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Nasher Sculpture Center exhibit is in the pipeline

Posted 10:20am on Thursday, Nov. 01, 2012

This article has been modified from the way in which it originally was published in the Star-Telegram and on Star-Telegram.com to correct the length of the aluminum pipe used.

Eva Rothschild began her noodlings with bendy straws.

Artists who work in three dimensions often use objects as their sketching tools, and for Rothschild it was straws. She stuck the straws together and using a model of the Nasher Sculpture Center's interior, wove the straws throughout the lobby, down the staircase, around the bottom level and back up the stairs to the gallery.

A year and a half later, she returned to the Nasher with more than 721 feet of 4-inch aluminum pipe covered in colorful strips of fiberglass tape. She installed her weaving, winding, climbing pipe snake in the Nasher's lobby, and it fits to perfection as it vaults over desks, turns corners and plummets down the stairs. It crawls back up to the lobby and piles up against the window wall as if it wants to go outside and play in the garden.

This newest entry in the Nasher's "Sightings," titled Why Don't You (Dallas) , is not as interactive as Martin Creed's room full of balloons from 2011 or the recent climbing gym from Ernest Neto earlier this year. Those were full-body immersions; Rothschild's work is about visual perception. The colorfully striped pipes send out warnings and enticements depending on their colors. In neutral blue/black and green/black stripes, the pipes are merely a playful suggestion of playground equipment. When the combos change to the hot color spectrum red/black or orange/black, the colors paired to signal imminent danger, the tubular construction is perceived as a barricade.

When laid across the floor, the pipes channel visitors to the admission desk and then splay out to allow choices of paths to take. One option is to visit the galleries where pieces from the Nasher's permanent collection are displayed. Some, such as Richard Serra's House of Cards, have never been on exhibit before. Follow the pipes downstairs and find the exhibit "Sculpture in So Many Words: Text Pieces 1960-80," a group of image-free works that rely completely on words and text blocks. How they are arranged and presented create the visual punch.

Although Rothschild's work may not be the full-body experience of recent pieces, her pipe wanderings, the text works and newly installed pieces from the permanent collection offer fresh experiences throughout the center.

Gaile Robinson is the Star-Telegram art and design critic, 817-390-7113

Twitter: @gailerobinson

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