not just about the house, but about the past of the terrain and the future of the terrain. It is a work about construction and urban development.”

Once the Xchange program ends February 16, 2014, Habitat for Humanity, which owns the land, will decide what to do with the property. This will be the ninth home in the neighborhood that Habitat has torn down in East Oak Cliff; they have built or plan to build homes on the eight others, so it's likely the same will happen here.

Almarcegui's sculpture joins the eight other Nasher Xchange pieces already announced, including ones from Ruben Ochoa, Rick Lowe, Ugo Rondinone, Liz Larner, Alfredo Jaar, the Good/Bad Art Collective, Vicki Meek and Charles Long. One final project will be announced soon.