In October, I went to a lecture at the Nasher Sculpture Center about the Nasher XChange – a fascinating exhibition of ten varied artistic works spread out across Dallas. Listening to the speakers – one subject they kept coming back to again and again is how big the city is, how spread out the sites of the XChange are, and how much driving they have had to do on this project. They kept talking about Dallas as a “car oriented city” and the way the city seems to consist completely of massive freeways and parking lots.
The lecture was entertaining and interesting and I agree, mostly, with the speakers. However, this is not how it has to be. If you never get out of your car then the city does seem to consist of freeways and parking lots.
It is huge and spread out – but I have learned that if you have a DART train pass and a bicycle, you can get anywhere. I made the decision, right then and there, to visit all ten Nasher Xchange sites without using a car. I immediately took a look at the map and began plotting my routes.
The weather has been nasty this winter which has really cut into my bike riding – plus I’ve been sick a lot (Cedar Fever, actually) so I didn’t get out as fast as I wanted to. As of this weekend, I had been to (or seen) six. There were still three sites in South Dallas that were still on my list.
I worked out a route – take the Red DART line from Richardson to Downtown Dallas, then the Green Line to the Buckner Station. Then I could ride to the sculpture Flock in Space at the Trinity River Audubon Center, then a trail through the Great Trinity Forest on to Black & Blue Cultural Oasis in the Hills at Paul Quinn College. At that point I would turn north and ride through the neighborhoods to the third Nasher exhibit – Buried House. Then catch the DART Blue Line at the Kiest Station – transfer to the Red Line downtows and back home. The biking distance was 12.5 miles – not too far.
But this was a part of the city that I was not familiar with at all. I wasn’t too comfortable with my route; sometimes it’s hard to decide how bad traffic is based on Google Maps – but you have to do the best you can do.
The weather today was not too good, cold with a little spitting rain, but there’s a cold front blowing in and it’s not going to get better soon. The Nasher XChange Exhibition ends soon. So it was now or never.
The only problem I had getting from the train station to the first exhibit – at the Trinity River Audubon Center was the fact that the neighborhood had a lot of folks with pit bulls running loose. I can usually outrun a dog on my bike, but it’s not a lot of fun.
I’m going to have to go back to the Audubon Center again – with nicer weather and more time. The bike trails are really nice. The sculpture was very cool. But I had somewhere to get to so I snapped a few pictures and set out again.
From the Label Text:
Flock in Space, 2013
Concrete and steel
Ruben Ochoa is a Los Angeles-based artist who has created a unique body of work that transforms common materials into breathtaking sculptures. For his Nasher Xchange commission. Ochoa has responded to the origins of the rinity River Audubon Center – now a beautiful nature preserve at the edge of the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States – as an illegal dump site in Southeast Dallas. Ochoa has installed a group of concrete and steel sculptures derived from post footings in chain link fences. In conversation with Brancusi’s iconic sculpture Bird in Space, Ochoa envisions his installation as man-made forms morphing into organic movement, reminiscent of a flock of birds. By evoking the site’s change from urban dumping ground to place of scenic beauty, Ochoa’s work reflects the malleability and resiliency of nature.