Upping the art at NorthPark Center
More programming. More Warhols. More knowledge.
by AMELIA JAYCEN | portrait by NAN COULTER
NorthPark Center’s half-century tradition of infusing retail shopping with art and sculpture is evolving. Taylor Zakarin, NorthPark’s manager of arts programming, has worked to juice up NorthPark’s art tours, develop programs for teachers and launch a feature for NorthPark’s mobile app that gives on-demand information about artwork throughout the mall. In preparation for the center’s 50th anniversary, she mined the collection’s archives and worked with Nancy Nasher to create extended copy for large-format labels to go with each piece installed at NorthPark. (That adds up to nearly 150 pieces on view.) “Nancy cares so much about education and so much about content,” Zakarin says, “and about making sure people who are hungry for inspiration have those routes and can find it.”
Originally from New York City, Zakarin calls NorthPark Center Dallas’ Central Park, where people go to interact. An impressive 20 additional prints from Andy Warhol’s Flowers and Campbell’s Soup Cans series have been added to the center’s permanent collection, and have been installed between Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom on the first floor. While the art of minimalist Frank Stella can be seen in multiple places at the center, a recent addition of 12 illustrations, busier than the geometric pieces for which Stella is known, has also been made. Last month, NorthPark unveiled a commissioned work by New York artist Leo Villareal, inspired by his glowing Buckyball, a three-story-tall, illuminated sculpture originally commissioned by New York’s Madison Square Park. In addition, Villareal’s 15-foot-wide Diamond Sea light sculpture – it uses 2,400 LED nodes to make shimmering, sparkling patterns – is on loan to NorthPark from the artist for one year. And coming next year is the two-story-tall sculpture Clean Slate by contemporary artist KAWS. It’s “a fantastic work,” says Zakarin, and features KAWS’ signature Companion character, a cartoonish, Mickey Mouse-like figure that the artist uses regularly in his pieces. Nasher and her husband David Haemisegger, the owners of NorthPark, have begun a rotating exhibition schedule, Zakarin says, “unveiling exciting new works by different artists every year.” The KAWS work, especially, points to NorthPark’s continuing boldness in being both a retail must-shop and a serious visual-art landmark.
AMELIA JAYCEN is a Denton journalist and researcher with a focus on science, technology and the arts.