Solidarity

Association of Art Museum Directors rallies around Nasher in ongoing dispute with Museum Tower

Association of Art Museum Directors rallies around Nasher in ongoing dispute with Museum Tower

Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas
The Nasher contends that light from Museum Tower threatens to damage the works in the garden and inside the galleries. Photo ©Timothy Hursley
Museum Tower in Dallas
Museum Tower rejected the Nasher's proposed louver solution back in November. Courtesy of John Sughrue
Ken Price
The Nasher recently installed mesh panels on its glass roof and windows to protect the delicate ceramics of the current exhibition, "Ken Price: A Retrospective." Photo by Lisa Stewart
Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas
Museum Tower in Dallas
Ken Price

The Association of Art Museum Directors recently issued a statement “expressing concern” over the “impasse” between the Nasher Sculpture Center and Museum Tower. The AAMD comprises directors from more than 220 art museums in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The Nasher contends that sunlight from the tower disrupts the museum’s carefully controlled environment, thereby jeopardizing the safety of its collections. The two entities have been unable to agree on a solution in 18 months. A portion of the statement reads:

An institution’s collections — whether located inside the museum or installed on an exterior site — are essential to the fulfillment of a museum’s civic and educational mission. The Association of Art Museum Directors considers the preservation and care of collections to be a paramount responsibility, and believes that museums have an obligation to conserve and protect the heritage they hold in trust for the public.

In establishing the Nasher Sculpture Center, Raymond Nasher gave the citizens of Texas an unparalleled museum in the heart of the Dallas Arts District and committed to making his extraordinary collection accessible to all.  Designed by famed architect Renzo Piano, the Nasher is an invaluable educational, cultural and economic resource for the people of Dallas and visitors from around the world. ...

We understand that throughout this process, the Nasher has negotiated in good faith with the developers of Museum Tower and has provided valid suggestions to ameliorate the situation. We hope that for the benefit of the Dallas community and the great works of art held in trust for their benefit by the Nasher that all parties will work together for an acceptable solution.

In November 2012, Museum Tower rejected the Nasher’s proposed louver solution as unattractive, unpleasant and unacceptable to homebuyers. In January of this year, Omni developer Jack Matthews made a bid to buy the maligned residential project.

“The man is soft-spoken but thoughtful, practical but visionary, and he would surely do a better job of finding a solution with the Nasher than Museum Tower’s current owners,” said CultureMap columnist Eric Celeste.

Just recently, in advance of the current exhibition, “Ken Price: A Retrospective,” the Nasher installed mesh panels on the windows and glass roof to protect the artist’s delicate ceramic works. The museum also installed a mesh solution last year, for the Elliot Hundley show.

Nasher spokesperson Jill Magnuson stresses that these mesh panels are a temporary solution — and one that dampens the experience for Nasher patrons.

“Light is to the Nasher as sound is to the Meyerson,” Magnuson says via email. “Darker galleries in the Nasher would be like muffled sound in our great concert hall.

“I want to make very clear that these temporary mesh panels come nowhere close to eliminating the blinding light effects in our galleries. Patterned light is still visible in the galleries, impeding visitor experiences and compromising our core business as an educational and cultural resource.

“Additionally, there is no remedy that can be made at the Nasher that addresses the problems Museum Tower has created for our museum — inside and out — or throughout the Arts District.”