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Taylor Zakarin

Tony Cragg (British, born 1949)
Companions, 2008
43 1/10 x 31 4/5 x 115 7/10 inches
Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Collection

As you may have noticed, we shifted some of the art at NorthPark recently! Tony Cragg’s Companions has taken the big stage in Nordstrom Court. The work, which we added to NorthPark’s collection this past year, is compelling in its new location – the light from the clerestory windows and two-story court make the work shine. British Sculptor Tony Cragg, born in Liverpool in 1949, consistently creates work that examines the dichotomy between stability and fragility.

Cragg was educated at the Gloucestershire College of Art, Cheltenham, the Wimbledon College of Art, and the Royal College of Art in London. Before pursuing a career in the arts, Cragg was an assistant at a biochemical laboratory, the National Rubber Producers Research Association. When working late in the lab, the artist would occupy his mind by drawing and “playing” with the objects around him. He then decided to devote his life to bringing form to the intangible such as the scientific, the poetic, and the psychological, in an effort to better understand who we are and the world we inhabit.

As with much of Cragg’s art, Companions presents a series of relationships between forms—companions perhaps (see what I did there?)—that are unified when viewed as a whole by similar shapes and overall surface texture. The work explodes into every direction, the bulbous shapes appearing to be frozen mid-eruption. On closer inspection, however (and with some research), I discovered these limbs and bulbous shapes are supposedly chair-legs. With the white fiberglass shapes stacked on top of one another, each facet pierced with blue, green, and orange flecks- it may be hard to decipher or identify these shapes– but I encourage you to take a step back and re-examine the piece with this new knowledge.

The artist is currently the Director of the Düsseldorf Art Academy. He has exhibited internationally at such institutions as the Scottish Nation Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, the Musée du Louvre, Paris, the Museo Serralves, Portugal, the Tate Gallery, Liverpool, the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Belgium, and the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas.