Shelf Life

Shelf Life

Nasher Sculpture Center

Arlene Shechet. Courtesy of the artist. 

May 1, 2020
Shelf Life
An archive of nonperishable cultural sustenance from friends around the world
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / YouTube

In an effort to buoy spirits and bring some personal outside voices into people’s now isolated daily lives, the Nasher Sculpture Center started a little reading and watching corner called Shelf Life. Shelf Life is a digital space with cultural recommendations from artists, curators, editors, and friends. Lists include books, websites, films, podcasts, images, research materials, or any enriching material deemed fit.

Browse a creative archive of people’s imaginations: nonperishable sustenance during this moment of isolation. Submissions include Hauser & Wirth’s Randy Kennedy, artist Cheryl Donegan, Curator Catherine Craft, writers Zac Crain and Stehpanie Madewell, and podcast host Tyler Green, among others. Highlights include:

Frieze magazine’s Associate Editor Evan Moffitt sends a Shelf life list about voyeurism, mystery, and levity in works by Georges Perec, Chantal Akerman, Ottessa Moshfegh, and others, including two now Instagram-famous animated lizards.

New York-based artist Arlene Shechet sends a little ditty of a list, covering the full range of human feeling just now, from death to the erotic. Shechet has even contributed a humorous and totally endearing short mediation video that, even though about listening, also feels like a lesson in how to look at sculpture.

Playwright Will Arbery—bright light of the New York theater scene and a recent Whiting Award winner and New York Drama Critic’s Circle awardee—dispatches a Shelf Life list that has him waxing nostalgic over a boyhood love of movies and poetry, and freshly considering a certain photograph of Giacometti and Beckett.

Dallas artist and urban farmer, Cynthia Mulcahy, has changed the way Dallas understands its natural spaces and its dedication to the community’s use of them. From her Edenic garden, Mulcahy cleverly reflects upon the role nature plays in city life and the ways she has found new meaning in her environs, both of the landscape and the mind. 

Scottish writer and curator, Gavin Morrison—director of a storied art center in Iceland founded by the artist Dieter Roth—delivers a quixotic list that offers various modes of escape during these shelter-in-place days, from DIY furniture to a Marseilles radio station. 

True to form, Mark Lamster, Dallas Morning News architecture critic and author of the highly acclaimed biography of Phillip Johnson, Man in the Glass House, is reading a lot about what makes or breaks a built place. He’s also taking delight—during this moment of being home and still—in the speed of car racing and the thrill of crime shows, as well as the creativity that comes from a fugue state.

When the pandemic hit and lockdown was enforced, Dallas artists Jeff Gibbons and Gregory Ruppe, curators of a small subterranean space called CultureHole, snapped into action, developing a new digital arm of their curatorial endeavor. CultureHole TV was born. For it, Gibbons and Ruppe have asked artists to submit short videos that describe this odd moment in time, offering imaginative perspectives from around the world. To get a sense of what Gibbons and Ruppe are themselves thinking about just now, they sent along a thoughtful and personal dispatch. 

New entries are added to Shelf Life each week. Read these entries and more on Shelf Life, available online now at the Nasher Sculpture Center. 

Readers can also join the Nasher Shelf Life Facebook Group and be a part of the discussion of cultural learning.

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May 1, 2020

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