Feature Story: The Good Bad Art Collective — Nasher XChange

[Originally published in FD Luxe magazine]

 

Just in time for the Nasher Sculpture Center’s big birthday, the notorious Good/Bad Art Collective is working together again — after a rather long hiatus. You’ve been warned.

by PATRICIA MORA

photograph by ALLISON V. SMITH

The Nasher Sculpture Center is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Dallas turf by — metaphorically, at least — tearing down walls. Known for its stellar collection of classically modern art, the Nasher is electing to step out of any and all comfort zones. What makes this especially splendid: It’s asking that we follow suit. The Nasher Xchange, conceived by Nasher director Jeremy Strick, will bring 10 artworks to various places in the city. Thus, the very locations sometimes deemed as unassailable downtown meccas are suddenly accessible.

“The Nasher began as a profoundly meaningful gift to the city and we’re building on that legacy with these 10 works,” says Strick. “This show represents an important step toward making art available and inclusionary.” Culturally speaking, this is a feat of curatorial virtuosity that should make all of us feel it’s an extremely lucky day in the ’hood. The Nasher initiative marks the first citywide museum-organized public sculpture exhibition in the U.S.

The Nasher has picked the Denton-based Good/Bad Art Collective to create a work. Background for the uninitiated: The Good/Bad, as it is affectionately known, is a stunningly ADD-ish group of artists that creates wildly innovative art mashups. They push the boundaries of what art is and how it operates on both the individual and communal psyche. The Nasher initiative — and this work in particular — promises to be fun, a tad mind-blowing and a stellar gift to anyone game for a mental romp. Past projects by Good/Bad include an exhibition for which visitors were encouraged to bring their own cats from home and a “nothing’s happening” event for which there were no press releases, fliers or posters. (It was noted that it was not known “if anyone attended this nothing.”) Their work has been described as “sassy” — an understatement — and they acted as a veritable lodestar for the arts community from 1993 through 2001 before going on hiatus for more than a decade.

Well, they’re back. For the past six months, the group has been hatching plans on the 14th floor of Bryan Tower in a space provided by Spire Realty. Here’s how it will unfold: On Oct. 19, Good/Bad will begin filming a quirky infomercial to be aired during the least-desirable time slots to a nearly nonexistent audience. The public is invited to be part of the filming and, thus, part of artwork that, quite literally, will occupy airwaves. Then items from the infomercial, dubbed “debris” by the artists, will be on view in the Good/Bad art space, where the public will interact with it. For now, all Good/Bad will say — unveiling more would, of course, spoil the punch — is that the work is about “memory and re-remembering.” For now, however, the only thing seen on the horizon is a frothy confection of anticipation.

The Nasher XChange is an elegantly strident move by Mr. Strick. It’s also great fun. Ditto that frothy anticipation. Are you ready for your infomercial close-up? Oct. 19. Bryan Tower. Fourteenth floor. Be there or be square.

PATRICIA MORA is a Dallas writer and a Fellow of the Writer’s Guild for the Warhol Foundation/Capital Campaign Fund. She has provided art commentaries for The Dallas Morning News, the National Endowment for the Humanities, A+C: Arts + Culture Magazine and the International Association of Art Critics. She can be reached via patriciamora@mac.com.

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