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Guest Contributor: The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University Staff

One of the most exciting art exhibitions of 2016 had strong and fascinating ties to NorthPark Center.

A Material Legacy: The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Collection of Contemporary Art was presented by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and traveled to the Princeton University Art Museum.


The exhibition featured some of the best examples from the vast contemporary collection amassed over the past decade by Nancy Nasher and her husband, David Haemisegger. NorthPark shoppers might remember three 15-foot water tower sculptures by Chilean artist Iván Navarro, which were on view at NorthPark and traveled to Duke for A Material Legacy. Another sculpture in the exhibition, a monumental bronze work by Thomas Houseago, was also on view at NorthPark.

In June, the NorthPark Center fall photo shoot for The Art of Shopping catalogue took place in the galleries of A Material Legacy at the Nasher Museum. Watch the video here.





Two artists from the exhibition, Alfredo Jaar and Elliott Hundley, visited Duke last spring. The exhibition was complemented by other free programs, including free Family Day events, sketching in the gallery, a teacher workshop and more.

A Material Legacy explored two distinct legacies -- one of artists’ innovative use of materials, the other of philanthropy and collecting. The exhibition featured 35 works of art made mostly in the past 10 years by international artists.

Large-scale sculptures by Huma Bhabha, Anthony Caro, Tony Cragg, Edmund de Waal, Anish Kapoor, Sol LeWitt and Rachel Whiteread were juxtaposed with paintings and drawings by Damien Hirst, Mark di Suvero, Julian Schnabel, Richard Serra, Kara Walker and Kehinde Wiley, among many others.

“There had never been a show quite like this in our area, with such exquisite examples of a variety of artistic processes by so many ‘blue chip’ artists. The galleries were smashing,” said Sarah Schroth, Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director of the Nasher Museum. “Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger have been extremely bold in their choices. We were so excited for visitors to see this collection.”


In A Material Legacy, visitors discovered a wide range of materials and textures. For example, Italian artist Giuseppe Penone juxtaposes white marble with acacia thorns in his 2006 work, Pelle di marmo e spine d'acacia – Marta. Another example, a 2011 sculpture by American ceramicist Ken Price, a painted bronze composite titled Ceejay, has “a perfectly glazed matt (it’s either mat or matte) surface of an amazing purple color,” Schroth said.

A Material Legacy recognized a legacy of patronage that began with the founding benefactors of the Nasher Museum, Raymond and Patsy Nasher. In Dallas, they ensured educational art experiences for the public when establishing NorthPark (1965), which they filled with masterpieces from their collection, and the Nasher Sculpture Center (2003), an art museum dedicated to sculpture. Daughter and son-in-law Nancy Nasher (who graduated from Duke Law School in 1979) and David Haemisegger continue this philanthropic spirit through their oversight of NorthPark and support of the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Nasher Museum of Art.

A Material Legacy was organized by Marshall N. Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. The 90-page fully illustrated exhibition catalogue is available in the Nasher Museum Store.