Thursday, August 23, 2012 , Updated 2:00 p.m., August 27, 2012
Installation in West Dallas invites people to sit all over the art
No fussy museum stuff here.
DALLAS In West Dallas, you can touch the art. In fact, you can sit on it.
A public art installation called Mobius Bench is the craftsmanship of Dallas artists Erik Glissman and Nicole Cullum Horn. Positioned on the corner by Chicken Scratch in West Dallas, the project is one of many changes coming to the growing neighborhood. The area became more noticed after the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge connected West Dallas to downtown.
The bench is made in a curve so that at the hottest parts of the day, the two seats on the bench are still shaded.
"What I wanted to do was create a piece that gave some respite from the sun and encourage people to have a street-level experience on Fort Worth Avenue," said Horn. "I really wanted to situate the seating so the people sitting there would face each other to encourage conversation."
The concept was Horn's idea, and her design was selected from a pool of 25 submitted pieces of art to the Fort Worth Avenue Development Group's Spare Parts public art project. Horn and Glissman were given $6,000 and told to use reused, recycled, or repurposed parts. They mainly used sheet metal and cedar planks from a variety of "junk" shops, sometimes going back to the same places and finding entirely new materials that didn't match the first set.
"[The materials were] all different, but we kind of anticipated that," said Glissman. "It kept the flow organic and unusual."
The project took Glissman about 180 hours of physical labor -- hammering sheet metal, tearing down old fencing, ripping out old nails, sanding cedar planks -- in his un-air-conditioned studio while Horn helped. She calls him a "real-life MacGyver," but for his day job, Glissman is a general contractor. He takes on art-related projects regularly and serves as the executive director of Art Conspiracy.
The bench was installed in West Dallas on Wednesday, but an official party at 7 p.m. Monday unveils it to the public -- at which time the artists hope the public will do them the very simple favor of sitting down.
The Mobius Bench is the beginning of more public art projects to come on Fort Worth Avenue, an area Horn says is a main connector for cars but an "unused thoroughfare" for pedestrians. The Fort Worth Avenue Development Group will host another Spare Parts auction September 22 at Four Corners Brewery -- also in the neighborhood -- which will set in motion a new public art project for 2013. Like the first, it will also require artists to use reclaimed materials.
"We're not doing anything new with the idea of using reused, recycled, repurposed parts, but I think it's an idea that has lots of legs," said Scott Horn, a Dallas artist and husband to Nicole, who runs Magnolia Gallery. "The world is definitely not running out of junk."
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